Sophia is from Germany. She’s very cheerful and active, and for the past 4 years she has been living and working in Moldova, in the educational sector. She loves it because it’s a small country, and you can always run into someone you know - “it’s better to be a big fish in a pond, than a small fish in the ocean” says Sophia. “I like it because it’s green, you can easily get out of the city and explore the countryside. If you know the right places, Moldova and Chișinău in particular can be a great and fun place to be.”
There is no foreign guest who hasn’t heard about Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei). Situated only 60 km northeast of Chișinău, it’s a perfect place to meet locals, taste national food, maybe even stay for a few nights at somebody’s house, for the authentic experience.
“I’m really excited because I’ve never tried milking a goat before” she laughs.We picked the Eco-Resort Butuceni, because it offers visitors a ‘real feel’ of life in the village.
1. Authentic “history museums”
“If you want to eat traditional Moldovan food made of organic, straight from the garden products – you’re at the right place. The houses are authentic – traditional rags, towels and napkins, you can even find old soviet photos inside. It’s like a little museum…
Moldovan houses are very small, but cozy. Almost all have a fireplace, called sobă. However,it’s not the typical fancy fireplace that we imagine – it’s a closed construction, you don’t see the fire itself – but you can sit or lie on it.It’s warm and perfect for cold fall evenings. “
2. Baking bread..
A lot of Moldovans, especially in the villages, like to make their own bread. “There’s nothing better than a house filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread, straight out of the oven!”
3. Organic food..
“Helping bake bread in an authentic oven is amazing, but it sure makes you hungry. I love the local cuisine, it’s all very delicious. Moldovans add a lot of fresh vegetables and herbs to their food, which makes it so enjoyable and tasty. I started with the chicken soup, called zeamă, then moved to plăcinte – amazing flat pies filled with curd cheese and dill, cabbage or potatoes. So, so good!”
“But no traditional Moldovan meal goes by without mămăligă- it’s made out of corn flower and usually served with meat stew, sour cream and salty national cheese, called brânză. This mix of flavors makes your stomach fall in love. And by the way, mămăliga is a great treat for vegetarians too. “
4. Milking a goat..
“Remember what I was excited about at the beginning of this article? Yes! I finally got to milk a goat and a cow, even collected chicken eggs. If you like animals and enjoy healthy eco products – living in the village is a delight, not to mention the pride you feel when everything you have and eat comes from your own hard work.”
5. Don’t just tasteit, make it!
“If you plan to take a souvenir of Moldova back home, don’ttake just a card or a magnet – take a cooking class. Learn how to make yourfavorite delicacies, and surprise your whole family and friends when you goback. The lady at the resort taught me how to make small sweet pastries, called cornișori, stuffed with rose petals and quince jam. Sounds exotic, right? You should have tasted the result –little pastries covered in sugar powder, just melting inside your mouth.”
6. Enjoy the silence of nature
Orheiul Vechi doesn’t offer you just a rich experience of Moldovan traditions and food, it also charms you with its landscapes and peaceful atmosphere. You can go exploring cave monasteries or just sit by the river’s bank and listen to the silence.
“I hope you’re already booking your tickets to Moldova. It’sa real hidden gem of Europe!”
More information about Moldova and upcoming festivals can be found here:www.moldovaholiday.travel