A midwinter's social dinner in Bucharest
Lately we’ve been so busy stacking up on good books to read, shortlisting series to watch and hunting for gluten-free food at our local store to help us overcome these worrisome times, that we simply forgot to share with you some great moments from a social dinner we threw in early February. So here it is for your enjoyment and delight.
Disclaimer: The author of this text is not liable if after reading it you will feel a compulsory urge to come out of isolation and enjoy the #togetherness with us 🙂
A fun & friendly social-dining experience
It is business as usual at our headquarters: we are making travel plans for the upcoming months to escape the gloomy afternoons and are browsing through new or established places in town for culinary delights.
>> Find out more about Romanian food here <<
And since we are a bunch of foodies with a sweet tooth for quality time spent with one-of-a-kind people, we thought a Saturday Night Dinner would be the ideal way to shake off the bad weather and boost some energy into our soporific neurones.
The culprits who took part to this shameless feast were:
CEZARINA, our host – A travel addict who counts future trips instead of sheep before going to sleep. She is also the Epicurean leader of the pack.
MARIOARA – A modern day Herodotus, divided between sense and sensibility. She also likes good wine and going to ballet shows.
MIHAI – Seeker of the insolite and an art buff, he is a perfume aficionado and swears by Maria Callas.
ILONA – A communications maven who left the commotion in Bucharest to reunite with her longtime boyfriend in Timisoara. This story melted our hearts quicker than it takes a moelleux to reach the ideal temperature to be served – yes, with us, almost always, everything is about FOOD. 🙂
THOMAS – a water sports fan that cultivates a passion for travel and the reason why Ilona moved to Timisoara.
COSMIN – A freelance IT guy who makes our job very difficult in the food selection at our get-togethers, but also holds the truth on many long-forgotten historical events. Apparently a low-carb diet strengthens your memory!
ROXANA – A devoted mom with a Bachelor’s in Mathematics, she is the half that counterbalances Cosmin.
ADELINA – A French teacher who got us hooked on her baked goodies. If there is a new kind of flour or a mix of seeds you cannot find in stores, that’s probably because she has already bought it all. We can safely say she is cuckoo about baking.
CIPRIAN – The silent doer of the group, he likes to observe everything like a patient wiseman, but he has a voracious appetite. We did not see that coming.
This time we concocted a menu friendly to all those intolerant to gluten, lactose, for the vegetarians and non-vegetarians likewise, for those who can only stomach organic produce or who never miss a day without their cup of water and a bit of spirulina.
We often favour Romanian cuisine in our small congregation, but always a bit tilted when it comes to savour and scents. This time was no different and our friends enjoyed a variety of starters such as:
Aubergine caviar – a life saver for any true Romanian during hot summer days- enriched with plenty of fresh parsley or simply with finely chopped onions.
We paired it with a selection of cheeses that we found at some local farmers in the biggest food market in Bucharest, Obor Market, a worthy place to visit on any given day to get an idea of what Romanians eat, how they bargain, how much food they buy or simply to enjoy some quality people-watching.
We added some delicious beans paste (fasole batuta) bathing in caramelised onion with just a tinge of pomegranate syrup to make it more jolly.
Fresh vegetables were the skeleton of our Act 1 and Adelina supplied the bread – suffice to say there was a high competition on who should get the last slice.
It took us some time to get through the starters as discussions immediately erupted on topics as diverse as perfect places to visit, best street food in Asia, parties in Bucharest between the two World Wars, state of the education system in Romania, diets, red wine vs white wine, how to best raise kids, the perks of living in Bucharest and many more which we no longer remember because we were all too anxious to get our hands on that last slice of Adelina’s bread.
Our host cooked a carp stew and added some spices she picked-up during her around-the-world trip with her daughter, Maya. Some of us were a bit overwhelmed by the complexity of flavours in the stew that had to quickly put out the fire on their tongues. Guess some just don’t like it hot!
The apotheosis of our dinner took the shape of a cheesecake that succumbed under the sweetness of the figs topping it. There were some noisy positive reactions after the devouring of this desert. But in our group, we never burp and tell!
by Mihai MARIN, the art buff