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Russia - Food and DrinkPage: 1/2
Russian cuisine derives its rich and varied character from the vast and multicultural expanse of Russia. Its foundations were laid by the peasant food of the rural population in an often harsh climate, with a combination of plentiful fish, poultry, game, mushrooms, berries, and honey. Crops of rye, wheat, barley, and millet provided the ingredients for a plethora of breads, pancakes, cereals, kvass, beer, and vodka. Flavourful soups and stews centred on seasonal or storable produce, fish, and meats. This wholly native food remained the staples for the vast majority of Russians well into the 20th century. Lying on the northern reaches of the ancient Silk Road, as well as Russia's close proximity to the Caucasus, Persia, and the Ottoman Empire has provided an inescapable Eastern character to its cooking methods (not so much in European Russia but distinguishable in the North Caucasus). Russia's renowned caviar is easily obtained, however prices can exceed the expenses of your entire trip. Dishes such as beef Stroganov and chicken kiev, from the pre-revolutionary era are available but mainly aimed at tourists as they lost their status and visibility during Soviet times. Russian specialities include:
- Pelmeni (meat-filled dumplings)
- Blini (crêpes)
- Black bread
- Borsch (red soup/beetroot soup)
- Piroshki (Meat or cabbage pie)
- Golubsti (Cabbage rolls)
- Ikra Baklazhanaya (aubergine caviar)
- Shi (cabbage soup)
- Vareniki (Ukrainian dumplings)
- Vinegret (beet and boiled vegetable salad)
- Olivier (potato salad)
- Shashlyk (various kebabs from the Caucasus republics of the former Soviet Union)
It is better not to drink the tap water in Russia and to avoid using ice in drinks, however bottled water and Coca Cola is available everywhere food is served.
Stylish cafes serving cappuccino, expresso, toasted sandwiches, rich cakes and pastries are popping up all over Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Some do double duty as wine bars, others are also internet cafes.
Unlike Europe, cafes in Russia (кафе) do not serve only drinks, but also a full range of meals (typically cooked in advance--unlike restaurants where part or whole cooking cycle is performed after you make an order).
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