Monday, October 7, 2013

Wine Holiday Weekend in Chisinau: October 6, 2013

This last weekend was Moldova's annual wine holiday.  This is a really big wine festival with large and small wineries showing and in many cases, offering tastes of their products. If you're coming to Moldova, you must visit Chisinau during the first weekend of October. This festival is a wine-fueled street party that takes place in the Grand National Meeting Square and spills into Cathedral Park.

The scent of food was in the air.  We followed our noses and the smoke to stand in line for grilled quail.  The quail was succulent, but one quail each is more of an appetizer than a meal.





We wandered around the square enjoying the groups in national costume.


We tasted wines.  We couldn't always figure out if a winery was offering tasting or just selling bottles.  The smaller producers (Equinox, Mezalimpe, and Et Cetera) were very generous and did offer tastings. Bottles were sold at a discount; a benefit realized by us and most of those attending the festival. 

Dan and I enjoyed watching a Moldovan Folk Group perform and the crowd of mostly seniors spontaneously begin dancing to the old folk songs.  



For our second meal, we had the more substantial pork shashlik.  


Crafters and artists from all over Moldova were showing their beautiful work. I was tempted, but resisted.


We liked the very cool Moldovan lamb's wool hats, but Dan's head was either too big or too small for the hats.


And, there was real, authentic cotton candy.



We wandered around the winery booths again, and a group of people insisted on sharing their pitcher of wine with us.  And, that's how the weekend went.  People were very kind and welcoming. We met several Peace Corp workers taking advantage of the weekend's festivities. One generous soul invited us to his place for Thanksgiving. It was a day of dancing, drinking, eating barbecue, and meeting new people.



On Sunday, one of Dan's co-workers invited us to a Wine Master Class (actually a class to learn the basics of how to evaluate/taste wine) she was attending with her sister.  The class was in Romanian, but Mihaela interpreted the key points for us.

During the weekend we tore ourselves away from the wine festival to experience some Georgian culture.  We went to see the National Folk Group called Erisioni and had a delicious lunch at a Georgian restaurant named Tbilisi.  It was a very good weekend.

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