Friday, March 15, 2013

Austrian Gypsy International Dinner

This dinner focused on Austria, particularly the gypsy Roma/Sinti culture. In honor of the extreme randomness of Roma cuisine, each table had pots of stew and cabbage rolls, as well as a great deal of bread and dark coffee and intensely steeped tea. The dinner raised over 100 pounds of food!

The Lexington Co-op donated 18 loaves of bread to this International Dinner! The next time you are shopping there, tell them thank you for their generosity.

The notepads pictured to the right with the stunningly beautiful tarot cards were some of the evening's door prizes. These were created by Onyx, sold through Buffalo's best local curiosity shop, Strange Brew.

Cabbage rolls, or sarmi, are a popular Romani meal; they are a common dish in many Eastern European countries. These cabbage leaves were stuffed with a mixture of local organic and sustainably raised ground beef from Stand Fast Farms

rice and hot green pepper such as jalapeno, as well as sweet peppers. It's the hot pepper that makes the dish typically Romani. The mixture is then seasoned with black pepper and salt, and cooked in tomato sauce. I made 75 sarmi for the dinner!

The tables were set family style and loaded with different breads that the Lexington co-op donated.

The rabbit stew was made with a barley flour brown butter roux, roasted hazelnuts, mushrooms, pearl onions, juniper berries, marjoram, thyme, and pine needle tips and baked under a pastry shell. Painted Meadow Farms from Franklinville gave rabbits at wholesale cost as a gift for the specialty stew.

White Cow Dairy donated a great deal of Quark cheese for the event! It was used in the pirogo and set on the tables to be smeared on the bread. The desert was pirogo, or noodle pudding, is a typical Romani dessert that is quite similar to the Eastern European kugel, a pudding baked with noodles, cream cheese and sometimes fruit. This pirogo was made with flat noodles, cream cheese, currants and raisins, layered and dotted with butter, then baked.

There was a very strong black coffee with plenty of sugar and Romani tea, or Rromano Cajo, which is very similar to Russian tea. It was served with homemade peaches preserves.

Moshe Shulman of Buffalo Tango Orkestra came to play a short series of Gypsy Jazz pieces on the violin. He is the founder of many groups such as "Akhva" and "Buffalo Tango Orkestra. He holds a PhD in composition from Buffalo University. Besides tango he is an expert in klezmer and Gypsy music. Moshe plays bandoneon, violin, viola and accordion.

Links to interesting information:
International Romani Art Festival
Minority Rights - Austria Roma Gypsy
Austria Gypsies
Chow Hound
Roma Cuisine
Gypsy Town


  1. What a fun-filled, entertaining and educational night. I truly enjoyed my experiences and look forward to journeying with you again to the next part of the world.
    Thank you for all you did!

  2. This was a wonderful dinner! We really enjoyed it a lot and the food was delicious!