When you hear the word “Moldova” what comes to mind? While you may not be familiar with this incredible and exciting country, we highly recommend checking it out and adding it to your travel bucket list. A small country in the heart of Europe that is often overlooked, Moldova’s history can be followed all the way back to the 1350s where it was formerly known as “Bessarabia”, an important piece in the Romanian principality of Moldovia all the way up until 1812!
It wasn’t until 1991 that this small country was finally granted independence as the Republic of Moldova. Despite dealing with certain historical tragedies, it is now a gorgeous country with its government and citizens working hard to beautify it even more so. Moldova boasts hiking trails with breathtaking views, comforting food in charming cafes, and miles of gorgeous flower fields in the summertime. This leads us to the topic at hand; the national flowers of Moldova; the Basil and Dog Rose.
The History of Moldova and the National Flowers of Moldova: Basil & Dog Rose
Basil? Isn’t that a leaf you put in a caprice salad that most children pick off and hide away under their napkin? You’re not wrong, but in Moldova terms, the basil leaf was seen as a powerful tool. The scent that a basil leaf produced was believed to elicit different emotions and reactions depending on what country you were in.
For example, in the UK, it was thought to bring much delight and laughter from the fragrance. But for Moldova and a few neighboring countries, they believed a bit more matromoniously in it. It was thought that because of the alluring basil scent, it would cause someone to fall in love with the person who had given it to them, should they accept it. Perhaps that is why it is used in so many dishes today and maybe it led to the birth of the phrase “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!”
The dog rose flower dates all the way back to around 400 BC when Hippocrates was still walking around! Now, the name comes from the former belief that the use of it could cure a bite from a rabid dog. It has been used in medicinal ways throughout time. During World War 2 when vitamin C was scarce, people were encouraged to pick dog rose for its high levels of vitamin C.
This flower was also used as a replacement for this vitamin when fruit was scarce because it couldn’t be imported. This Dog Rose is also used to help other common ailments like the common cold, arthritis, and even the kidneys. In Moldova, the dog rose is a lovely flower used for these same medicinal purposes as well to make a lovely addition to any bouquet.
What Occasions are Perfect for Sending the Basil & Dog Rose?
In Moldova, there is no wrong or right time to give a gift. However, here’s a list of holidays that might make it easier for you to decide when to do so.
- New Year’s Day – January 1
- Orthodox Christmas – January 7
- Orthodox Christmas Holiday – January 8
- Matisor – March 1
- International Women’s Day – March 8
- Labour Day – May 1
- Orthodox Easter Day- May 2
- Orthodox Easter Monday – May 3
- Victory Day – May 9
- Memorial Easter – May 10
- International Children’s Day – June 1
- Independence Day – August 27
- National Language Day – August 31
- Chisinau City Day – October 14
- Cahul City Day – November 21
- Christmas Day – December 25
The majority of these holidays may seem familiar to you, but let’s go over a few unique to Moldova.
First up is Matisor. Matisor is not a public holiday but is prominently observed throughout Moldova and other parts of Romania. This day symbolizes the first day of spring and to celebrate it, Matisors are sold everywhere. A Matisor is a small trinket with white and red threads attached to it and tied in a bow. These are primarily worn by women to bring healing and strength for the year.
Next, there is International Women’s Day. A holiday that is slowly becoming more popular in North America and around the world. This day is to celebrate women and recognize their achievements and bring current issues to light. It is common to gift the women in your life with flowers so this is the perfect time to pull out those dog roses!
Independence Day is when Moldova was officially deemed independent in 1992. This day is celebrated with grand parades, live concerts, and glorious fireworks to end the day. Independence Day is a great day to give your loved ones in Moldova, Basil and Dog Rose.
National Language Day was created in 1990 to celebrate the state language of Moldova. This day is celebrated by laying flowers at the base of the monument Stefan cel Mare in Chisinau(the capital). If you visit Moldova during this time of year, you’ll be sure to see their national flower symbols strewn about in celebration and remembrance.
When giving gifts in Moldova, the customs surrounding them are simple. Gifts are usually presented in social situations and don’t have to be wrapped if you don’t want to! The most common and acceptable gifts are of course flowers, and gifts that can be used as home decor, such as a picture frame, decorative ensembles, and candles. However, save more personal gifts for when you know the person better, and stick to good old-fashioned wine.
Modern Day Uses for the National Flowers of Moldova – Basil & Dog Rose
Despite those interesting notions about being able to make someone fall in love with you just from the smell of basil, there are plenty of ways it is used today. Yes, food is a big part of it, but let’s take a look at the bigger picture of basil. Moldovans believe that it will protect them from harm and peril.
For years, basil has been used for medicinal purposes to help with all sorts of ailments including but not limited to: high cholesterol, anxiety, poor digestion and the common cold. An absolute powerhouse considering it’s a little leaf! But that is the beauty of European medicine. This is also heavily prevalent in Moldova.
Dog Rose, is a beautiful little pink flower with white to pink tip gradient petals encasing a delicate center. Much like basil, dog rose has other uses other than just smelling nice and looking pretty on a window sill.
Let’s start with the yummy side that Dog Rose has to offer. The Dog Rose is a multifaceted flower that can be used raw or cooked to make jams, syrups, and even wine for afternoon tea with toast. Often used in dishes for dinner time, this flower can be incorporated in hearty stews, pies, or even in salads. Nothing is wasted and even the leaves can be dried to make an aromatic tea and paired with heavier spices such as cardamom or cinnamon. You can also scrap the hours in the kitchen and plant it for a lovely, delicate flower bush that will attract gall wasps and certain bird species.
How to Make a Beautiful Basil Pesto
Tasty and healthy treat made from one of the national flowers of Moldova!
- 1 and a half cups of PACKED basil leaves. Really squish them in there.
- Half a cup of PACKED spinach. Even if you don’t like spinach, try it! But if you really want to avoid it, switch this out for more Basil.
- ½ cup of Parmesan Cheese
- Around a half of a cup of extra virgin olive oil, or your olive oil of preference. You may end up needing slightly more or slightly less depending on your consistency preferences.
- ⅓ cup of roasted pine nuts or walnuts.
- 4 medium cloves of garlic minced (if you really love garlic up it to 6, but measure it with your heart!)
- ¼ of a teaspoon salt (I measure with my heart, but this is a good starting point)
- ⅛ of a teaspoon of pepper (again measure with your heart)
- If you like things with a little kick try adding a jalapeno, or a ½ a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
- You’ll need a blender or a food processor. First you’re going to want to pulse your basil, spinach, and nuts together a few times. You’re looking for a rough cut look. If you don’t have time to toast your nuts, or don’t feel like it, that’s okay. Pesto is great without this step, the toasted nuts just add a more full bodied earthy flavor but the spinach helps with that as well. If you’re adding in jalapeno or red pepper flakes this is the step to do it.
- Here you’re going to want to add your garlic and parmesan cheese, and process a few more times. It should look a little smoother but still chunky. Make sure you work things off the side with a spoon.
- This is easier if you have a food processor or blender with a poor spout you can use. Assuming you do, turn the processor on low and start slowly adding olive oil. You’ll want to stop to regularly get everything off of the sides, and also check the consistency. You want to make sure you have something that isn’t too thick, but not too thin either. So don’t be alarmed if you end up needing a touch more oil. Remember you can always add more, but you can’t take any out. If you don’t have a poor spout, you can add olive oil a few spoonful’s at a time, and let it run for 10 – 15 seconds before you check it again and repeat.
- When you’ve got the consistency where you want it add the pepper and salt, and give it a quick spin. Adjust the salt and pepper until you’re happy with it.
From here the sky’s the limit! You can enjoy your pesto with a bowl of pasta, use it to top salad, add it to baked potatoes, or top toast. Pesto is insanely versatile and a great quick dish to use to impress guests.
While Moldova may not be the most popular of countries, we hope that this blog has really shined a lot on everything they have to offer. Even with a rough past, Moldova has bloomed just as beautifully as its National Flowers the Basil and the Dog Rose.
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Shannon Youngblood is a thirty-something blog writer who has an affinity for falling and an extreme love for dachshunds, Dr. Who, and musicals. She loves to write, regardless of the subject matter, and she wishes everyday could be Halloween! Although she was born and raised in the United States, her lifelong goal is to retire somewhere in Europe with her husband, her books, and a cup of hot coffee.