I was browsing through this year’s IA MANIA Festival photos and I already miss the aroma and the taste of this special dishes. As we say in Moldova : Plouă-n gură! (It’s raining in my mouth! = my mouth water) so I decided to share with you my top 5 MUST TRY DISHES at IA MANIA Festival.

  1. Sarmale from Dubăsari

Dubăsari district can be called the capital of sarmal! This year, women from Dubăsari cooked 13 different kinds of sarmale. Each housewife puts her creativity into creating an even more special and flavoursome dish than her neighbours in the village.

I’ve never come across other areas in the country where you can taste 13 kinds of dumplings at once: in raspberry leaf, beetroot, podbal, fresh or sour cabbage. With mozzarella, wrapped in onion leaves or pumpkin. With peas, rice, chives, mushrooms or nuts.

In the past these were made from beef, pork or mutton, together with rice, greens or vegetables and wrapped in cabbage leaves.

2. Prăjiței – cookies with powdered sugar

Interesting about these biscuits is that in different localities they have different names: prăjiței, băieței (boys), soldăței (soldiers)… I loved these biscuits as a child, and now I happily prepare them for my family.

3. Vărzari – fruit pie (with cherries, plums, apples, pumpkin)

Almost any fruit you like can be turned into a tasty pie, at least that’s what Moldovan housewives think, and they proved it over and over again at the IA MANIA Festival. You just have to choose the taste and you will surely be impressed to taste the vărzari.

4. Saralia

A special pie with cheese, butter and household yolks it was so fluffy that melted in your mouth. Saralia from Holercani village remain champions of the Dubăsari Pie.

5. Baba neagră

It is a traditional Moldovan dessert, which housewives from the north of Moldova have been preparing for years and which is considered the “queen” of the traditional Moldovan dishes. Even at the EUROPEAN POLITICAL COMMUNITY SUMMIT 2023 the officials present there tasted the Babă Neagră.

The secret to Baba Neagră is the long cooking time and homemade products. But what haven’t we done to welcome our guests well?

*Something to drink at IA MANIA Festival

After you’ve tasted all these delights listed above, you need to have some refreshing drinks. And if all the food was prepared by women, the men didn’t sit idle either! They prepared kegs of special drinks for IA MANIA. We tasted rose petal wine, rosehip liqueur and pollen liquor.

This year we started the tasting with rose petal wine – aromatic, sweet and cold. But the trophy was won by Molovata Nouă with a tart sweet liqueur made from berries.

What would you taste from IA MANIA Festival?

We look forward to welcoming you next year!

Foto credits Ina Butnaru Photography

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