Russian cuisine is one of the most colorful, festive, and well-prepared in the world. Looking at their dishes and meals, one can sense the hard work that they put into preparing and cooking them. No doubt, Russia’s food culture reflects their inherent love for food. They are a real set of “foodies” or “gastronomes”.
Russia’s food history traces back to its peasant folks in the rural, with key ingredients composed of fish, poultry, pork, caviar, honey, and berries. They use wheat, millet, rye, and barley for their bread, pies, cereals, pancakes, and even for their vodka and beer. They make use of ingredients or products that are in season.
Given the progress from the 16th to 18th centuries, the aristocrats have introduced a refined food culture by importing new foodstuff items such as smoked fish, smoked meat, green vegetables, salads, ice cream, chocolate, juice, and wine. Although by the 20th century, haute cuisine has decreased given the promotion of an equal society. Thus, a new cuisine began, a fusion of food cultures of the various Soviet member states. By the fall of the USSR in the 1990s, it had opened up new and refreshed culinary experiences by reviving the haute cuisine of the previous centuries, paving the way for the New Russian cuisine.
Russian cuisine uses to produce and cooking styles that are geographically or locally available to them. Local ingredients would typically be foodstuffs such as berries, fish, crabs, fruits, scallops, and game meat.
Russian cuisine would always include soups. They love soups whipped up and served in different styles: chilled, light, stewed, with noodles, cabbage-based, thick, or those of which broths are based on meat, fish, grain, or vegetables. Typically, Russian soups are made of cabbage, meat, basil, carrots, onions, garlic, pepper, bay leaf, dill, smetana, sauerkraut, or pickle water.
Russians also love salads. One of their salads has become popular even outside Russia. The famous Russian salad, also known as Olivier salad, is mixing diced boiled potatoes, pickles, hard-boiled eggs, peas, and whipped with mayonnaise. Their sel’edka pod shuboy salad has salted herring, shredded beef, egg, and vegetables. Their vinegret salad is a combination of sauerkraut, boiled beets, carrots, potatoes, pickles and dressed with olive or sunflower oil.
Porridge, or kasha, is also part of Russia’s staple cuisine. They use cereals that are available locally in their area, such as rice, barley, buckwheat, semolina, or oats. They cook these using milk, and would usually add other stuff to it such as sugar, jams, sugar, berries, jelly, canned meat, or fresh fruits during a meal. Russians eat porridge for breakfast or as a side dish.
Meat dishes are an integral part of Russia’s food culture. They cook meat by boiling a piece of it in a soup and then serving it as a main course. They bake meat parts such as liver or tripe in pots together with cereals. For fowls, whole or parts are baked in ovens. Modern Russian cuisine has made use of minced meat which was adopted from other cultures. Popular Russian meat dishes include kotlety, beef stroganoff, holders, shashlyk. Their meat dishes are typically prepared with meat cutlets, served with sauce, cooked pan-fried, grilled or jellied, and seasoned with spices such as pepper, garlic, and parsley.
Freshwater and saltwater fish are important to Russia’s food culture, such as carp, sturgeon, salmon, trout, and pike. These are prepared and preserved by pickling, salting, or smoking.
Russian cuisine has a wide variety of pastries and desserts. They boast of pastries that are stuffed with sauteed meat or vegetables, cooked by baking or frying. One of their popular pastries is the blini, which are similar to pancakes or crepes, which can also be filled with fruits or berries. Among their other desserts and pastries are syrniki (fried curd fritters), vatrushka (dough cake with cheese, fruit bits, or raisins), pashka (made with curd cheese and shaped like a pyramid), varnye (cooked berries or fruits similar to jam which can be used as a topping or sweetener), pastila (fruit confectionary usually served with tea), zefir (similar to marshmallows), and kissel (berry juice that is sweetened).
Most of Russia’s beverages are unique to its culture, such as kvass, mors, sbiten’, and the well-known vodka. Russia also makes beer and wine, as well as the non-alcoholic types such as kompot (boiled fruit with sweetened water), uzvar (boiling dried fruit in sweetened water), kisel (viscous drink concocted of potato starch and cornstarch), kvass (brewed using fermented bread and flavor additives), sbiten (once most popular drink by mixing honey, fruit juices and water, which was later on replaced by coffee and tea).
Tea is currently the most well-loved drink and is one of the largest tea consumers (mostly of black and green tea). A Russian-type tea, called the Russian Caravan, is composed of oolong, souchong, and Keemun, and is described as full-bodied and sweet, and smoky. In the olden times, Russian got its tea from China; presently, it imports from Sri Lanka and India, mainly favoring the Darjeeling kind.
Immerse yourself into Russia’s exquisite food culture by visiting Tzerevna and try our delicious cuisine and transport your mind to the beautiful country of Russia.