Romania, the land of festivals, wine and landscapes. Where are we going?

by Wines of Romania
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Romania, tara de festivaluri, vin si peisaje. Unde mergem

Romanians like to party, regardless of the available budget. So we thought of searching for some domestic escape destinations for those who didn’t choose exotic or Mediterranean islands, to fit with any size of wallet. Food, fun, some education, and something for the munchies…

The road to (or from) Transylvania

Since we still don’t have a highway between Pitesti and Sibiu, at least let’s properly enjoy the road and srop by Brezoi, one of the new capitals of blues world. Yes, the blues festival has just ended, but it’s not too late to get tickets to Baricada Folk (August 4-6), where Nicu Alifantis, Mircea Baniciu, Dan Byron, Vladi Cnejevici, Magda Puskas, Emerich Imre and Ducu are announced Bertzi, along with many others.

Accommodation in Brezoi is difficult, but the campsite is generous and will give you the opportunity to practice your talents with the cauldron food. If not, there are plenty of rooms in Calimanesti-Caciulata, and here, right at the exit to Sibiu, you can stop at Pensiunea Dada (it’s slightly hidden by an OMV gas station), for food that tastes like your mother’s / grandmother’s home, for more than reasonable prices… There are a few wine shops in Ramnicu Valcea, if you forget to stock up at home, but the area is well-known for its old tuica, fruit brandies aged in mulberry or oak barrels, so don’t hesitate! Ask the locals where to get your supplies and taste before you buy, just in case. It also goes well with sausages and pastrami from the area!

Music gets loud in Cluj

Around the same time as Baricada, but for a completely different audience, between August 3rd and 6th you are expected at Untold, in Cluj, with many heavy hitters of the moment – Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, Bebe Rexha, Salvatore Ganacci, Alesso, KSHMR and about 150 other DJs, covering the eight stages.

If you arrive in Cluj, a trip among the wine bars and restaurants in the city is mandatory. You can find everything from traditional dishes to fine cuisine, wines from all over the world and good selections of Romanian wines. Cluj is cosmopolitan and welcoming, so you have to schedule yoour calendar very well, for the offer is very comprising. And after the concert, don’t hesitate to visit the pubs in the city Fortress or, for those under 30, Piezisa street. They close late, at the break of dawn…

When you leave Cluj, there are wineries in all directions – Jidvei, Silvania, Liliac, Villa Vinea, Sebes, so kkep some time for a stopover of a few hours, or even a more – a luxurious night, at the Bethlen-Haller Castle or in the heart of nature, at Liliac (only one room, so not for groups!).

It may rain in Brasov, but the music is good!

Between August 10 and 15, at the Brasov Jazz & Blues Festival, there are dozens of concerts scattered between Nicolae Titulescu Park, St. Ioan Square, Brassai Square. Headliners: Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Sharrie Williams, Antonio Lizana, Rita Marcotulli & Luciano Biondini, Johnny Rowls, The Bluesbones, Alabama Mike, Lucy Woodward & Sandsville.

The mandatory stopover is Bistro de l’Arte, for fine cuisine and exceptional ingredients. In the city center you can find the Barrique and Terroirs wine shops (the latter also has a terrace and a wine bar), and the Wine Stories by Fenyes wine bar, also on the outskirts of the city, for supplies, you can find the Le Sommelier warehouse, with a huge offer and very good prices.

Also in the center, in the Black Church area, you have restaurants next to each other, with different offers. From the legendary Gaura Dulce (The Sweet Hole), with its forrest mushroom soup, to the refined Casa Hirscher, you can find everything. Don’t forget to taste, for a boost up, the coffees from Shakespeare Coffee & Poetry. If you go up on the mountain to Poiana Brasov, for an hour of horseback riding or just for the scenery, on the way back to Brasov, you should stop at Belvedere – excellent wine list, fine food and a spa for the necessary siesta.

Lots of jazz. From caves to the top of the mountain, it’s all jazz!

Top artists come not only to Brasov, but also to more hidden corners of the country. A small festival, exclusive by the nature of the space whre it is held, is The Jazz Cave Festival, which has been taking place for several years in the Ialomita natural cave, in the Bucegi national park. There are enough guesthouses and hotels in the Padina area so that you don’t have to worry about accommodation, but life in a tent has its charm that is hard to describe… Between August 16 and 18, artists from Japan, the Netherlands, the USA, Albania, Bulgaria and (obviously, many from) Romania, will play in a hall dug for millennia by the springs of the Ialomita river, with unique acoustics. There are many legends and stories related to this place, so it’s good to have a few bottles of wine and, possibly, a cooling box, ready in the trunk.

For lovers of contemporary jazz, with experimental accents, between August 18 and 20 you can get lost in the Apuseni Natural Park, at the Smida Jazz Festival, near Lake Belis (kayaking!), a place for impetuous young people, who continue the party even after when the concerts end. The place is a little closer to Cluj than to Oradea or Deva, so it’s good to come stocked up! There are only 4-5 guesthouses nearby, so it is good to make reservations in advance.

And also for jazz and blues lovers, the Blues in the Garden festival was created, which became Darmanesti Jazz Blues Festival, as discreet and secluded from the world as Jazz Cave or Smida, in a valley between Targu Ocna and Comanesti. Eric Steckel, Sari Schorr, Moonshine Society, Reggie King Sears, The Cinelli Brothers, Krissy Matthews, Ma Bessie and Her Blues Troupe, Layla Zoe, Armin Sabol, Cristina Radu & The Band and Rares Totu are the stars on the scene in 2023.

If you come from the South, the road will bring you closer to Dealu Mare and you can stock up at your leisure, from each winery. If you come from the North, either stop by Cotnari for sparkling wines at unbeatable prices, or detour to Domeniile Averesti, for a cold Zghihara and a seductive Busuioaca.

More electric or more visual, according to taste

Rock is also not bad this summer, with festivals at Corbii de piatra (Stonebird, August 11-13, with ZOB, Parazitii, Dirty Shirt, Bucovina, Truda, Antract and Myrath) and Analogue Festival in Mioveni, on August 25-27, an eclectic mix of styles – from Delia and Satra Benz to Subcarpati, Asian Dub Foundation, Kadebostany, Vita-de-Vie, Byron, ROA or The Monojacks. We put together the two festivals in Arges (with an emphasis on the second ), because on the edge of Mioveni, in Colibasi, you can discover a gem of a winery – Mennini, founded by a businessman and passionate hunter, after which it was named, today part of the Vintruvian Group portfolio (along with Sarica-Niculitel – Caii de la Letea and Crama deMatei, formerly Prince Matei Estates).

You can enjoy the local cuisine, with roasted guts and other specialties. If you drive by the Stejarul inn, it is worth a stopover for ris de veau, fine bone marrows, pidgeons, quails, sheep’s knees and others… Don’t be deceived by the appearance of the place, the menu has dozens of recipes that cannot be found elsewhere.

Film lovers, after enjoying TIFF, are waiting for the Anonymous festival, in Sfantu Gheorghe, between August 14 and 20. The equation is as simple as possible: Danube Delta, fish, Aligote Caii de la Letea, if possible the Princeps. If not, any of its volumes and, who knows?, maybe Free Zante has a second edition released by then! No joke, it is a sin to go to the Danube Delta and not to drink the wines of Dobrogea. From Sarica-Niculitel, from La Sapata, Navigo or Alira, according to taste, but it must be a wine with the taste of the place. Otherwise, it’s better to drink water… Like, if you go to Campulung Moldovenesc, to the Film Fest, you need local wines, from Cotnari or Domeniile Averesti, right?

In any case, whatever you choose, enjoy!

PS. We’ll be back soon with other destinations for August and September, because in October, the target is clear: RO-Wine | The International Wine Festival of Romania!


© 2022 Wines Of Romania By Marinela Ardelean

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