What to eat and drink when in Timisoara / Romania – part one.
As a guide, I’m always glad when I meet tourists wanting to taste the local flavors. As a tourist, I do the same. But what to eat and drink when in Timisoara or Romania?
Because the drinks are served first, while the food is prepared, let’s talk about the drinks.
The most typical local drink, one you can find in any proper house hold, is ţuica [tsuˈika].
Ţuica is a plums distillate and most of the people in countryside prepare their own. Some have a small distillery installation for this, in some villages there’s a bigger distillery used in common by all the villagers.
The volume can vary depending on the region in Romania, from 30 to 60% of alcohol. The name of the distillate varies also with the volume and with the region. Usually the 30% alcohol version is called răchie and is common for the southern regions. The 40% volume is called ţuică and is common in Transylvania and also in the hilly or mountain regions. The 50-60 % volume is usually double distilled and is specific to northern Romania (Maramures, Oas, Salaj, Bistrita). Every time when you visit a household, the owner will invite you to taste his ţuica.
Afinata is a liqueur made with blueberries and distillate. Blueberries are macerated with sugar and then the distillate is added. The volume is around 30%. The same is vişinata, but made of sour cherries.
If you have the opportunity, taste these spirits in the households: they are made with natural ingredients and nothing else is added. Also most of the good traditional restaurants buy these spirits from small producers, people they know; just to be sure they are genuine.
Romania has one of the oldest traditions in world in wine making (6000 years) and is also on the 6th place among the European producers of wine. You can still find wines made of local grapes like Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala, Galbena de Odobesti or Busuioaca de Bohotin, among the white ones, or Feteasca Neagra, Babeasca Neagra or Cadarca for the red wines. There are about 8 wine regions in Romania, each with its own distinctive wines and flavors. If you don’t know what to order with your food, just ask the waiter and he will help you to take the wright decision. Most of the restaurants in Romania are serving Romanian wines.
If you want to know more about Romanian vines, go for a vine tasting. Most of the wine producers are organizing this. Around Timisoara you can do this at Recas, Paulis or Petrovaselo.
There are many local brands for beer, most of them owned by big international holdings. Timisoreana brand is not an exception. But Timisoreana is proud to be the first beer factory on today’s Romanian territory. 1718 was the year when was founded. When in Timisoara you must drink a Timisoareana. In some places you can also find unpasteurized Timisoreana beer, fresh, right from the factory.
Last but not least, in Timisoara you can also find a locally artisanal produced beer: Terapia (Therapy). The beer is produced in a small factory, the brewing process is natural and takes a couple of weeks (most of the commercial beers produced now are brewed in 3 days). You can choose from one of the 3 sorts available: Platinium (white), Gold (blonde) and Rubinium (red ale), all 3 not flirted beers, with a body full of taste. This beer also can be found only in selected places.
If you join one of the city tours made by Timisoara City Tours, after reading this article, I’ll be happy to buy the first round of whatever drink you prefer.