Cluj Christmas fair: through the mists of hot wine

Are you in the market for some home made chocolate? No sugar, no additives, no funny shit?

Or maybe you’re looking for bacon. Good, old, greasy bacon that will turn crispy and unhealthy in the pan as you fry it good?

And while you’re here, why not go for the sausages? Smoked in grandpa’s own way, plum and locust wood, just the right amount of spice and pepper in it?

Cluj – setting the exact Western Time in Romania 

I used to don’t like Cluj. There were some childhood memories, some good, but mostly bad, with which I connected, unfairly, this city. 

But then I grew up and I started coming here because of Untold Festival. I’ll not go on describing the atmosphere and the incredible piece of organisation this festival is and how it’s been putting Romania on the map for 4 years now (going on the 5th) in this article but I had to mention it for the sake of argument. Because of this festival, I’ve been reintroduced to the city, to the people and to the style of life here. That is a totally different world than what is going on in the Southern part of my own country, where the capital, Bucharest, lies and where everything seems to have gone down the shit drain. 

After that, I started coming here work related too. For me, that’s a clear sign that they’re not bullshiting us in the newspapers when they say that the city is growing economically too. The fact is that they’ve got an incredible mayor who used to be our prime minister back in 2008 – 2012. Since then, he’s gone back home, been elected mayor and changed the face of the city. 

Most probably the quality of the people around these parts helped a lot and making room for the “good taste Cluj” to come up shining was a collective effort not a one man show. Definitely this city is on a West European path while the area where I’m coming from is more likely to take a slip into “the dark side” and move towards the Russian influence.

Hot wine and below zero temperatures 

For some reason or the other, women and hot wine make a good couple if everything is surrounded by Christmas atmosphere, some carols and temperatures that don’t reach the melting point of water. You don’t get to see women drinking in the middle of the fucking central square everyday after all. Why they regard hot wine like it were juice I can’t understand. It’s even tougher than normal wine. I should know because after 2 glasses I couldn’t feel the cold anymore which would be a good thing if I weren’t dressed like for a ballroom experience, not a middle of the street one. The chilling wind wasn’t helping at all but once I passed the “no return point” on the second cup I couldn’t feel anything, anymore. I enjoyed, in big quantities I’ll admit, a whole damn amount of home made cookies that they had in 2 or 3 of the small houses decorating the place. 

The fact that I started with the dessert didn’t bother me to go on and have some pasta later on, after finishing the groceries I had planned and written down, for the hungry kid back home who I knew would much enjoy the sugar-free goodies. The fact is that this is not a big Christmas fair but for sure Cluj knew how to make it fancy. It looks very pleasant and you can see that by the amount of people moving around, having a cup of hot wine, laughing and generally taking a break from everything, in spite of the fact that it was a plain Monday night, 2 weeks prior to Christmas. I guess it’s easy to get lost in drinks to go over the cold when everything is set to help you and there is no crowd to make you feel uncomfy. Cluj is that kind of a city, not yet too overly crowded but interesting enough to make you wanna taste its flavour. 

As the hot wine moved out of my system the cold started biting more and more while the night was setting in more firmly too. So, I proceeded to the place I always visit for a quick snack when I’m Cluj, a small bistro that not only has great food on the go but also it roasts and brews a damn good coffee. That’s Olivo Caffe a very small place in the heart of the city which you’ll love if you’ll check out. 

I left the centre 2 hours later, after a ball of pasta and a great tiramisu, having the feeling of a carefree citizen in spite of the fact that in the morning I was supposed to attend a pretty demanding meeting. So somehow, this city gets to release your stress, damn it. 

How do they do it?

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