I’m eating tomatoes from a Transylvanian garden with Corina and Ioana, careful not to stain my dress. They run a local kitchen in Hof Harman village near the iconic Harman fortified church. It’s an idyllic life, eating with the seasons and preserving Saxon culinary traditions.
We shredded cabbage with an old wooden mandolin designed especially for this kind of thing, and made noodles with cabbage and a lot of ground pepper. My mum also used to make this dish with sauerkraut, so for me, it was a new version to see and taste.
Then we baked a meringue pie using rhubarb from the garden that was put in the freezer, especially for our visit. A version of it is in my book Tava. Interestingly, Corina used it just like that, frozen, straight into the batter. It worked, as you can see in the photos.
We ate and filmed and talked about Corina’s former career in a bank and Ioana’s life in Switzerland before they decided to start this project together in Transylvania, their homeland. Looking at their vegetable garden behind the house, I could see that this life is not easy.
‘Do you regret coming here?’ was a question on everyone’s lips. ‘Some days are harder than others’ came the answer, long hours and more physical work than anticipated when they first started, but they don’t regret leaving a career in an office.
It’s a sweet friendship, they fight each other constantly without even noticing: ‘The cake needs longer in the oven, 15 minutes’, 10 minutes, no more’ says the other. ‘Cook the noodles in simmering water on low heat’, ‘They would be better in boiling water’ reckons the other. Ioana embraces these conversations like a bet ‘Let’s see!’ They laugh and keep an eye on the food and everything they make is delicious. Everything they use is either from their garden or from a neighbour or local producer: cheese, lardo, jams and brandy.
If you are in Brasov, take the bus and visit the village and eat here at Ioana and Corina, give them a call and enjoy the fixed menu, google HOF Harman or open Google Maps. Website here https://www.hof-harman.ro/