My Transylvania is the association that brings visitors to rural areas in Romania every year, to discover the tastes and culinary experiences specific to each area. The brunches organized in the Transylvanian villages had a major impact in the development of the areas and especially in the promotion of local traditions, places and culinary recipes. Under the local Eat motto, the association promotes and supports local producers.
Next, we invite you to read the interview with Cristian Cismaru, co-founder of the association My Transylvania and to discover the success story of a Sibiu entrepreneur.
1. First of all, tell us about the My Transylvania association and what activities are carried out within it?
The association was founded in 2010 when it practically took over the events started by three families in the Hârtibaciului Valley area already a few years before. The events known as the Transylvania Brunch have existed since 2008 and then we have continued to this day. We now have several directions of activity, all related to local resources:
a) we promote food producers in the region through brunch, picnics and other forms of eating together
- We develop ecotourism concepts through which these producers can be visited
- We connect producers with restaurants, markets or food hub-ubri to create new distribution channels
- We educate through a festival focused on master classes in gastronomy, Gastronomic Transylvania
b) We work with communities to develop various ecotourism strategies, campaigns and offers:
- mountain running: Burduf Challenge or Sibiel Forest Run
- integrated offers of sustainable tourism
c) We are also starting to focus on protecting the built heritage. Now we have a new project, the Land of Huts on the Sad River, through which we want people to come and sleep in the hay.
2. Who is behind My Transylvania and the local Eat?
We are several small teams that work for the association, collaborators or volunteers. Depending on the projects, there are about 30 in total. We have a fixed team, Ana Pârvulescu and Diana Iotu, who deal with the promotion, this being the most important side for us.
At the gastronomic events we are still in the family, my wife, Iuliana Labo, takes care of a large part of the organization together with Gabi and Jochen Cotaru from Hosman. Then in the villages Gabi Cuzepan accompanies us all the time, documenting everything we do. Dana Mitea deals with Gastronomic Transylvania, Andrei Rusu with the bicycle programs, Simona Voica often helps us to write articles, Bianca and Alin Cristea are the engines behind the Slow Food trail, Andra Simuț and Martha Toth are the coordinators of Ţara Colibelor project, Mugur Laurian and the Lițu family is always with us in the villages, Miruna Popa and the Stoica family help us with nature programs and Alexandra Macrea guides us on the pastry side.
3. The idea of the organization is a bold one and has a positive impact on the rural areas of Romania, how was My Transylvania born and where did the idea and passion for such an association come from?
We kind of want to save everything that's nice in rural and mountainous areas. Almost everything that is heritage we like to reinterpret and give a note of contemporaneity to valuable things and habits. We contribute with great joy to the development of rural and mountain areas in Romania and we promote intangible heritage through alternative programs, projects and events and innovative concepts. We are especially concerned with small communities, the movement in nature, trades and crafts, gastronomic culture, education and health. That's why we are waiting for you every weekend outside in nature. Let's tell you, get involved, connect and eat together!
4. We know that it is a project very loved by the people of Sibiu, tell us how many visitors take part in the organized events every year?
He visits us every year. 3-4,000 local visitors and about as many from other parts of the country.
5. What is Eat Local and how do you manage to promote local products and recipes? How to book a brunch?
Eat Local is our promotion platform where we upload culinary events and people book a participation ticket online. Being online we know exactly how many people come and how to prepare, otherwise it's a little harder for our hosts.
6. Do you also carry out activities during the winter and what would they be?
In winter we go on picnic trips and go more inside restaurants, bars or houses. The activities are similar only that we dress thicker;)
Plus we move a lot being a period when fat intake is higher;)
7. Which location do you prefer among the ones where the brunch is organized and which is the favorite culinary preparation from that location?
I like almost any place in Romania, everywhere there is a paradise waiting to be discovered. I am very attached to the mountain area and in recent years I have started to prefer the unconquered landscapes of many constructions and the harmonious and quiet places in the mountains.
Related to food and dishes I am a big lover of soups and stews. I could only eat juice 4 times a day. The richness of our recipes is unprecedented and deserves to be fully celebrated and promoted this gastronomic feature.
8. Tell us where your people are interested in the activities carried out and in which areas are the brunches organized?
You can find us most easily in villages on weekends or online at https://experiences.mytransylvania.ro/
where we announce everything that comes to us. We are present in many regions of Romania but especially in southern Transylvania. For several years we have had events in Oltenia, Muntenia, Banat, Maramureș, Bucovina and Moldova. We will also return to Dobrogea where we have only had one event so far.