Cooking story in Moldova

About Tour

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.

1 st Day

Arrival in Chisinau

Included highlights:

  • 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

Included meals:
  • Dinner
2 nd Day

Meet the old Russian believers

Included highlights:

  • 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.
  • Have lunch in an old believer 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.
  • Continue to Soroca
  • Visit 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.
  • Possibility to try a traditional Gypsy desert and their homemade “compot” (juice made of boiled fresh fruits).
  • Free dinner and accommodation in Soroca.

Included meals:
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
3 rd Day

A special cooking lesson

Included highlights:

  • Visit the Soroca fortress, 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 15thcentury according to the “Golden Section” supreme law of harmony that made it unique among the examples of European military architecture.
  • Drive to Chateau Vartely, considered one of the best Moldovan wineries from the Center of our Republic.
  • Have a light lunch at Chateau Vartely Winery, with wine tasting that will also include their flag product – the ice wine.
  • 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
  • Touring the Archeological Complex Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei)
  • 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.
  • 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.

Included meals:
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch with wine tasting
  • Dinner
4 th Day

Another cooking lesson

Included highlights:

  • Learn about the Moldovan traditional costumes and ethnographic customs at "Casa Parinteasca" Craft Centre from Palanca village.
  • Learn how to bake bread in a wood-fired oven and a traditional forgotten desert – Alivanca.
  • Visit the Honey Museum from Raciula, learn about the life of bees, taste different kinds of honey and other honey products.
  • 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.
  • Visit 1-2 monasteries from the region,
  • Continue to Chisinau,
  • Free dinner and accommodation.

Included meals:
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
5 th Day

Next cooking adventure

Included highlights:

  • 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.
  • Excursion, wine tasting and lunch in the castle.
  • Learn how to cook the famous Moldavian “Placinte” - pies with cheese, potatoes and cabbage at Et Cetera Winery.
  • 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 and wine tasting at Purcari Chateau
  • Come back to Et Cetera to enjoy our dinner. 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. 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.

Included meals:
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch with wine tasting
  • Dinner
6 th Day

Day trip in Odessa

Included highlights:

  • Full Guided Sightseeing Odessa Tour. Odessa is acknowledged Ukrainian intersection point of diverse cultures, languages and trades.
  • Witness masterpieces of architecture, such as famous
  • Opera and Ballet theatre, designed by Viennese architects,
  • Potemkin Stairs,
  • Primorsky boulevard,
  • the One-wall building.
  • Enjoy the view of Sea Port Terminal,
  • Get acquainted with Odessa Port’s history, its present life and prospects from the upside,
  • See the Monument to Duke De Richelieu - the founder of Odessa,
  • The Monument to Catherine the Great empress-the founder of Odessa etc. Lunch and coming back to Moldova.

Included meals:
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
7 th Day

7

Included highlights:

  • 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...
  • Arrive in Chisinau,
  • Free time for lunch,
  • City tour of Chisinau.
  • Special farewell dinner in a local wine bar specialized in promoting quality Moldovan wines produced by small producers.

Included meals:
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
8 th Day

Departure home

Included highlights:

Check out. Transfer to the airport.

Included meals:

Breakfast

What People Say

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Natalia is an excellent guide, full of interesting information about the places we went, recommended a very good hotel, a good van and driver. She is everything else you want/expect from a tour guide, and she was also a hard-working, intelligent and caring member of our team. Without her skills, flexibility and perseverance, our trip would not have been as successful as it was. She really cares about her clients, and has the willingness and ability to make whatever needs to happen, happen. She was great!

During my recent holiday to Moldova, I was lucky enough to have Miss Victoria Odobescu as a guide and driver on two occasions.  One day we went to Orheiul Vechi, and another to Soroca, the XV fort guarding the Dnistre river crossing.  Miss Odobescu speaks very good colloquial English, her range is wide and is a confident and safe driver.  Victoria, was exceptionally well-informed about the history, culture, and people of Moldova. In addition, she was very sensitive to my needs and wants. I highly recommend the services provided by Victoria Odobescu. I am sure she will have success in her career in Tourism. 

Have you ever wanted to go on a culture-wine-food tour? In California? France? Italy? Please, have some imagination! Be a little adventurous and go on one in Romania and Moldova. 

It was my good luck to participate in a tour organized by Ways Travel, during which i checked out the many wonders of Romania and Moldova. 

Our group on the bus was an international gang of nine – a Belgian, a German, a Norwegian, an Australian, a few Americans of interesting ethnic alloys and me, dual Dutch and American citizen. What can I say, it was an experience just sitting on a bus with these people and hear their war stories and get initiated into the workings of the behind-the-scenes travel industry. 

Leader of our tribe was the fabulous tour guide Victoria, who speaks four languages, English, German, Russian, Romanian, one of those people who makes a simple bilingual person such as myself feel humble and uneducated. 

The trip was a symphony of history, food, drink, music and dance. Dancing with the Gypsies no less. I tell you, it was fabulous, it was intoxicating. We got history – a dizzying whirl of wars and battles and bloody strife. Of conquests and annexations, of armies rampaging through the countryside, raping, pillaging and impaling. We heard colorful tales about Dacian tribes, the Roman Empire, the Red Horde, the Saxons, the Ottoman Empire, the communist era under Ceausescu. And let’s not forget to mention good old Count Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, who hailed from Transylvania. Really, we deserved every drop of hootch we got along the way to recover from all the tragedies we vicariously suffered through. 

In Romania we loved the beautiful towns of Sibiu and Sighisoara. In Sighisoara we missed seeing the house where Dracula was born because a movie was being filmed and they’d closed it off for visitors. Fortunately, we had a liqueur and brandy tasting to cheer us up. We hadn’t had lunch yet and our stomachs were empty, which helped raise the mood quickly. 

A highlight was our visit to the home of a Roma family in Transylvania and learning more about their culture and lifestyle. (You can read a story about this on my blog here.) Not all Gypsies are beggars living in the streets of large cities. It’s always a good thing to be disabused of your prejudices and preconceived notions. 

We stayed in excellent hotels and lodges, as well as in a humble hostel run by a monastery. We ate fancy restaurant food as well as simple village fare. We saw exquisite as well as cheery architecture, visited opulent cathedrals as well as the modest underground monastery chapel in Orhei Vechi, not far from Chisinau. The vino flowing across the miles was a charming mix of the good, the bad and the holy. The holy being the wine we tasted in a monastery, blessed by the priests. Unfortunately, the blessing did not transform it into nectar of the gods, but the dinner there was quite gourmet, all prepared from food grown by the monks without chemical assistance. 

We also visited Transnistria, which is a rather unique place, as most of you will already know. It is also home to the famous Kvint brandy factory and would you believe, we went there for a brandy dégustation – seven varieties of brandy. It was very informative, interesting and intoxicating. It was also lunch time, but fortunately there was food. We eventually struggled out of there, back on the bus, across the border that is not a border, and traveled down to the Purcari wineries in the south of Moldova where we were treated to . . . you guessed it . . . a wine tasting. Of ten types of wine. Not just any old village plonk, either. No, we got to sip the wine of kings, queens and tsars. Our livers got a workout that day. 

I’m going to stop here. There was more, much more, but I don’t want to give away everything, because what you should do, really, is check out Ways Travel’s website at www.ways.md .