Ark of taste
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Bujuneală or bujuleică is prepared from the flank steak of half a pig, without the fat-bacon, seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme and crashed garlic. The meat is then bent or packed to form a small bag-like shape in which a piece of leg with no fat is placed. This amounts to approximately one kilogram of meat shaped into a ball, surrounded by a freshly made sausage. The little “bag” is then closed by sewing it together with a thread of hemp, sealing the meat inside.

The product is then placed in brine with other pork products that are to be smoked. It is kept for two weeks in the brine, then taken out for drying and indirectly cold smoked with the smoke of hardwood trees. The bujuneală is stored throughout the winter in the attic, where it sometimes freezes. When ready to be consumed, it is used for preparing of some different type sof stews: white bujuneală stew, that is made with a white sauce of flour, water, milk and sour cream; or red bujuneală stew made with sweet paprika and tomato paste or juice. Both stews also include potatoes and small cut onions as ingredients.

According to the writings of the ethnologist Ioan Augustin Goia, researcher of the Transylvanian Ethnographic museum, this product dates back to at least the early 1900s. It has historically been made in Agrijului Valley, in the villages of Pustă, Răstolțu Deșert and Agriș. It is not a commercially made product, and even home production is in decline. Fewer pigs are raised and slaughtered in the countryside, and there remain very few village butchers familiar with preparing traditional cured meats. This knowledge is disappearing with rural-to-urban migration of youth. Furthermore, the pig breeds most appropriate to making bunjuneală (Mangaliță and Bazna) are also facing a risk of extinction.

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Cured meats and meat products