For a foreigner to realize what the typical Transylvanian likes to eat, he should think of the taste of a piece of smoked lard or bacon eaten with an onion and bread fresh from the oven, together with a glass of palinca (strong prune brandy).
The Transylvanian soup, famous throughout Romania, is prepared with green peas, small slices of white ham, green garlic, tomatoes and parsley. This soup is twice tastier when eaten with a wooden spoon. Other soups are prepared with pork, beef or lamb meat sometimes seasoned with vinegar or tartaric acid and spiced with tarragon, or smoked bacon and sausage.
Typical of this region are the sauces made with pimento, onion and roasted flour, which are used instead of ketch-up. Instead of oil, Transylvanians use fat. Pork is by far the favourite meat in Transylvanian cuisine. Vegetables are enjoyed as much as meat is.
Cabbage a la Cluj is a very famous dish. Chopped cabbage is alternated with mince in a dish and baked in the oven, after which it is served with sour cream. Another celebrated dish is the outlaw's stew a la Mures, often served in the villages in the area of the river Mures. Here is the recipe: two equal pieces of beef and pork are fried in fat with chopped onions. Water is added and the whole is allowed to simmer. When the meat is cooked, one or two chopped kidneys are added, as well as pepper, and the dish is simmered for another 20 minutes. Separately, a few slices of bacon and a few mushrooms are fried until soft and then added to the meat. Serve with mamaliga and sour cream. There cannot be a greater feast for a healthy stomach.
In Transylvania the largest vineyard is Tarnave, situated between the rivers Tarnava Mare and Tarnava Mica, and its best wine is Feteasca Regala produced from a local vine variety, with a special place among dry white wines for its freshness, smoothness and fruity flavor. The white wines form Tarnave (Pinot Gris, Italian Riesling, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Feteasca Alba) are generally very balanced, dry, of a good quality.