While many world eschew garlic in your food for are afraid of smelling of it, Romanians have a cult-like appreciation for the plant.

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Transylvania’s winding, misty roads, castles and medieval fortresses collection the stage for several of Europe’s darkest legends, the most renowned of i beg your pardon is count Dracula.

Despite having actually never collection foot in Transylvania himself, 19th-Century writer Bram Stoker based his vampire lore top top the strigoi (from the Latin ‘striga’ an interpretation ‘witch’ or ‘evil spirit’) many thanks to a publication he found in England"s Whitby Library referred to as An Account the the Principalities the Wallachia and Moldavia. In the book, Vlad Tepes, a historic ruler who fought versus invading Turks, caught his attention. He was boy of Vlad Dracul of the house of Drăculești and also was the perfect personality on whom to remainder his blood-sucking main character.

Although Stoker’s Dracula to be fictional, dark spirits have long exist in eastern European folklore, as has actually the use of garlic to ward castle off.


Author Bram Stoker based his tale of count Dracula in Transylvania despite having never been (Credit: Bildagentur-online/Getty Images)

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Through practices passed down through generations, garlic is thought to safeguard people and also homes from evil spirits, and curing sickness such as colds and also coughs. The strigoi are thought to sucking the milk indigenous mothers and cows (the catalyst for Stoker’s blood-sucking vampires), which is why Romanian peasants have actually long defended their breed boy by smearing their horns through garlic.

But beyond folklore, garlic is a must on every Romanian’s plate.

Garlic is a must on every Romanian’s plate

One evening i was feasting v friends at Conacul Brătescu, a Romanian restaurant located a 10-minute walk indigenous Bran castle (the incentive for Stoker’s Dracula’s Castle). A group of tourist on the following table to be watching through inquisitive eyes together we smothered our trout and polenta in mujdei, a pungent Romanian sauce do from crushed garlic cloves that space salted and also vigorously blended with water and also sunflower oil, or yoghurt in part cases. If many world eschew garlic in your food for are afraid of smell of it, Romanians have actually a cult-like appreciation because that the plant. The rule is simple: the more, the better.

“It simply doesn’t taste the very same without,” my friend Alexandru Pavelescu exclaimed.


In Romania, garlic is thought to defend people and also homes from evil spirits (Credit: stack Madonik/Getty Images)

Two an ext generous portions of mujdei were brought in and also finished in a matter of minutes, both together a sauce for the fish or just spread on bread.

Deemed irreplaceable in flavouring steaks and other foods, garlic has always been a widespread crop in Romania. In Copălău village in Botosani County, the fragrant plant is grew by more than 40% that the locals. Taken into consideration unique because of the far settlement’s soil quality, the garlic of Copălău has acquired fame both nationally and also internationally – so lot so that the county’s farming authorities space preparing to it is registered it as a product v a protected geographical indication.

Garlic has actually long been believed of together a magical plant

At a house level, garlic is used in ciorbă, the word for the country’s numerous soups include vegetables and meat, such together ciorbă de burtă (tripe soup) or the lighter version, ciorbă rădăuţeană made v chicken. Existing on every menu, the famous skinless soil beef and also pork sausages known as mici owe their juicy, savoury taste to the generous amount of garlic in the recipe.

Aside indigenous being vital ingredient in Romanian cuisine, garlic has actually long been assumed of together a magical plant. Top top the eve of Saint Andrew (the patron saint of Romania) ~ above 29 November, garlic is believed to save you safe against strigoi and moroi, angry spirits that those passed on that haunt the family of family members still living. A Romanian Halloween that sorts, occupants of rural locations both eat garlic and smear that on the corners that windows and also doors to defend themselves. Rows the garlic can be viewed hanging v the very same purpose.


More 보다 40% that Copălău inhabitants cultivate garlic (Credit: Simona Ciocarlan/Alamy)

“Due come its curing properties as an different remedy, garlic has actually been given more symbolic qualities as a ritualistic plant, bearing one apotropaic duty of protection,” claimed Ana Iuga, ethnologist in ~ the Romanian Peasant Museum.

All the important transitions in life space accompanied by a collection of rituals – garlic is the leitmotif behind them

But the doesn’t protect against here. In Romania, garlic is thought about a much more powerful (natural) medication than many antibiotics, because of a compound called allicin (released as soon as the garlic is chopped or crushed) that has similar properties together penicillin, and also dishes such as garlic soup made v roasted garlic heads mixed with carrots, onions, potatoes, parsnip and also celery are served to combat the flu. Grandmothers and great-grandmothers pass down the tradition of smearing freshly halved garlic cloves on toast for both taste and also health purposes.

“Tradition and also folklore room deeply engrained right into Romanian culture in a syncretism date even prior to Christianity,” said Gabriela Solomon, co-founder the My an enig Romania, throughout a garlic-themed cook workshop. “All the vital transitions in life – birth, marriage and also death – room accompanied by a set of rituals that are preserved even by extremely educated people. Garlic is the leitmotif behind them.”


Bran lock in Transylvania to be the incentive for Dracula’s castle (Credit: Paul Biris/Getty Images)

In maintaining with this national belief that garlic has miraculous powers, the Garlic Festival, currently in its 5th year, takes location each September in the Tihuţa pass in the Bârgău mountains (Eastern Carpathians). This is whereby Transylvania meets Bukovina, long considered the gateway to the kingdom of count Dracula as illustrated in Bram Stoker’s novel under its previous Hungarian name ‘Borgo Pass’. At the festival, traditional dishes with garlic room prepared, garlic wreaths space woven, and also magic shows and spells room all component of the event.

So, even if it is or no vampires yes, really exist in Romania, garlic most certainly does, in its food, medication and ancient folklore.

Culinary roots is a series from benidormclubdeportivo.org take trip connecting come the rare and local foodstuffs woven right into a place’s heritage.

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