gastronomyDiscover the real taste of Transylvania
The perfect premise for beginning to discover the area:
- Meet the local people and taste the traditional food,
- Discover the local culture and tradition,
- Enjoy a memorable experience
The name of the Saschiz commune (Saszkeisd) was attested for the first time in 1309. The commune is located in the South-East of Mures county, in the South-East of Transylvania, on E60, 20 km south of Sighișoara – in the very centre of Romania.
Saschiz commune is made up of Saschiz village and two other villages, Mihai Viteazu and Cloașterf. The commune is surrounded by orchards, hop fields, wild flower meadows, agricultural land and forests. Coming from Sighișoara on the main road, at the entrance to Saschiz on the left you will come across the “Forest of the Hanged” and on the right you will see the Fortress. Further on, to the left, there is the “Giants’ Hill”. Between these two hills lies Saschiz, remarkable for its Clock Tower and Fortified Evangelical Church. The four little turrets of the Clock Tower represent the power this commune used to have and the right to apply the death penalty in the past.
Agriculture and Gastronomy
Life in the country requires a house with a garden. Each household in the area also has fruit trees, a vegetable plot and typically raises animals too, all this for their own consumption. Some products are consumed fresh, others are preserved and stored in the cellar for use during winter.
Vegetables are cultivated in the garden at the back of the house. Most of them are kept in the cellar or preserved by pickling. During the summer, you can enjoy fresh and tasty salads.
Stoneless fruits such as strawberries are cultivated in gardens while fruits with stones or pips are grown in orchards or behind barns. Many fruits are picked from the forest and most are made into jam, cordial or baked.
Vines can be found in every garden. Grape varieties in this area are hardy enough to withstand frosty winters. The wine is preserved in cool cellars and served in jugs straight from the barrel.
Herbs are grown in gardens or picked from the forest. They are used fresh or dried for cooking and teas, as well as for remedies in a wide range of illnesses.
Pigs are grown in pens but usually spend their summer days out in the pastures with the sheep.
Poultry such as chickens and guinea fowl range free through the yards and lay eggs with intense yellow yolks, ideal for breakfast or cooking.
Meat is the staple food of the local people. Pork is usually prepared and consumed during the winter, lamb during the Easter period, poultry in the summer and mutton in the autumn. In Transylvania, however, pork is in the top of people’s preferences.
Cattle graze the communal pastures daily. In general, cows are milked manually every morning and evening.
„The taste of pork products has changed very little, being determined by the lifestyle of the animals and their diet rather than the breed.”
Bread is consumed with every meal – nowadays bread is bought from the local baker’s but sometimes local women knead the dough and bake the bread in their own ovens in the yard. Watching the process of bread-making is a memorable experience, perhaps even unique in this part of Transylvania.
The dough left from the previous baking is mixed with flour (usually 20 kg) and water in order to start the fermentation process, and is left to rest overnight. The next morning the dough is kneaded before being left to rise and then left again for about four hours in a wooden tray made of poplar.
During this time, the oven is prepared by burning twigs and split logs until it reaches the desired temperature, and the charcoal is placed to the sides of the oven. The dough is handled carefully and placed in the oven with a long wooden paddle. Some women use trays in order to maximize the oven space and they lay cabbage leaves on the bottom of the tray in order to extend the life of the bread.
After two hours the bread is taken out of the oven. The crust of the bread is dark and burnt and while it’s still hot, the loaves are beaten with a wooden stick and scraped in order to reveal the golden colour underneath. The interest of the tourists regarding this old practice leads to an increased demand and the preservation of this tradition.
After baking the bread in the oven, women usually bake the “cozonac” (traditional walnut cake) or even meats that are easy to cook in a tray.
Târnava Mare is not the most representative area for the cultivation and grinding of wheat, but some bakeries claim that the best flour is that which was milled at the local flour mill. During the winter, boiled potatoes are mixed in with the dough in order to improve the quality of home-made bread.
”Watching the bread-making process is a memorable experience, perhaps even unique in this part of Transylvania. ”