Christmas recipes from Bucovina, Romania

Every country has traditional recipes for Christmas, Easter or other events.  In the villages of Bucovina life is still the same, people still follow the same old traditions and preserve their way of life. From the beautiful practices and winter habits, to the amazing Christmas traditional food, Bucovina is a fascinate place to spend your winter holidays.

A week or two before Christmas we have the pig’s sacrifice (pig’s Ignatius). They do lots of specific products to be served on Christmas or New Year: “chisca” with rice, blood or liver, sausages, fresh or smoked bacon, greaves or “toba or piftie” (pork jelly).  They are made according to traditional recipes.

On December 24th, my family has a fasting dinner with 12 types of fasting food. You will find 3 recipes of beans: beans salad, mashed beans (roe of beans) and beans with tomato sauce. We would also have on the table: eggplant salad, stewed prunes, “coliva” (a dessert made from husked wheat grains), apples compote, potato salad, “sarmale” with mushrooms, mushrooms salad, a vegetable soup and vegetable salad.

fastening food with beans salad and vegetable soup

All the family will get together and enjoy a great dinner in the family. We will wait for caroling and talk about our year. At the end of the evening the parents and grandparents will tell stories about their childhood, funny stories about Christmas and family.

Christmas is a very important holiday in Bucovina with lots of religious practices, rituals and ceremonies, with prohibitions and superstitions.  Our traditional recipes for Christmas start with “sarmale” (stuffed cabbage rolls), “bors de perisoare” (sour meatball soup), “tochitura Moldoveneasca” (pork stew with roasted pork sausages, roasted pork chop, sheep cheese and polenta), boletus mushrooms with sour cream, pickled mushrooms and red peppers and end with “poale’n brau” pies, “cozonac”(sweet bread with poppy seeds or walnuts).

sweet bread with poppy seeds, meatballs soup, cabbage rolls

Everything is washed down with “palinca” (double distilled plum brandy). For the ladies we have a wide variety: cherry wine, wild berries brandy and homemade wine.

I got hungry from writing this post. I am going to the kitchen. Enjoy!



61 thoughts on “Christmas recipes from Bucovina, Romania

  1. Lovely traditional recipes and spectacular photographs. The article doesn’t say where in the world is Bucovina. I will google it to round out the picture I have in my head.

  2. Your Christmas traditions remind me of my home country, Poland. Which is why it’s my favorite Holiday as it’s so rich in traditions. Thanks for sharing!

  3. It is always a pleasure to read your posts. I was born in Bucharest, but I never traveled to Bucovina or to other beautiful places that Romania offers. My family is from Transilvania and that is the only place I know. Life was so dull under Ceausescu.

  4. Well, I clearly need to get myself down to Bucovina! The cozonac and palinca especially sound delicious. Excuse me whilst I salivate…

  5. I remember my mom and dad making coliva and piftie and the uncertainty of getting the jelly to ‘gel’ sometimes with the pig’s head purchased here in Ontario. And of course, sarmale, with the pork that my father cut by hand into tiny little pieces while sitting at the kitchen table. She’d fry it up with onions and I’d steal some from the frying before she added the raw rice. Sometimes, I’d be slow about getting to the meat and then I’d end up with some crunchy raw rice in my spoon … it was so good, I didn’t care. 🙂

    Thank you for the memories your post brought up.

  6. I love reading about places people keep the old traditions, especially the food ones. The “tochitura Moldoveneasca” sounds like something I would love. I have a wonderful farmer I buy pork from and make poek dishes from all over the world and share with him. He never knew all the ways people coooked pork.

  7. Interesting post, I always like to read about other countries traditional foods for feasts.
    I have to say that I found some of the traditional recipes you mentioned also in the hungarian tradition, of course with some differences but similar, as the stuffed cabbage for example (töltött kaposzta in hungarian) 🙂

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