Successive Romanians: grandmother’s cousins

– Magic paste Biopan Adrian –

In Valea Ariesului Mic, in the municipality of Avram Iancu, in Alba County, the locals decided to try their luck doing something other than traditional woodworking mots jobs. At the gate of a small house buried among the flowers, a sign reads: “Artisan flour pasta – Pasta Magica Biopan Adrian”. I open the gate and enter a large courtyard, clean and tidy “like a glass”. The one who prepares the floury delicacies is Adelina Cristea, the owner of the house, to whom we asked to tell us the story of her cutlets, made as in the days of her grandmother.

Smell of raw coke

Adelina Cristea

Arsița lui Cuptor has also climbed the peaks of the Apusenis, and in the manicured courtyards of the riots, at noon, only a few lazy cats walk lazily up and down their steps. Adelina Cristea and her husband Eugen work in the transparent shade of a shed. I greet and tell them that I want to know something about their homemade tagliatelle, made according to ancient local recipes. I had been lucky enough to taste them, put in a chicken soup with a few cents of golden fat, as I hadn’t eaten since childhood, and I wanted to know who made them, who wanted to turn noodle soup into a “business”, d ‘obligation, on Sundays, in Transylvania … Adelina quickly changes her apron to a white dressing gown and invites me into a cool room. On high wooden shelves, dozens of bags of pasta are lined up in assortments: thin and long noodles for soup, wide noodles, good with cheese or sauteed cabbage, spirals and snails, yellow as gold, or multicolored, waiting for the layers of chopped walnuts and sugar or sour plum majiun mixture. Hmmm! All the goodies from my childhood flood my mind.

“Since I got married, I have only taken care of the house, together with my husband. We have animals, cows, pigs, chickens, a large garden and we work, we never cook it. But at a certain point I wanted to do something else . And since you don’t have a place to find work around here, we thought we’d try something that didn’t include commuting. We got interested, we studied, we analyzed and so we decided to start making pasta. space, it just had to be fixed “, says Adelina Cristea.

Romanian Easter, with eggs from the EU

Lenten flour dough

Beyond the cool room, there is another, slightly larger, where the pasta is made with flour, eggs and a little salt. A mixer homogenizes the ingredients, a machine then rolls out the dough and, depending on the type of pasta desired, thin or wide tagliatelle, spirals, snails and many others come out through a sieve with holes of various shapes. “We use a special flour for the pasta, spelled flour, durum wheat flour, which we can only find in a mill in Sibiu county. In the beginning, until we learned what and how, we only used this type of flour, but the pasta tasted a bit strange, which customers didn’t like. That’s how we ended up trying all kinds of combinations, and now we use a combination of white flour and spelled flour, both special for pasta, in a proportion we do not reveal the secret “, says Adelina Cristea with a smile.

In the refrigerator, Adelina keeps the eggs. It must be one of those stamped, because this is how European food standards provide, an absurdity that prevents the use of fresh eggs, by peasant families. “I would have liked to have been able to use the eggs from my garden, because we have enough, and I would have also bought some chickens, especially for this, but there are so many permits to be obtained to be able to use something clean, from your garden, that we had to give up “.

After passing through the sieves that give them their final shape, the pasta is stored on special wooden shelves for a few hours at room temperature. When we arrived, Adelina had just finished a batch of long, thin spaghetti, which were lined up to dry on round wooden sticks. The room smelled of raw, fresh pie, and I wanted to steal some noodles and look for a hot stove to cook them on, like I used to do with my grandmother’s noodle pie as a child. In the same room, the pasta will dry for 12 hours before arriving, as a finished product, in transparent and elegantly labeled bags and, subsequently, on the shelves of shops and in the pot-bellied housewives of Apuseni and the countryside.

With the noodles in the bag

When it is dry

The Cristea family’s small business from Avram Iancu, Alba County, was funded by the “Start-up Nation” program. “It was not easy, because we had to get a loan from the bank and only then the money was paid through this program. We also have a Facebook page, Paste Magice Biopan Adrian. Our son, Adrian, takes care of it. Unfortunately these are the our only ways to promote ourselves “, says Adelina:” We went everywhere with the flour dough in our bag, to the shops in the valley, and even to Câmpeni, asking them to put them on the shelf, for sale. It also happened that we had orders from Brașov and Bucharest, but few. Those who bought once have become our loyal customers, but this is mainly for individuals, less for shops. I have nowhere to sell as much as I could! If we had a commercial agent to promote our goods over a larger area, we could, implicitly, make other investments and expand. ”

From the Cristea family’s artisan pasta recipe there are also products for fasting, colored and otherwise. “We do not use any kind of artificial coloring, only fruit and vegetable juices. From blueberries we derive purple gray, from beetroot red, purple, dark green and light green from spinach. These are especially requested by families with small children. , because they find the multitude of colors and the tastiest colored pasta attractive, even for the most demanding palates “, says Adelina Cristea.

On the shelves of the country’s department stores, in shiny and multicolored bags, or in elegant boxes with sophisticated names, you can find pasta from all over Europe. Spread daily in the advertising spaces of television, for money, the floury pasta of private trade is indispensable in the weekly menu of Romanians. But their taste cannot be compared to that of artisanal pasta, produced in small quantities, such as that of Avram Iancu and several other small factories in the country. Their taste is incomparable, the taste of genuine and native ingredients, but also the taste of the effort and love with which they are made, which will never be found in the final price. Do you miss the foods of your childhood? Somewhere, in the Apuseni Mountains, someone can offer them to you: Biopan Adrian Pasta Magica.

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