Thursday, November 21, 2013

Castles, Legends and More Fortifications

Poienari Fortress

Cutting South through the Fagaras Mountains we come upon another Dracula residence, this time a real one, documented in history named Poienari Fortress on top of Cetatuia Mountain.

Vlad Tepes fortified it in the XV century to keep the Ottoman hoards from coming across the mountains in Transylvania. 

To reach it, one must clime 1480 steps through a dense forest. It was named "eagle's nest of ancient heroes", due to the battles won there recorded in history.

Nearby in Arefu village a majestic lake Vidraru, rich in rainbow trout reflects the summer blue sky and the rich green surrounding forests.

Hiding on the side of on hill is VALEA CU PESTI chalet.


During the Communist era, the villa was one of Ceausescu's private retreats. 
My father used to bring me in the summer time for trout fishing, great treat at the time, as we were the only ones there and the kitchen staff. 

These were "gifts" from some of his business associates in high ranking places.
Since the Revolution things have changed...thank God.

Today, the villa is a privately owned enterprise, great restaurant and comfortable room
s in a piece of heaven on Lake Vidraru.

One of the delicious ways the kitchen prepared our catch in the 1960's was



Quantities will depend on how many portions are made and how large are the trout

fresh trout, cleaned
olive oil

heavy cream
bread crumbs
salt and freshly ground pepper

Potato salad

small redskin potatoes
chicken or vegetable stock
red onion cut julienne
boiled eggs
kalamata pitted olives
apple cider vinegar
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh dill chopped
head of Romaine lettuce

  • season trout with salt, pepper and sweet paprika inside and out, set aside.
  • beat softened butter with heavy cream to create a "batter" like consistency.
  • place a good amount of bread crumbs on a large platter.
  • dip the trout in the butter-cream mixture and in bread crumbs. Repeat the process so the crust will be thick.
  • in a large saute pan add enough olive oil to cover the bottom, heat for few minutes and place the trout on one side cooking for 8 minutes, turn with spatula and cook for 5 minutes more, or until golden brown.
Serve hot with a bowl of heavy cream to drizzle if needed and accompanied by 


  • wash the baby redskin potatoes, boil in stock until the fork penetrates them easily. Set aside to cool, when ready cut in slices and place in a large bowl.
  • cut boiled eggs in julienne, add to the potatoes, the red onion, olives, dill salt and pepper to taste.
  • cut Romaine lettuce in julienne and add to bowl ingredients. 
  • In a small bowl beat 2 parts of olive oil with 1 part apple cider vinegar to make a vinaigrette, add to the salad mixture and toss gently.

There was always a bottle of FETEASCA ALBA wine chilled that was brought with the meal.