Moldova is commonly known for its splendid wineries and wine feasts. However, we also have a cuisine that will never leave you indifferent. Our national cuisine is quite diverse and wealthy due to the fact that Moldova is situated in the region that is rich with natural resources such as fruits, vegetables, sheep and poultry. People who visit Moldova can be sure - Moldavian people won't let them be hungry. In spite of the fact that Moldavian cuisine has been influenced by Greek, Turkish, Balkan, Western European, Ukrainian and Russian, as well as Jewish and German cuisines, it is very appreciated for its peculiarities. Let me introduce you the most common and original Moldavian dishes that you should taste during your exploration.
In Moldova, we eat both borsh and solyanka, not forgetting about the first courses of other countries, such as Vietnamese "Fo" soup with beef, Thai "Tom Kha" soup with seafood and Asian soups as well. Fortunately, Moldova has its own "branded" first courses. The most popular is "Zama" or "Zeama" - light chicken soup with homemade noodles and herbs. The peculiarity of Zama is in its salty taste which appears because of the bran kvass. Some housewives replace kvass with the lemon juice because Zama should be sour!
The second most popular soup is "Chorba", whose composition is unusual too. This dish, as Zama soup, should be soar. That's why it is prepared on the basis of broth from plucks with the addition of kvass or pickle. Chorba consists of vegetables - peppers, beans, cabbage, or rice instead of potatoes, and the plucks, but they can be replaced by beef.
If we talk about the Moldavian pastries, we should start with the "placinta". In general, all the names of our national dishes sound very unusual and a bit funny. Placinta - is a cake or pizza of various shapes and diverse fillings inside. The thing that differs placinta from pizza is that the filling is inside of the pastry. For example, we made placinta with cheese, cottage cheese, cabbage, potatoes, meat, fruit (cherries/apples) and even with pumpkin!
The analogue of placinta but only from puff pastry is vertuta. By the shape, it's quite similar to the tube that is put together as a snail. The fillings are almost the same as in Moldavian placinta, but the unusual feeling can be with fried onions or even with the pastry inside!
Of course, there are also a lot of desserts that Moldavian cuisine can be proud of. The most original of them are "Guguta hat" cake and traditional shortcake cookies with jam stuffing. Guguta hat is a cake made of the pancakes slides that are filled with cherries and sour cream. Technically, it looks like a hat because it is covered with the rubbed dark chocolate. In Moldavian folklore, there was a little boy named Guguta who is similar to the Russian Vovochka, for example. He was very naughty and smart, bringing a lot of mess to his friends and family. Guguta wore sheep hat of black color, and that's why the cake has almost "black" top.
In addition, don't pass by the traditional shortcake cookies with jam stuffing. It's a kind of biscuits that look like little croissants. Shortcake cookies are made of pastry, and we usually fill them with jam. It could be anything - starting from cherry jam and ending with the apricot one. In the end, before serving, we sprinkle them with sugar powder. It could easily be served with a cup of tea or coffee anytime - in the morning before your duties start and in the evening to end up the day in a "tasty" way.
Big diversity of the national Moldavian dishes that I mentioned in this story, you can easily find in the "La Placinte" restaurant in Chisinau, on Stefan cel Mare street, 182. Especially you should try vertuta with pumpkin and placinta with cottage cheese, not forgetting about the "Guguta hat" dessert.
When you only think about going to Moldova, take into consideration that Moldavian cuisine is a "must see", "must taste" and "must share" thing while visiting our country. Being influenced by many other national cuisines, such as Russian or Ukrainian, it has some similar dishes, of course. However, we, residents of Moldova, together with the guests of our country, love this cuisine for its peculiarities. There are lots of other dishes, like mamaliga, cabbage rolls or “golubti” and even sweet crisps with powder! Anyway, I suggest you plan your gastronomic tour including Moldova in the list of the most interesting and original cuisines in the whole of Europe.
Cover picture © credits to iStock/niromaks
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