On Thursday , HRH The Prince of Wales has met small farmers and producers of artisan food from across Romania at the headquarters of his charitable foundation in Viscri, Brasov County.
The event in Viscri marked the end of a major survey, launched last year by The Prince of Wales’s Foundation Romania in partnership with Slow Food and Platforma Romania 100, to map naturally-produced food across the country. Representatives of the charity have met over 200 farmers and producers from Transylvania, the Danube Delta, Bukovina, the Maramures and the Banat, and identified around 70 high quality products produced in harmony with nature, including cheeses, honey, fish products, cold pressed oils and organic drinks. In addition, two breeds of pig renowned for the quality of their meat and fat – Mangalita and Bazna – have been rediscovered.
Sibiu has been designated European Region of Gastronomy for 2019, and The Prince of Wales’s Foundation Romania is working closely with the county’s officials to determine the feasibility of bringing some of the produce identified through the survey to market.
The Prince of Wales has met around 30 farmers and producers, as well as the President of the Sibiu County Council and the leaders of charities which support rural development. He has also met Mr Ivan Patzaichin, the former Olympic Champion at canoeing, who set up a charity called Mila 23 to support heritage, gastronomy and tourism in the Danube Delta.
The Prince tasted the products on display, including palinka, pork sausages, homemade bread, cheese, carp pastrami. As he stepped in the barn on the house grounds, Prince Charles was welcomed with café-concert music played by the Intermezzo quartet of Sibiu.
After visiting a newly refurbished room and the room he uses as his own rustic overnight retreat, His Royal Highness went on to meet the small producers and farmers.
At the stand with pork products made with meat of the Mangalitsa and Bazna breeds, the Prince said he was glad the two breeds were discovered.
He tasted the sausages, inquired about the spices added to the mix and about the manufacturing process, asking also about the roast bacon nuggets spread on display.
“So that’s good cholesterol”, he remarked laughingly.
He also took a bite of the crustless homemade bread, finding it’s special and praising its freshness.
At the vegetable oils stand, the Price inquired about the way the small business had started and how the producers manage to market their products.
It takes time [to make it to good online sales], he remarked, telling the producer that he obviously is very busy at retirement, Agerpres mentions.
The Prince also had a laid back conversation with Ivan Patzaichin, who told him that on September 8 six boats representing the Romanian provinces will cross the Thames in tribute to Romania’s Centennial.
“This autumn, in September we will be on the Thames”, Patzaichin told the Prince, who wished everyone success in this endeavor, assuring them he will think of them.
Prince Charles also wanted to know if increasingly more tourists are coming to the Danube Delta.
Yes, but the problem is that higher tourist numbers do not necessarily mean good and sustainable methods. The goal is to find the balance between tourists and conservation, remarked someone at the fish stand.
His Royal Highness recalled having recently read a book written between 1920 and 1930 by an Englishman who had visited Romania and who shared his enjoyment at finding here the most delicious food.
Prince Charles was also curious to know whether former Olympic champion Ivan Patzaichin is still training, asking whether he works out all the time, if his diet consists mainly of fish and if he has problems with his back.
Patzaichin admitted having back issues sometimes, but said that he has a good massage therapist.
The carp pastrami on display at Ivan Patzaichin’s stand caught the eye of the high British guest.
“Just try it! Courage!”, Patzaichin invited him.
The former Olympic champion offered the Prince an album of his native village Mila 23. It’s a thank-you for what you are doing for Romania. These are true stories rendered as comics, Patzaichin said.
During the visit the Prince wore a tiny carnation on the lapel of his coat. At the end of the visit he also engaged in conversation with a group of German tourists.
He said his German wasn’t that good, but we understood him very well. He told us how beautiful the local scenery, how he loves it and that he feels extraordinarily. He is very jolly, open, not at all aloof, one of the tourists related.
The array of products on display on the occasion of Prince Charles’s visit were: blackberry sauce, cold pressed oils, sausages, pastrami, palinka, honey, sourdough bread decorated with turmeric and paprika, dough cake, fish products, cornel berry, elderberry and rhubarb jam, rose petal jelly, compotes, cheese and fruit juices.
Executive Director of The Prince of Wales’s Foundation Aura Woodward said the purpose of Prince Charles’s meeting with the small producers and farmers was to highlight the potential of Romanian agriculture.
“In the past year The Prince of Wales’s Foundation has conducted a survey in five historical regions of the country to identify healthy foods and products. They come from Transylvania, Bucovina, the Danube Delta, Maramures and Banat. (…) The purpose of the meeting is to highlight the potential of Romanian agriculture. There are 9 million living in Romania’s rural areas, many of them in poverty or on the brink of poverty, and through the foundation we are trying to find programs to help them develop small businesses, create jobs, and of course the farmers are an important segment,” Woodward said, according to Agerpres.
Since its establishment three years ago, The Prince of Wales’s Foundation Romania has launched major programmes in heritage preservation, farming and support for ex-military personnel. It is based in a restored farmer’s house in Viscri dating from the 1700s, which also acts as its training centre for rural communities, reads a press release issued by the British Embassy in Romania.