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Cooking story in Moldova

Cooking story in Moldova

We will cook almost each day and while the dish is being boiled, grilled or baked we will visit several sites in the neighborhood. Each time two different cooking techniques will be tried, in order to give a flavor of competition to the participants split in two teams. We will eat and enjoy dishes we have prepared, along with 2 typical wines from the region. These master classes will be held in local pensions, where you will meet farmers and enjoy chatting with them.

01 day – arrival in Chisinau
Arrival in Chisinau. After check-in, you’ll have a city tour about the capital of Moldova – Chisinau. It includes: visit to the Museum of Natural History and Ethnography, the Central Park and the Alley of Moldovan literature classics, the monument of Steven the Great and Saint, Great National Assembly Square, the Triumph Arch, the “Nativity” Cathedral, the Organ Hall, the Market of souvenirs, etc. Welcome dinner and introduction in the peculiarities of Moldovan cuisine.


02 day - Chisinau – Pocrovca: old Russian believers’ village - Soroca
Today we will drive to the north of the country, to meet the old Russian believers community being quite isolated, trying to keep their traditions alive. They came to the region about 200 years ago, settled down here and since then, they form a quite prosperous village. Here we will have lunch in a family, discuss about Old Russian recipes and taste several original dishes. For desert, we will get the highlight taste of the day - local homemade raspberry jam, unique in the world. Afternoon we continue to Soroca and before check in, we will pay a visit to one of the must see sights of Soroca: “The Gypsy Hill” that features mansions inspired by the Bolshoi theatre, St Peter's Basilica and the US Capitol building. We shall visit a Gypsy family, who will proudly share their culture and traditions with us. Of course we shall try a traditional Gypsy desert and their homemade “compot” (juice made of boiled fresh fruits). Free dinner and accommodation in Soroca.


03 day - Soroca – Chateau Vartely – Old Orhei.
After breakfast, you will visit the Soroca fortress, which is a unique monument of architecture, built in the Medieval Ages at the Dniester River bend as part of a huge Moldovan defensive system. Initially wooden, it was built of stone at the end of 15th century according to the “Golden Section” supreme law of harmony that made it unique among the examples of European military architecture. Next, we drive to Chateau Vartely, considered one of the best Moldovan wineries from the Center of our Republic. Here we will have a light lunch, a wine tasting that will also include their flag product – the ice wine.

In the village of Butuceni our hosts will teach us how to prepare the best known Moldovan dish – “sarmale”. The group will be split in 2 teams: one will make sour cabbage rolls filled with rice and meat. The second team will do the same, but rolls of grape leaves. After we prepare everything, the hostess will put them in the oven for 3 hours at least, meanwhile we will visit the cave monastery in the neighborhood. This Cave Monastery is "arguably Moldova's most fantastic sight". Here you’ll see an Orthodox cave monastery called “St. Maria Dormata” expanded and modified inside the cliffs by the monks over the centuries and preserved in a functional state nowadays. After touring about this fascinating complex, we go for dinner where we will enjoy local food, local plum brandy , local wines and obviously we will eat our “sarmale“. Accommodation in Butuceni Eco Resort.


04 day - Orhei - Palanca in Calarasi region - Chisinau
Another cooking lesson is ahead.  At "Casa Parinteasca" Craft Centre from Palanca village, you will learn about the Moldovan traditional costumes and ethnographic customs. Here you will learn how to bake bread in a wood-fired oven and a traditional forgotten desert – AlivancaAfter we prepare the two cakes we go around and visit the Honey Museum from Raciula, learn about the life of bees, taste different kinds of honey and other honey products. Later we visit several families who produce various liquors, one family who produces fantastic cheeses, and the third – producing different products made from the apples of their own orchard -red, yellow, sweet, aromatic, fizzy, fresh, baked or preserved, in cakes or tarts, juices or jams - we find here all kinds of apples delicacies. Coming back to ”Casa Parinteasca” Museum we will enjoy a very special lunch, trying also the bread and desert we have made. Traditional dishes will be served with the best local wine, while the organic herbal tea, accompanied by quince jam which will surprise you with its amazing taste. After lunch, we might visit 1-2 monasteries from the region, and continue to Chisinau, free dinner and accommodation.


05 day Chisinau – Castle Mimi - Purcari – Et Cetera winery

Today we drive to the south. On the way we stop and visit the very new renovated – Castle Mimi, which is currently listed among the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in the world of wine. The story of the castle begins in 1893 when Constantin Mimi, the last governor of Bessarabia, planted the first grape vines on the place that would become legend over the years. The area of Codru, where the winery is placed, has a unique microclimate and a very good terroir, as a result having intense and aromatic wines. Today the Castel Mimi winery produces classical wines like: Chardonnay, Pinot Gri, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, but also indigenous varieties as Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Neagra and Rara Neagra. Excursion, wine tasting and lunch in the castle.

Next cooking adventure - at Et Cetera winery, where we will learn how to cook the famous Moldavian “Placinte” - pies with cheese, potatoes and cabbage. Meanwhile the pies will bake in the oven, we shall visit the Purcari winery. Purcari is the oldest wine estate in Moldova, established in 1827. The winery has a long and proud history producing some of Moldova’s most iconic wines i.e. Negru de Purcari and Rosu de Purcari. Excursion, wine tasting and come back to Et Cetera. The vineyards of  ’Et Cetera‘ were planted in 2003 in the village of Crocmaz, with a unique micro-zone, ideal by its climatic condition for growing best vineyards. The winery was built in 2009 and now 50 ha of vineyards surround it, giving a picturesque view to the visitors. The owners of the winery are two brothers - Alexandru and Igor Luchianov, professionals and real amateurs of their work. Et Cetera is one of the best wineries in Moldova, if not the best one, as in 2016 they won second price at Decanter  World Wine Awards with their Chardonnay. Accommodation in Et Cetera and Purcari Chateau.


06 day - day trip in Odessa – same accommodation at Et Cetera winery.
Spend an unforgettable day discovering Odessa city from Ukraine. From Etcetera winery to Odessa are 70km, and the border is quite easy to be crossed by cars, so it will be a pitty not to do it. Upon arrival - Full Guided Sightseeing Odessa Tour. Odessa is acknowledged Ukrainian intersection point of diverse cultures, languages and trades. You will be able to witness masterpieces of architecture, such as famous Opera and Ballet theatre, designed by Viennese architects, Potemkin Stairs, Primorsky boulevard, the One-wall building. You will also enjoy the view of Sea Port Terminal, get acquainted with Odessa Port’s history, its present life and prospects from the upside, and see the Monument to Duke De Richelieu - the founder of Odessa, Catherine the Great empress-the founder of Odessa etc. Lunch and coming back to Moldova.


07 day – Et Cetera winery – Chisinau
On the way back to the capital let’s have a Cheese tasting at Popeasca farm. This is one of the first few registered cheese trademarks made organically in Moldova. The sheep run freely on the fields here, the cheese produced is either salted, or flavored with small cut bell peppers, herbs or spices to produce a special taste...  Around noon we will arrive in Chisinau, free time for lunch, and afternoon we will have the city tour. Special farewell dinner in a local wine bar specialized in promoting quality Moldovan wines produced by small producers.


08 day - departure home