What the Romanian athletes will eat at the Olympic Games in Paris: their menu, presented at the French Embassy in Bucharest

A part of the menu that will be served to the athletes in the Olympic Village at the Olympic Games in Paris was presented, on Tuesday, at the French Embassy in Bucharest, during an event to promote French gastronomy.

Bernadette Szocs (table tennis) will be in the Romanian delegation at the Olympic Games. PHOTO: Archive

A topic that I would like to address today concerns the 'Gout de France' operation, a campaign to promote French gastronomy, which we wanted to place this year under the banner of the Olympic Games. The host country of the Olympic Games, France is preparing to welcome the whole world to its table. For 90 days, Paris-2024 will have the mission of serving over 13 million meals in over 40 locations. From breakfast to dinner, from sandwiches to reception buffets, Paris-2024 will have to meet the needs of athletes, volunteers, spectators, media representatives, who will want to eat well. It will be the largest event catering operation in the world. For Paris-2024, it is a huge operational challenge. And for France it is the opportunity to show that food can be creative and sustainable and that gastronomy can help us face the major challenges related to the climate and the environment. France benefits from a rich and committed food ecosystem: farmers, chefs, artisans, catering specialists, nutritionists or associations have all been involved in achieving this goal. In total, 120 organizations and 200 athletes were involved. The result is a diet based more on plant foods, more local, more responsible, but just as delicious, which helps the food transition. A multitude of fresh products, from local producers, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions. 30% products are organic or in conversion“, declared the French ambassador in Bucharest, Nicolas Warnery.

Dishes inspired by the menus that will be served in the Olympic Village for the athletes were prepared by the head chef at the residence, Cristian Cîrnu, who stated that the athletes' menu was carefully chosen by a team of specialists.

Today I made a menu inspired by the dishes that will be in the Olympic Village this summer. They are prepared with a lot of color, fiber and everything an athlete needs to participate in the Olympic Games. The menu is designed by doctors and nutritionists, chefs, together with French athletes who also gave their consent. It is a very healthy, nutritious menu and at the same time brings the well-known flavor of France. We have Brie cheese, French baguette, everything will bring a nutritional balance necessary for athletes“, said chef Cristian Cîrnu.

Nutritionist Mihaela Bilic drew attention to the existing balance in French cuisine, although there are no restrictions for certain foods that are missing in other cuisines.

It is known that France has found these balances. There is also a French paradox, which allows the consumption of butter, bread or wine and yet they have the lowest obesity rate and the least cardiovascular problems. So it is clear that the French have found the secret of how to eat a little of everything, which has made French gastronomy an example for a balanced and diversified diet all over the globe. There are no prohibitions or wrong associations with the French“, said the doctor.

The President of the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee, Mihai Covaliu, recalled that during the time he was an athlete, he consumed quality food and that a glass of red wine, received with the consent of the doctors, was not missing from the menu.

All the time, in Paris, food, like drink, is at the level of art. As far as the Olympic Games are concerned, there we will surely find enough 'chefs' who will provide Romanian athletes with the best dishes and with the ratio of calories that must be consumed, taking into account that it is summer, and depending on each sports discipline. When I was an athlete, I primarily consumed quality food, also hydration is very important when we talk about performance sports. But also a glass of red wine at lunch or dinner, because we know it's beneficial. We had it on the menu with the approval of the doctor, the trainer, so that we could also take the intake of nutrients and calories from this product“, stated Covaliu.

Former fencer Ana-Maria Brânză stated that during her competitive activity she did not cut back on food, preferring to work harder every time to stay in shape.

I have already tasted the products and I can say that it will be an experience, for sure, especially since I understand that the products presented here are included in the menu in the Olympic Village. I hope to have the opportunity to visit the Olympic Village this time as well. I wasn't an athlete who kept all the rules in mind all the time, I had the opportunity to work with a nutritionist, who helped me, both in my sports life and extra, to work harder for that croissant, eclair and and so on. I've never had a problem with weight. Romanian athletes will surely miss the traditional dishes, but I don't think there is an athlete who eats sarmales before the competition, no matter where he is. But you should know that the best sarmals I ever ate were at the 2008 Olympic Games, at Casa României, where we were received immediately after the competition“, said Ana-Maria Brânza.

The 33rd edition of the Summer Olympic Games will take place in Paris between July 26 and August 11.

Romania has so far qualified 79 athletes for the Paris Olympics, in athletics, swimming, boxing, kayak-canoeing, rowing, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, water polo, table tennis, wrestling.