Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dulce Moldova: The Unofficial Coffee Drink of Moldova

Dulce Moldova
Originally uploaded by Sir_Dydimus
I just returned from an incredible trip to Moldova, a country situated between Romania and the Ukraine. Moldova is traditionally known for its wine, which was very good, but this is not a wine blog.
The coffee culture of Moldova is interesting. On the one hand there are no shortages of coffeehouses. On the other there is an abundance of instant coffee. Over the years I have come to realize that many of the rituals and. To me it is the coffee equivalent of licking the bottom of an ashtray, but I digress. nuisances coffee enthusiast undertake have only a marginal effect on the taste of coffee and can forgive the average coffee drinker for not caring about them. Instant coffee is not one of those things. It truly makes me retch
Other than the instant coffee, Moldovans actually treat coffee with a great amount of respect. They love coffee and drink it often, but you will not find quick service coffee shop were people rush in and out. The coffee houses are places to meet, relax and enjoy coffee with friends. Of course it does it hurt that they all serve alcoholic beverages as well.

All the coffee houses I visited had a wait staff and menus at the table (I would like to note that as a former coffee shop owner, I have great respect for any coffee shop owner that has table service at their establishment since makes running a profitable shop very difficult.) On the other hand I actually saw Nescafe instant coffee on the coffee shop menu.
The Region was at one time occupied by the Ottomans so Turkish coffee is quite popular and done well. Espresso based drinks were a little more hit and miss, but overall very good. My one complaint would be that latte based drinks seemed to be made with skim milk as the default. Personally, I don’t feel a cappuccino can be made properly without whole milk.
One coffee house served a drink called the Dulce Moldova, or sweet Moldova. The waitress insisted I try it. It was made with drip coffee, hazelnut syrup, and some kind of brandy I think. It was topped with whip cream and some crushed nuts. It sounded alright on paper, but the flavors did not come together, and it gave me heart burn before I had swallowed any. On the other hand my girlfriend’s drink was coffee condensed milk and I can’t remember the third ingredient (sorry I’m a bad blogger.) It had strong citrus tones and was more deserving of the name Dulce Moldova
On my way back to the States, I flew through Moscow, I did drink coffee there but it was only in the airport and I would not want someone judging the coffee in the United States based one shot of espresso they had at the airport so I am not going to do that to another country. I’ll leave it at that.
Sadly I had the opportunity to go to Turkey but had to cut my trip short to return to work. My girlfriend has been sending me reports of all the incredible coffee I’m missing out, maybe next year.


  1. Now that you are back in the US, visit a Middle Eastern food or spice shop (hopefully there is one in your area), and get a vacuum packed brick of Najjar coffee. It is Brazilian coffee, exported to Lebabon, roasted and ground to powder (for Turkish coffee), and sold either pure (blue label on silver package) or mixd with cardamom (green label on silver package). You can't easily find it in Moldova (if it can be found there). But it is a great tasting coffee. Bob

  2. Thanks for the tip, sounds great.