Moldova

Moldova is a landlocked nation located in eastern Europe, between Ukraine and Romania, although it is only a stone’s throw from the Black Sea. Most of Moldova was part of Romania before World War II, and two-thirds of Moldovans speak Romanian. It gained independence in 1991.

Moldova has a very vibrant wine industry dating back many many years. 67 Million bottles are exported every year. Vineyards planted in villages around the houses used to make home-made wine, or “vin de casa”. Many families have their own recipes and strands of grapes that have been passed down through the generations. Since 2013 Russia has imposed a ban on Moldovan wine being sold in the country, ever since Moldova signed a draft treaty with the European Union. This has damaged the wine industry of Moldova significantly.

According to Trip Advisor the top 3 things to do in Moldova are: 1. Stefan cel Mare Park in Central Chişinău (the capital). Formerly known as Pushkin Park, it is the oldest park in Moldova and spans about 7 hectares. – Victory Memorial and Eternal Flame is the national memorial commemorating the nameless Moldovan soldiers who fell during WWII. – Milestii Mici winery. Its underground wine city in limestone stretches for 250 km of which 120 km are currently in use. Milestii Mici cellar complex is recognized to be the largest in the world.

Recipes that I came across during my research include; Ciorba (sour soup) , Mititei (minced meat), Mamaliga (cornmeal mash) , Sarmale (stuffed cabbage rolls), Colțunași (dumplings). I opted to cook the popular dish Zeama (chicken noodle soup). It had a subtle flavour and felt like a healthy bowl of goodness! According to my husband a bit of chilli would’ve given it a nice zing!

Rating: 7/10

Serves: 2 hungry people
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1.5 hours + 30 mins standing time

4 chicken thighs on the bone
800ml water
salt & black pepper
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 big fresh tomato, chopped
100g egg noodles (I used medium but fine would be better)
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tbsp finely chopped medium celery stalk (reserve celery leaves, if any)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill weed
3 fresh thyme sprigs

Saute the onion and carrots until soft in a deep stock pot. Add the chicken and water then bring to a boil.
Turn heat down to medium-low heat and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Skim any froth.
Add a teaspoon of salt, black pepper, tomato and celery and cook for 5 minutes.
(The recipe didn’t say to do this, but I’m not a fan of chicken on the bone in a bowl of noodle soup so at this point I removed the chicken to a plate, removed the skin & bones, cut it up and then placed it back into the pot)
Add the egg noodles and lemon juice.
Continue cooking on medium-low for about 5 more minutes.
Add the fresh herbs (including celery leaves, if any).
Cover, remove from heat. Let stand for at least 30 minutes to let flavors blend.

 

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