5 Carpathian Recipes You Will Love

Nestled between Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia, and Poland is one of my favorite mountain ranges in the world – The Carpathians. This list of Carpathian recipes will bring you back to the ‘old country’ where hearty, filling dishes abound. The Carpathian mountain range is also a place I go quite often as I live just a couple hours away.

traditional carpathian recipes title card image

If you ever make the trip to Eastern Europe, the Carpathian mountains are definitely worth seeing. From the popular ski resort of Bukovel in Ukraine, the beautiful Tatras between Poland and Slovakia, and the charming capital of Transylvania Cluj-Napoca there is so much culture to explore. And a big part of culture is of course the food. These Carpathian recipes are dishes I’ve collected on my trips to the region, and some of my favorite things to recreate at home!

What To Know About Carpathian Cuisine

Carpathian cuisine is extremely popular because at its root it is comfort food. Another great thing about Carpathian recipes is that they embrace all of the surrounding cultures. For example spicy food is almost never found in Ukraine, except for the Carpathian region where it adopted the use of hot peppers from Hungary.

Dishes in the region are heavy and filling, because they needed to sustain people who work mountainous jobs like shepherding. This is also where you will find one of my favorite cheeses called bryndza. This is made from sheep’s milk curdled in a lamb’s stomach, simmered until it clumps, then hung out to dry in the sun for up to a week. After it is mixed with salt and sometimes butter to create the flavorful, tangy cheese popular in the region.

Carpathian Recipes

1. Banush

traditional ukrainian hutsul banush in a clay bowl topped with salty sheeps cheese and fried salo

Banush, sometimes spelt banosh, is one of the most popular Carpathian recipes from Ukraine. It is essentially corn grits cooked in sour cream and served with fried pork fat and salty sheep’s cheese. If we are talking about comfort food then hutsul banush is one of the heartiest.

2. Carpathian Mushroom Soup

classic ukrainian carpathian mushroom soup in a clay bowl with vyshyvanka cloth napkin

This hearty mushroom soup is often made from freshly foraged porcini mushrooms that are dried over an open flame. These days you can buy dry porcinis and rehydrate them for the soup, but if you are a fan of foraging then there’s nothing quite like finding your own food. Carpathian mushroom soup is so thick it might as well be a stew, with plenty of shrooms, root vegetables, and pasta to fill you up.

3. Village Duck

ukrainian village duck in a traditional milk fired clay bowl with a loaf of bread on a marble table

Village duck is an icon of the mountainous hunter-gatherer cuisine. Historically people who live in the mountains raised animals like sheep and ducks because they are well adapted to the landscape. This dish is another filling recipe with rich and fatty duck braised in root vegetables and stock. While this dish does take a few hours, rest assured it is worth it. Unsurprisingly this is also a popular camping recipe because it can all be made in one pot.

4. Veal Karpaty

veal karpaty with whipped potatoes

One of the rare beef dishes in traditional Carpathian cuisine, a veal karpaty is quick and easy. Thin slices of quickly fried veal smothered in a sauce based on sour cream and paprika also make this one of the more ‘spicy’ recipes in the region. It is also popular to add mushrooms and onions and serve atop mashed potatoes.

5. Beetroot Salad

Beetroot salad with bryndza cheese in a traditional Ukrainian clay bowl with an embroidered napkin in the back

This beetroot salad with bryndza cheese is something you will see at nearly every restaurant across the Carpathians. It is one of the most beloved salads by locals and for good reason. The earthy beets are delicious, and the salty cheese and marinated onions balance the salad nicely. When I think of an iconic Carpathian salad this is the first thing that pops in my mind.

See Also

Do You Have Your Own Carpathian Recipes?

If you have your own Carpathian recipes you think belong on this list, feel free to ‘Write For Us‘. If you are also a food blogger I am happy to credit you for the submission.

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