Russia is the largest country in the world and its capital is Moscow which is also the largest city in Europe. Its position on the map makes it an interesting country with strong influences from Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Its territory is 17.13 million km² and borders 16 countries including two maritime boundaries with the United States and Japan. The country is home to the longest river in the world (Volga), the coldest inhabited place on the planet (Oymyakon recorded a temperature of -67.7 ° C) and a rare desert with snow-capped mountains around it.
There are 146.2 million of people in the country and still has one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area. Temperatures in the country may vary in different areas; in Moscow can go from -11 °C up to 23 °C but much of the country has only two seasons, the summer and the winter with intense precipitations like snow.
Christianity is the official religion with a majority of Russian orthodoxy. Its language is Russian and the economy is supported by its enormous natural resources (oil and natural gas), arm industry and services. The primary sector of energy, mining and agriculture which stand out with crops of wheat, barley, sunflower seed, oats, potatoes and rye as they can thrive in the cold winters.
Russia has a wide variety of landforms, natural attractions, interesting architecture, intense climate and rich culture that made it the 16th country in the world with the most visitors in 2020. Moscow and Saint Petersburg are the more famous destinations in the country.
— RUSSIA CUISINE —
The origins of its gastronomy are related to its wealth of forests, valleys and rivers that provide berries, cereals, flour, vegetables and fish. Some of their recipes include salting, smoking, soaking, and fermenting products since in the past they needed to preserve food during cold seasons.
In previous years and still today, Russians used to eat what they grew and enjoy meat dishes on weekends or with celebrations such as birthdays. One of the main reasons is that being a country of Orthodox Christian religion, its religion involves numerous fasts and many “vegetarian” options since dairy, meat and other ingredients should be avoided during the special days of the year.
Its history in the world, religion, its climate and its proximity to many different countries has made Russia a famous transcontinental attraction for its impressive culture and food. However dishes can vary in the country as its extensive territory present many differences.
In Moscow, most of the restaurants and cafes offer a large selection of local food, food from slavic countries as well as international food. Around the famous Red Square I found a small local restaurant with a menu open to many possibilities which made me decide to have lunch with some sweets as I needed to warm up in the cold country.
Hot soups are one of the most popular and demanded lunch meals throughout the country. Borsh is one of this and consist of a beetroot soup with many ingredients; meat, sautéed vegetables such as carrots, onions, cabbage, potatoes or beans. It can take up to hours to prepare it and it is usually served with fresh sour cream and a special garlic bread called pampushka.
The flavor is completely original and different from the rest of the soups I have tried. A bittersweet taste was evident from the first sip, a smooth oily texture, strong flavor and warm temperature.
Vareniki is a Russian version of the famous dumplings and they are available in different combinations, either salty of sweet and they are served as a starter or as a dessert. The savory option is filled with meat, cheese or vegetarian ingredientes such as potatoes or mushrooms. The tasty dish was ordered with Yorsh, a beverage with a combination of beer and vodka.
Sweet treats in Russia… are part of a wide range of options in its cuisine. The selection I had was simple, homemade taste, fruity, light and the perfect combination between salty and sweet.
During my stay around the city I saw locals and tourists having a characteristic ice cream cone or the ice cream on the stick while chatting or walking on the cold day so I decided to try it without high expectations and for my surprise, this simple local ice cream brought back very good emotions and old memories from my childhood. The stick is the combination of vainilla ice cream and a crunchy chocolate cover .
Syrniki is a cheese pancake made of quark (cottage cheese), eggs and flour usually consumed at the breakfast time or in the afternoon and accompanied by sour cream, jam, honey or fresh berries. I had the syrniki with a sauce of fresh berries, its smooth texture and balanced flavor satisfied me very easily throughout the afternoon.
The veriniki as a dessert with the cherry filling was light but full of simple and delicious flavors. I ordered an extra of the famous and tasty condensed milk. The loganberry with herbs tea was the ideal complement for the meal. It is the mixture of ingredients of spices such as thyme and badyan with fruits (lingonberry), honey and the Ivan tea (Russian name for a herbal tea made from the leaves of Rosebay willowherb).
Having a small taste of some of the traditional dishes during Easter gave me the desire to return to Russia and visit more of its cities to taste all the rest of promising options this country has to offer. You can check @mmmbycata on IG: www.instagram.com/mmmbycata/