A 4-Part Series
By Margaux Cintrano
Photos: Bucharest Tourist Office
unless stated otherwise
THE OLDEST HOTEL & RESTAURANT IN BUCHAREST
RESTAURANT HANUL MANUC
Strada Franeza 62 – 63
Reservations for Dinner Highly Suggested : 021 313 1411.
Chef Zarnescu had told me that this is the oldest hotel and restaurant in Bucharest. The establishment was founded and executed by Hanul Manuc, a flamboyant innovator and successful entrepreneur from Armenia in 1808.
This amazingly spectacular hotel complex houses a restaurant, several bars, a balconied courtyard with gardens where there is open air dining, live music and theatrical works are performed weather permitting. It is located across the street from the ruins of the Curtea Veche, the old court house.
Zarnescu had suggested an array of Romanian aperitifs, with the traditional plum brandy double distilled called Palinca. Quite fine sipping to say the least.
THE ART OF HORECA CULINARY SCHOOL – BUCHAREST
CRISTINA VAN DER SCHAAF, FOUNDER
Telephone: 073 088 2288
In this legendary institution students learn much more than about the mere preparation of food. They also learn to enjoy life´s joyful moments connected to the world of gastronomy. They learn to bring grace and elegance to their cooking, serving, table settings and, perhaps more important, their key relationships in a team and with their future clients.
Like in France, Romania has a profound appreciation for details, for objects of beauty and for the simple pleasure of shared conviviality, leadership development and professional preparation for future employment. This is the art of HORECA CULINARY INSTITUTE IN BOTH BUCHAREST AND BRASOV.
Cristina Van Der Schaff and Pastry Chef Trainer, Olguta Oana, had invited me to sit in on a spectacular Pastry Workshop, which was the highlight of my entire day. Imagine, a novel decadent and stunning chocolate tart from which a single bite reflected all the spectacular tastes of total paradise. This precious tart was adorned and topped with “smoked bacon bits“. Simply unbelievably extraordinary.
Each year, hundreds of students travel from all points of Romania to study at HORECA. Beginners, Intermediates and advanced Chefs, and Pastry Chefs, come to learn and/or improve their skills and/or to master a new bransh in the vast hospitality sector.
Learning the art of gastronomic excellence is a profound adventure with deep commitments to their studies and the program they are enrolled in. As these students embark on this culinary trail, they forever alter their professional lives. Young people on the verge of burgeoning careers — in catering, restaurant and hotel management, as well as in the world of wine, agriculture and farming, and tourism — have a profound need to learn, experience new flavors, and explore the wide world of gastronomy and professional protocol.
Internships are offered in a variety of locations, including Romania, the Balearic Islands and the U.K.
HORECA ´s mission is to professionally educate those dedicated to the Hospitality and Culinary sectors as well as to develop the enrolled, to have successful careers and relationships.
VINUL ROMANIA WINE DREAMS EVENT WITH SOMMELIER DAN ANGHEL
“ Good wine is a jovial creature if used wisely”
With this in mind, given the powerful Southern European influences in Romania´s ancient past, it is no surprise that wine has influenced Romanian culture. It remains the favorite of the nation´s alcoholic beverages, despite a thriving local beer and plum brandy culture.
Romania occupies similar altitudes and latitudes as France´s leading wine Designations of Origins do.
Romania´s vineyards account for roughly 50,000 acres ( 20,250 hectares ) and possesses a large portfolio of both white and red grape varieties.
A number of hybrid indigenous grapes has been chosen for their resilience in the extremely harsh winter weather conditions.
The most common of the grape varieties here are Feteasca (Alba and Regala variants), Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscat (Ottonel), Pinot Noir, and Balufrankish.
Romanian wines are lighter in style due to its continental climate, hot summers and the moderation by the Black Sea and the high Carpathian Mountain Range. Romania´s native indigenious grapes date back five thousand years.
In the Northeast, Moldova produces floral dry whites. In both Mutenia and Oltenia, ripe succulent reds are produced. In Dorbragea, near the Black Sea, semi sweet whites and sweet whites are produced.
The French grapes that are grown in the Brasov region include Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The whites grown in this region are Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, amongst others.
Suggested: The Horeca Culinary School which offers one of the best Sommelier´s Courses outside of France, with Romanian Multi-lingual Sommelier and Professor Dan Anghel.
Furthermore, based on the numbe of points assigned by the Robert Parkers of the world, it is the way in which a wine receives merit, sales and profits.
Horeca founder Cristina Van Der Schaff and I were invited by Sommelier Dan Anghel to the VINUL ROMANIA WINE DREAMS EVENT FESTIVAL.
We taste tested the following wines: Casa de Vinuri Cotnari, Crama Hermezlu, Crama Pprisor, Crama Ratesti, Crama Tata Si Fiul, Domenille Dealu Mare, Gramma, Halewood Wines & Spirits of Romania Selection, Licoma Winehouse Selection, Wines from the Liilac Winery, Vin Art Wines
CHEF IFRIM DORU
HAMBAR – BRASSERIE, CHARCUTERIE, BRUTARIE
Bakery, Cafe Brasserie & Bistro
Bd. Aviatorilor NR. 31.
One does not visit Boulevard Aviatorilor for great art or monuments or ruins. One comes to chill out in open air cafés, stroll in the park, take a look at the awesomely beautiful historic architecture undergoing renovation and reformation and/or to take in the stunning park across the boulevard.
Cristina Van Der Schaaf, Ioannis Tsikounas and I had stopped by for a light bite before we drove to Peles Castle and then on to Brasov. (This is covered in the Brasov article to appear in the summer edition ofLucid Dessert Magazine.) We had some of the loveliest smoked salmon, made on the premises croissants and some luscious chocolates.
Simply charming, Chef Ifrim Doru had come out of the kitchen to sit with us for a few minutes on his break.
Thank you for all your wonderful hospitality.
Watch out for the Brasov Gastro Adventures of this 4-Part Romania Series
Featured image: The Hambar
Hanul Manuc by Britchi Mirela (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Britchi_Mirela&action=edit&redlink=1), CC BY-SA 3.0 ro
Feneasca wine by Agne 2 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Agne27&action=edit&redlink=1), CC BY SA 3.0