Wizz Air Launches Flights from Romania to Grenoble

Wizz Air

wizz-logoWizz Air the largest low fare – low cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe announced today that it would launch new routes from Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca to Grenoble in France.  The flights to the new winter destination will be operated once a week between 12 December 2009 and 27 March 2010 as seasonal ski services.

Tickets are already on sale with one-way all-inclusive fares starting from as low as 220 RON / 52,49 EUR from Cluj and 260 RON / 62,49 EUR from Bucharest on wizzair.com and via call center by calling 0903 760 100.

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Romanian Chicken Ghiveci

Romanian Chicken Ghiveci
Romanian Chicken Ghiveci

Stews are big in Romania and all over Eastern Europe.  One pot dishes, over time, provided a hearty sustenance for first, peasants in the fields and later, workers in the factories.  These dishes are always packed full of flavour from in season produce and, traditionally, home-grown herbs.  Served with a side portion of rice or dark rye bread, traditional meals are not only easy but can also be a really cheap way of feeding your 5,000 (family and/or friends).  I cooked this for my family and it proved to be every bit delicious as I had anticipated.



4 tbsp vegetable oil

1 mild onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 red peppers, seeded and sliced

1.5kg / 3 1/2 lb chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks etc. as chicken on the bone is best for flavour)

3 potatoes, diced

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp chopped fresh marjoram

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

3 carrots, cut into chunks

1/2 small celeriac cut into chunks

120 ml dry white wine

2 courgettes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh rosemary, marjoram to garnish

Rye bread and/or white rice to serve


Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole

Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes until soft

Add the red peppers


Place the chicken pieces in a casserole and brown gently on all sides


After about 15 minutes, add the tomato puree, potatoes, herbs, carrots, celeriac, white wine and season to taste


Cover and cook over a gentle heat for 50 minutes


Add the sliced courgettes 5 minutes before the end of cooking


Season to taste

Garnish with herbs and serve with a portion of white rice or dark rye bread



Romanian Bean Stew

Charlotte J - stirring. Photo Credit: Jill Robinson
Charlotte J – stirring. Photo Credit: Jill Robinson

I recently visited Cornwall for a few days as my school friends had rented a large cottage for the week.  The kitchen was an absolute delight and I insisted on cooking some good East European fare for my 7 companions.

The best thing about East European cooking is that the recipes are usually not desperately complicated, require just one or two pots and few ingredients, which keeps both washing up and costs down, yet enables you to create a really hearty and tasty meal.

Although this bean stew required smoked pork and a ham bone, I cheated and used pork chops and smoked bacon which added the required smokey flavour.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it  so I would definitely recommend this recipe!

Ingredients (serves 8 hungry beings)

2 white onions

1 tbsp sunflower oil

2 red chilies

1 tbsp Hungarian hot paprika (or to taste)

3 tins of mixed beans

20 black peppercorns

8 pork chops

500g smoked bacon

4 tbsp cornflour

Tomato puree or chili powder for colour if desired

Handful of chopped parsley for garnish

Crusty white bread to serve


Put mixed beans into saucepan

Place pork chops on top of beans

Just cover pork with cold water and add peppercorns

Beans, chops & water in pan

Heat until boiling

Reduce heat, cover pan and leave on gentle simmer for 2 hours

Remove pork chops from pan

Cut off fat and bone and cut into chunks

Return pork to pan

Chop onions and heat in sunflower oil in separate pan until translucent


Add chopped and deseeded chili to onion and cook for 5-10 minutes

Onion & chilli

Chop smoked bacon and add to onion and chili and cook until crispy

Onion, chilli, bacon

Add paprika to bacon mix, stir and cook for 5 minutes

Onion, chilli, bacon, paprika

Add cornflour to bacon mix, stir and cook for 5-10 minutes

Add bacon mix to stew and stir

Cook for further 10 minutes until well mixed

Romanian Bean Stew

If desire deeper red colour, add tablespoon of tomato puree or chili powder

Serve into bowls, garnish with parsley (I forgot to!) and serve with chunky white bread



Owen, Jared, Dave, Jill, Simon, Nicky, Carla
Owen, Jared, Dave, Jill, Simon, Nicky, Carla

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Marriott to Open Hotel in Romania

Marriott International, Inc. will open its first moderately-priced Courtyard branded hotel in Romania in 2011 under a recently concluded management agreement with a local developer. The 187-room Courtyard by Marriott Bucharest will be located in the city center within walking distance of the award-winning JW Marriott Hotel Bucharest.

Courtyard by Marriott hotel guest rooms are usually larger than those offered by other hotels in its competitive segment and feature clearly distinct rest, relaxation and grooming areas. Amenities include Marriott’s renowned bed and bath linens; high definition, flat screen television; high-speed internet access; large work desk and ergonomic chair; in-room refrigerator; remotely accessible voice mail; dataport for computer modem hook-up and coffee makers in each room.

For dining and entertainment, Courtyard’s public space evokes a residential, open feeling and a casual ambience that encourages guests to feel relaxed, comfortable and welcomed.  The Courtyard by Marriott Bucharest will have a casual restaurant serving three meals daily and a lobby lounge and bar.

For recreation, the hotel will have a fitness center. Business services will be available adjacent to the front desk and The Market, a “grab and go” kiosk, will provide various sundry items and mini-snacks and sandwiches for those in-a-hurry.

For social events and conferences, the hotel will have 2,890 square feet of space comprised of a 2,430-square foot main meeting room which will be divisible into two sections and two separate meeting rooms in varying configurations.


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Romania: Volunteering & Luxurious Sightseeing

Mural Painting
Mural Painting

Hands Up Holidays is currently offering you the opportunity to combine a period of meaningful volunteering with luxurious sightseeing, giving you an inspiring holiday. One of the holidays on offer is to Romania, which will captivate you with its stunning monasteries, castles and medieval towns, while the people regale you with stories of legendary Count Dracula and his haunts in Transylvania and the surrounding Carpathian and Fagaras Mountains.

The holiday begins with a panoramic tour of Bucharest, capping off the day with a welcome dinner at the Count Dracula Club. Brasov, the next stop has one of the largest Gothic churches and proves to be an ideal base for visiting Dracula’s Castle: Bran Castle. The trip also takes you to the monasteries of Voronet and Nearnt which are among the greatest artistic monuments to Europe. Then, on to Sighsisoara is a gorgeous medieval town before reaching the Danube where the day is spent on the river. Constanta, the base for volunteering located on the Black Sea, where you can make a positive difference to the lives of orphans. The amazing adventure ends back in Bucharest on Day 9.

Painting orphanage
Painting orphanage

Day by Day Itinerary:

Day 1 Bucharest – Arrival and City Tour (D)

Day 2 Bucharest-Sinaia-Bran-Poiana Brasov-Brasov-Tusnad (B,D)

Day 3 Tusnad-Sighisoara-Mediasch-Sibiu-Sighisoara (B,D)

Day 4 Sighisoara-Piatra Neamt-Suceava-Baia Mare (B,D)

Day 5 Baia Mare-Bacau-Braila -Tulcea (B,D)

Day 6 Danube Delta boat trip (B,L,D)

Day 7 Volunteering in an Orphanage in Constanta (B,D)

Day 8 Volunteering in an Orphanage in Constanta (B,D)

Day 9 Bucharest; tour ends (B)

B = Breakfast, L= Lunch, D = Dinner

The next trip takes place on 22nd August.

For more information go to www.handsupholiday.com

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Oscars of the Wine World

Last week the International version of the Oscars for wine took place.  The 26th International Wine Challenge 2009 saw entries from a record 41 countries, with 304 Gold medals awarded, up 13% on last year.  Retaining the top gold medal nation status was France with 49 medals, closely followed by Australia and the Portugal.  English wine obtained a record 24 medals.  However, there were also good prizes for some of the more renowned wine-producing countries in Eastern Europe.   Here are the top of the favourites from Eastern Europe:

Chardonnay Sauvignon Private Reserve 2005


From: Cahul, Moldova

Grape/Made with: Chardonnay

The judges said: Soft, buttery baked fruits with herbaceous notes; rounded and creamy.

Available at: Acorex Wine Holding Sa | WineSearcher.com

Read more…

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Deliciously Light Lemon Cake

If you are permanently on the hunt for the lightest cake in the world, look no further.  This Romanian cake is made from a blend of thick yogurt, lemon and honey and is the lightest cake I have ever consumed.


50g butter

115g caster sugar

2 large eggs

115g Greek yogurt

Grated rind of 2 lemons

Juice of 1/2 lemon

150g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

curls of lemon rind to decorate

For the syrup: juice of 1/2 lemon, 4 tbsp honey, 3 tbsp water, 1 cinnamon stick


Preheat oven to 190ºC

Grease and line a shallow, 7-inch square cake tin (I made extra to fit my rectangular tin)

Allow butter to soften.

Cream together the softened butter and sugar either in a bowl or a mixer until pale and fluffy.

Creamed butter and sugar

Slowly add the egg yolks, Greek yogurt, lemon rind and juice.

Beat until smooth.


In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until just stiff.

Egg whites

Sift together the flour and baking powder.

Fold flour and baking powder into yogurt mixture.  Fold carefully, do not excessively stir because you will stretch the gluten in the flour.

Yogurt mixture, flour, baking powder

Then, fold in egg whites, again carefully, making sure they do not lose all their air, otherwise the cake will not be light.  A top tip is to use a metal spoon not a wooden one!

Ready for the tin!

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin.

Ready for the oven!

Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and firm to touch.

Turn out on to a plate and peel off base paper.

For the syrup, put the lemon juice, honey, water and cinnamon stick together in small pan.

Honey & cinnamon

Stir until boiling.

Cook until syrupy.

Remove the pan from the heat.

Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.

Syrup done!

Spoon the warm syrup over the cake then sprinkle with lemon rind.

Leave to cool completely and cut into 16 pieces.

Finished product

Finished product ready to cut into slices.



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Domaine Danubiane Sauvignon Blanc 2007

domaine-danubianeAlthough not a country to usually pop to the forefront of one’s mind when considering notorious wine producing countries, Romania has in fact been producing wine since the 7 BC.  It would shock you to put, what most would consider one of the European Union’s poorest and most backward countries, on a par with Portugal for sheer quantity of square metres of vines, but this is indeed the case.

This particular bottle hails from the town of Turnu Severin, formerly known as the ancient city of Drobeta which took its name from the tower built to commemorate the death of the Roman emperor, Septimus Sever.  The cellar is run by Italian winemaker, Fiorenzo Rista, who after gaining vital experience in northern Italy, came to Romania, fell in love with a Romanian woman (now his wife) and never returned home.

The Domaine Danubiane is a crisp aromatic white produced purely from Sauvignon Blanc. The cool climate of Vanju Mare has ensured it is packed full of grassy herbal aromas, a characteristic of many East European tipples, in addition to boasting vibrant gooseberry tones and lively passion fruit flavours.

While, the Domaine Danubian Sauvignon Blanc would not suit the palette of those who prefer to drink a very dry Pinot Grigio or Chablis unaccompanied, it will prove a particularly pleasing purchase for those who desire to indulge in seafood, particularly oysters, moules marinierès or grilled white fish.

Read more…

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