Romanian Christmas food is a temptation for anyone with an appetite for large and succulent portions with meat as the main ingredient. As Romanian people make a feast of all major religious celebrations, food is bound to be abundant and delicious. This is why Christmas is such a great time to make a culinary tour of Romanian food.
This type of sweet bread is one of the highlights of Christmas food all around the country. Prepared with different fillings, traditionally with walnut cream, cozonac is a delicious culinary symbol of family time for Christmas. Although all supermarkets and pastry shops have a wide variety of cozonac for sale this time of the year, do try the home-made one. It’s a treat.
Photo credits Paul Istoan
The popular sarmale best represent the Balkan influence in Romanian gastronomy. In fact, you probably tried already a similar dish in Turkey or Greece. These tasty rolls, either cabbage or vine leaves stuffed with rice, minced meat, onion, tomatoes, and herbs, are a favorite for most Romanians. This dish is usually served with cream, polenta, and pickles.
Pork is by excellence the main meat used to prepare Christmas meals. It comes as no surprise since, until recently, most families from the countryside sacrificed at least one pig a few days before. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without all the home-made sausages, ham, and a long list of specialties like toba, muschi, caltabos, chisca.
Photo credits Nitu Iulian
Pork is also used for the main courses, and recipes vary depending on the region. One of the most popular is tochitura, a hearty stew cooked with tomato sauce and served with polenta, cheese, and pickles.
Romanians have a strong appetite for eating pickles and many still prepare their own supplies for winter. The main ingredients are cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, or small watermelons.
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Piftia, also known as racituri, is one of the must-try Romanian Christmas dishes. The aspic recipe, prepared with pork, chicken, or goose meat, has a strong garlic flavor that Romanians love so much. Easy to prepare and served with warm polenta, this aspic dish is our favorite Romanian Christmas food.
Colacii are a symbol of all religious celebrations in Romania, including weddings and funerals. The braided bread specialty was usually given as a gift to carolers on Christmas Eve. While this tradition disappeared years ago, colacii remain a typical Christmas food.
These are the traditional dishes we enjoy during Christmas, but more exist in each region of the country. We chose the most popular Romanian Christmas food so that you can embark on a fun culinary tour. It’s definitely a delicious ride.