Food and Drink in Karolia
Karolian food can be divided into three main cuisines; that of the Taamras mountains, that of the southern coast and that of Kyorimaa. The latter is the one (often mistakenly) thought of as being 'typical' Karolian food.
Mari is a style of cooking found in most areas of Karolia. It is essentially any dish which contains a sauce, but most typically one which has been strongly flavoured either with spices or with aromatic herbs. The practice originated in the sixteenth-seventeenth century when traders brought back spices from overseas, including chilli, coriander, ginger, citrus fruits and paprika. These quickly became fashionable amongst the rich who liked to show off their wealth and taste (in more ways than one) through serving the latest and costliest spices in their food. Later, less rich Karolians started to be able to obtain spices, but in order to make them go further, they were mixed with yoghurt, curds or pottage and served with simple vegetables or offal to improve the flavour. The word 'mari' is thought to originate from the Darcodian and Castellanese word for the sea, because this is where the goods came from. An apocryphal story is that this was the exclamation a Karolian nobleman (in some versions a king, general or rich trader) cried out when he tasted the hot chilli for the first time. Another myth is that it was named after a princess called Mari who invented the concept.
Some popular mari-style dishes include:
- Tamarindiiai - Meat dumplings with chilli, paprika and citrus fruit juices in yogurt
- Liilkapsamari - Parboiled and sautéed cauliflowers with a whey cheese, paprika and herb sauce, sometimes with tomato as well
- Suudtmari - Sautéed vegetables with coriander and peppers, also cumin, ginger and other spices
- Siimuniskaste - A sauce of cream and tomato with lime, and various herbs and mild spices. Can be served with either meat or vegetables.
Karolians seem to have a special reverence and appetite for mushrooms (seened). Endemic to the country, they are eaten in almost every conceivable way, including as dessert mixed with strong chocolate and cream, and making their way into a myriad of sauces, pastes, as stuffing for meats - the list is endless. Most prized of all is a pungent truffle known as the nennu (simply 'nose' which gives you an idea of its potency) which must be allowed to rot for exactly the right length of time at the correct temperature and humidity once harvested to create the correct flavour - which is metallic and slightly bitter - and of course smell - which is very difficult to describe but which is not easily forgotten. The most expensive nennu ever sold went to a top Santjana restaurant for slightly under Kr4000 (around USD800) at 1996 prices.
Kyori cooking is, like many things, an expression of the culture of the region.
- Meat pancakes with rich tomato or beetroot sauce
Most Karolians would readily admit that the nation has a rather sweet tooth. There are seemingly as many types of cake as there are towns in the country to name them after, not to mention pancakes, fruit puddings etc.
Karolia is known for its wine but is actually more of a beer-drinking nation. Spirits exist but are not that high on the preferred drinks list.
The 'tea house' is a uniquely Karolian institution, serving even in the modern day as a social hub and in small villages still the centre of the community. The most well-known brand is Viika, who also have opened branches abroad. Karolians enjoy flavoured teas as much as the black-leaf variety, and the 'tea mania' of the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries was a big driver of Karolian colonialism as merchants raced to bring back exotic varieties.
The warm plains of Kyor produce very good wine for the latitude. The reds are the most celebrated, and rightly so, but the whites should not be discounted either.