Irina and Vasile Bozai – food producers

by admin on 16/06/2013

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Irina and Vasile Bozai are running a guesthouse in the village of Desesti in the Mara valley at the foothills of the volcanic Gutai mountains. The village is renowned for its gardens and orchards, and the eighteenth century wooden church that is part of the UNESCO World heritage.

Like lots of Romanians, Irina and Vasile are very hospitable and they invited us to have a taste of their homemade food. They make food themselves using ingredients only, and we were served a rich selection of cold cuts, cheese, bread, pickled mushrooms in vinegar and olive oil, etc. The last one is made by Irina using a secret recipe.

They are raising their own pigs and they make their own hams, sausages, etc. Since it had been raining a lot before our arrival, mushrooms were widespread in the nearby forests, and they had bought a large amount of mushrooms from local pickers. In the cellar, we watched a group of women, employed by the Bozai family, cleaning the mushrooms and sorting them in grades of quality. The highest quality ones, which have a maximum diameter of 6 cm, are frozen at -40°C in order to preserve their quality. The rest are cut into thin slices and dried in a storeroom with controlled humidity and temperature.

The mushrooms are exported to Italy where they are highly appreciated. According to Vasile, the highest quality mushrooms grow near fir trees, but some Italians prefer mushrooms which grow near oak trees. They are also selling pickled mushrooms using Irina’s secret recipe.

Vasile also intends to buy a fruit press in order to produce apple juice, and he makes plum brandy.

There is a fish farm next to their guesthouse where trout are raised. It consists of 2 pools where water is continually supplied at the uppermost one and flowing down to the other one. Vasile uses food prepared by a local veterinarian for the fish such that they grow slowly and they are ready for slaughter after about one year. He has been offered animal feed which would let the fish grow much faster, but fortunately he has declined the offer. The youngest fish was staying in the lowermost pool and brought to the highest one after they had reached a certain age. In winter, the fish hibernate and don’t require any food. The pools were about 3 metres deep, which was necessary for the fish to escape the heat on hot summer days. The fish is caught by a fishnet, and sometimes Vasile has to catch all of them, empty the pools and clean them.

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