Transylvania trip

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A Transylvanian churchyard

Romania has quite a good reputation when it comes to wine, although I don’t remember seeing any for sale in the UK. We had already tried some white with our meal in Rimet which was delicious, although quite a lot of the shop stuff seemed to be sweet or Dulce, which isn’t my thing.
After a couple of days at Rimet village we moved around the mountain to stay at another village, Rimetea. (just to confuse things) We had a couple of stops en route and first we stopped for a spot of wine tasting at a small local winery IEPURE Winery in Ciumbrud village. It looked just like someone’s house because basically it was, with some telltale silvery wine vats in a  large cellar down a few stone steps.

Wine shopping, Romania style

The wine here was sold in large plastic containers at 50 Lei or about £10 for five litres which at about £2 a litre is extremely cheap. Most of the grapes used seemed to be German varieties like Reisling and Gewürztraminer but there was a red Merlot too. The Rosé was incredibly floral and delicate and smelt of fresh roses and fruit. A number of large containers of wine were purchased, and while we had originally planned to decant our Rosé and take it home, most of the delicious tipple ended up getting opened and drunk at mealtimes, and lots of other times too. It was a lovely drop of vino!

Alpine lounging with wine

Continuing our journey to mountain village number two we stopped at the very picturesque village of Rimetea which seemed to be a lot more touristy in character. It turns out it was more Hungarian than Romanian in style, but I did take the opportunity to purchase some scrumptious looking jam made from different forest fruits.

Wild Cherry, Bilberry and Lemon and rum jam – wow!

Another stop took us to a beautiful wooden Orthodox church built in 1712 which had hand painted original religious scenes on the roof and walls, with beautifully depicted faces and quite a lot of colour still visible. There was also an amazing wooden carved and painted chandelier the like of which I had not seen before.

Charming chandelier

We had a picnic next to the river as cows wandered by with their cow bells jangling, an idyllic spot for an aubergine paste and cheese sandwich.

We arrived at our new guesthouse in Vidra which looked very much like a Swiss chalet in its gorgeous alpine setting with a sloping roof and geraniums in window boxes. Nearby is a small waterfall and it’s not too far from a small glacier either. A rock called snail rock is covered in the fossils of cephalopods, giving testament to the fact that this part of the world was once covered by water.

Picnic with cow

That evening we feasted on fresh pork steaks, potatoes and cucumber and tomato salad. The alpine air certainly gives you a healthy appetite and after dinner we headed up to the stable to milk a cow. The pretty black and white cow, Balena, was very patient as we all crowded into her stall for a trial milking session. A small swift sat in its little clay nest looking down on us from the rafters in a rather bemused way as it had probably never been quite that busy in the stable before with eight extra milkers!

Beautiful Balena

I loved the milking and found it quite easy, I imagine it’s a very therapeutic thing to do every day.
The next morning we had Balena’s fresh milk (strained) for breakfast and it was delightful. The home made butter from her milk was also food for the Gods on the tasty home made bread.

Donkey milk – yum!

We also got to try donkey milk from a nearby Donkey farm. Apparently it has amazing health giving properties and is in high demand in the USA. Donkey milk is as close to human milk as you can get in the animal kingdom, and its very low in fat and high in protein. It didn’t have much taste really, it was a bit like skimmed milk but if it was good enough for Cleopatra it was good enough for us!

Team Transylvania