Moldovan honey is all natural and tasty, and learning about how it is made makes for an interesting excursion. In Raciula village, on the grounds of Raciula Monastery, the Stegarescu family operates the Honey House, which is home to a small colony of bees that visitors can observe through glass beehives.
The proprietor, Constantin Stegarescu, is ready to guide visitors through the process of honey collection and processing and to explain the many uses for honey and honey by-products. It's also possible for visitors to taste different types of honey with walnuts and homemade wine; make a souvenir out of beeswax; and of course buy honey to take with you. For information, visit the website, www.casamierii.fermer.md. Tel: (+373) (0)67 121 862. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traditionally, making ceramic pottery was commonplace in Moldovan households to prepare and preserve traditional cuisine. However, over the years, this tradition was almost lost. Thankfully, artisans, such as Vasile Goncear, are helping to revive the traditions of Moldovan pottery making.
Today, Goncear is among the most famous and appreciated pottery masters in Moldova. His workshop, which is located in Hoginesti village in Calarasi, is open to tourists and students looking to learn the art of Moldovan pottery or to simply admire Goncear's best pieces. A visit to Mr. Goncear's workshop will provide you with a chance to admire his seemingly effortless ability to produce practically anything form a block of clay. For a truly unique, hands-on experience, you can attempt to create your own "masterpiece" with Mr. Goncear's help. Even if your masterpiece doesn't turn out quite the way you had hoped, you're likely to leave with a smile on your face since Mr. Goncear is also a renowned storyteller. In addition, each year on the third Sunday of July, Mr. Goncear organizes a large pottery fair in Hoginesti where masters from Moldova and neighboring countries come to exhibit their products and celebrate their craft.
For information or to make an appointment for a pottery class, please call (+373) (0)68581047.
Folk Music and Dancing
Moldovans appreciate music and dancing. Almost every celebration includes traditional music, played by entire orchestras or only a few musicians. There are literally hundreds of songs that follow the general tempos of traditional dances such as the hora and sirba.
The melodies are light and playful and easily move people to dance. The dances are typically performed in a circle with the dancers holding hands or linking arms while dancing in a counter clockwise direction.
Upon request, most rural pensions can easily organize performances by local musicians, which typically end with all guests dancing the hora. In additional, throughout the country there are traditional folklore dancing groups that are very enjoyable to watch. For instance, in Valeni village in Cahul, the famous Eurovision star "Boonika that beats the druma", leads a troupe of traditional singers and dancers. Visitors interested to visit Valeni and have a chance to meet this famous granny should call the Valeni Mayor office: (+373 293)73 236.
Visitors to Moldova won't find it difficult to experience traditional music and dance. There are regular events organized throughout the year that feature traditional melodies. On holidays, such as Language Day (August 27), Independence Day (August 31), the National Day of Wine or wine festival (first weekend in October), and Chisinau Day (October 14), Moldovan folkloric traditions abound. And for those lucky enough to be invited to a Moldova wedding or birthday party, chances are good that you'll leave still dancing the hora.
Grape Harvesting and Winemaking
Autumn is beautiful in Moldova; and when its fall, it's time to pick the grapes and make wine. Depending upon the weather, harvesting typically begins in late August and ends in early October. (The end of the harvest is celebrated during the Moldova wine festival. )
Vineyards are everywhere in Moldova. There are many small family winemakers, and also large commercial wineries. Tourists who would like to have the opportunity to harvest grapes by hand – all the grapes in Moldova are hand-picked – and help make wine on either a small or large scale.
Many rural pensions in central and southern Moldova permit tourists to work in the vineyards during the harvest, where they will have a more intimate wine making experience. All Moldovan family winemakers love to speak about and share their wines with guests.
There are also several wineries that provide opportunities for small and large groups of visitors to join in the harvest. Usually, the guests to do some work in the vineyard and then enjoy lunch outdoors where they get to enjoy the best wines from previous vintages.
One winery, Ampelos, even allow groups of people, for example a team from a company, to produce their own wine, which is stored at the winery until it is ready for bottling.
Below are wineries and pensions where visitors can participate in grape harvesting and winemaking.
- Ampelos winery, Crocmaz village, Stefan Voda, Moldova, GSM: (+373) (0)79 426 821, Email: email@example.com http://www.winemoldova.com/manufacturers/view/2?language=eng
- Chateau Vartely winery, Eliberării str., 170/B, Orhei, Moldova, Tel: (+373 22) 829 891, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.vartely.md
- Purcari winery, Purcari village, Stefan Voda, Moldova, Tel: (+373 22) 856 022 / 856 028, GSM: (+373) (0)69 643 785, Email: email@example.com, www.purcari.md
- Castravet Family Pension, Milestii Mici village, (+373) (0)67 266 161
Moldovan people are very proud of their traditional cuisine, which plays an important role in their daily lives. It is customary to prepare many types of food for important events, and there are special types of dishes and breads for specific events and dates.
Cozonac, a cake-like sweet bread, and pasca, bread partially stuffed with white cheese, are prepared only for Easter. On special occasions such as weddings or the birth of a child, large colaci, a ring-shaped bread, baked given to important guests. Almost with all occasions in Moldovan women bake placinte, stuffed with various fillings.
For tourists it can be interesting to not only taste different traditional dishes but to also participate in making them. Baking bread and traditional stuffed pastries (placinta) is a critical part of Moldova cuisine. Over the years, baking traditions have evolved so that now practically every village has its own recipe for traditional dishes.
For those interested, it is possible to learn how to make traditional Moldovan breads and placinta. The best places to do this are at one of the many rural pensions throughout Moldova. However, it is advisable to call ahead so that your host can make the necessary arrangements.
Traditional Easter Egg Painting
Red painted eggs are a symbol of Easter in Moldova and are never missing from the Easter table. This tradition is most characteristic for Moldova and Bucovina, in Romania. Dozens of women in Trebujeni, a village within Old Orhei, practice this craft today. The residents of Trebujeni work hard to properly welcome tourists who celebrate Easter in Old Orhei. Tourists can try themselves to paint the Easter eggs at several of the pensions in this area, upon request.
Among the pensions in Trebujeni village, Ms. Ludmila Buzila, of Agro Pensiunea Casa Verde, is known to be particularly skilled, and she leads classes in egg painting. For more information contact the pension directly. Tel: (+373 235) 56 099. GSM: (+373) (0)79 270 371 / (0)69 282 310 / (0)69 280 435. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.pensiuneorheivechi.com.
The National Ethnographic and Natural History Museum in Chisinau also organizes exhibitions and master classes for Easter egg painting each year. During the Easter season, all are welcome to participate in egg painting workshops led by egg painting masters skilled in traditional techniques. There is even a contest for the best painted egg from the public. For more details please contact the museum: Tel: (+373 22) 23.88.68 / 24 00 56. Web: www.muzeu.md.
Wood carving is a traditional skill found in Moldova, which you can experience during your visit. Wood carving can be learned in several locations in Moldova from local craftsmen.
If you don't have a chance to get out of Chisinau, there are also opportunities to try wood carving in the city. Each spring an exhibition is held in Chisinau for traditional handicrafts masters to showcase their work. In addition, traditional wood carver Nicola Teisanu delivers master classes at the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History in Chisinau. Please check with the museum to find out the exact dates of the master classes. Phone (+373 22) 23 88 68 / 24 00 56. Web: www.muzeu.md. Mr. Teisanu can also be contacted directly at GSM: (+373) (0)69 649 344.
Also within Chisinau, Dumitru Costandachi, another painter and sculptor, can show you his pieces or teach you wood carving. He created a wood and stone carving school in Chisinau called Mesterul Manole, where he teaches young people carving and sculpting techniques. Costandachi's school teaches students to carve different items, from handicrafts, to furniture, to columns and other items used in construction and home decoration. Costandachi is best known for his work as the main sculptor of Capriana Monastery and Cricova wine cellars. He can be reached by phone by calling (+373) (0)69 109 957.