Souvenirs from Moldova
Moldovan souvenirs are a great way to commemorate an Eastern European vacation, with traditional handicrafts and charming water globes, key chains and refrigerator magnets. One distinctively designed craft is ceramics, which uses a series of embossed dots and lines for decoration. Unique motifs can also be found in the embroidery, stitched unto blouses, household linens and curtains. Farm animals, butterflies and rivers are common decorations for these items, and for carpets, although those are most commonly found in zigzag patterns. Woodworking is a traditionally masculine field, as expertly carved beams are transformed into tables, chairs and door frames. Smaller items, such as wooden chests and jewelry boxes, are easier to transport, but still provide a taste of the artistry involved. Straw knitting is a form of weaving that creates unique items, but if you prefer woolen items, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to cozily knit sweaters, gloves, vests and scarves.
Moldova's cuisine benefits from the abundance of fresh produce that grows in the rich black soil, and from influences from the surrounding countries. A cornmeal dish, similar to polenta or oatmeal, called mamaliga is served with stews or as a simple meal on its own. Stuffed cabbage rolls, roast pork, meat balls, lamb and fish are common main dishes, while vegetables are prepared in a variety of ways to accent the meat. Regional specialties reflect the ethnic makeup of the area, with borscht, mangea, shorpa, pelmeni and varenyky found on different tables, dependent on location. Beverages that traditionally accompany the meals include fruit juices, beer and wine. The fertile soil has given Moldova many grape orchards that produce a large and diverse assortment of wines, such as Muscat, Feteasca, Raraneagra, Cabernet, and Sauvignon. Sparkling wines are especially dear to Moldovans, who enjoy such vintages as Negru de Purcari, Chisinau, Nisporeni and Cricova.