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Moldova Cuisine


Moldova's fertile soil (chernozem) produces plentiful grapes, fruits, vegetables, cereals, meat and milk products, all of which have found their uses in the national cuisine. The fertile black soil combined with the use of traditional agricultural methods permits growing a wide range of ecologically clean foods in Moldova.

Moldovan cuisine is similar to the cuisine of the other half of the historical Moldova, now part of Romania. It has had a considerable influence on the traditional food of other nationalities in this region, while drawing in the past centuries various elements from the Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Gagauz, Lithuanian, Russian, as well as Turkish and Greek cuisines. The use of cream, or light sources prepared with a little bit of flour is characteristic for most of the dishes in Moldova.


Perhaps the best known Moldovan dish is a well-known Romanian dish, mămăligă – a cornmeal mash or porridge. This is a staple bread-like food on the Moldovan table, served as an accompaniment to stews and meat dishes or garnished with cottage cheese, sour cream, cracklings, etc. Regional delicacies include brânză, a brined cheese, and ghiveci, a mutton stew. Local wines accompany most meals.

Traditional for the Moldovan cuisine are dishes combining diverse vegetables, such as tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, cabbage, beans, onion, garlic, leek, etc. Vegetables are used in salads and sauces, they are baked, steamed, pickled, salted, or marinated. In the eastern side of Moldova, cabbage pies is the most common dish, cabbage pies are prepared after a Slavic method of salting and souring.

Meat products hold a special place in the Moldovan cuisine, especially as the first course and appetisers. Chicken soup and meat ciorbă are very popular. Roast and grilled pork, beef meatballs, and steamed lamb are common. Meat and fish are often marinated and then grilled.

Traditional holiday dishes include cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat (known in Romania as sarma and in Turkey as dolma), jelly, noodles with chicken, etc. The holiday table is usually decorated with baked items, such as pastries, cakes, rolls, buns with a variety of fillings (cheese, fruit, vegetables, walnuts, etc.), known in Romania as cozonac, pască, poale-n brâu, etc.

In certain regions the cuisine of various minorities is predominant: in the East the Ukrainians eat borscht; in the South the Bulgarians serve the traditional mangea (sauce with chicken), while the Gagauz prepare shorpa, a highly seasoned mutton soup; in the Russian communities, pelmeni – meat-filled dumplings – are popular. Also popular are a variant of Ukrainian varenyky called colţunaşi filled with fresh white cheese (colţunaşi cu brînză), meat (pelmeni or colţunaşi cu carne) and cherries.


Non-alcoholic beverages include stewed-fruit compotes and fruit juices. Popular alcoholic beverages are divin (Moldovan brandy) and local wines.

European grape varieties are used in wine making: Sauvignon, Cabernet, Muscat, etc. Domestic Moldovan varieties include Fetească, Rara Neagră, Moldova, etc.

Sparkling wines have a special place in Moldovan cuisine. The country produces large quantities of classic white and pink sparkling wines, as well as red sparkling wines that were originally introduced in Moldova. The most famous sparkling wines are those made in Cricova winery. Known brands of Moldovan sparkling wines are Negru de Purcari, Moldova, Chişinău, Cricova, Muscat spumant, National, Nisporeni and others. They are made from a wide range of European grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Pinot menie, Sauvignon, Aligote, Traminer pink, Muscat blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir. The local variety Feteasca Albă, also used in sparkling wines, has been cultivated in Moldova since the times of ancient Dacia.




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