While I've cooked lots of food in our Russian apartment, I haven't experimented as much with Russian products. Sure, the vegetables I get are from the region, and the milk and eggs are from the farm on the other side of town, but I've noticed lots of curious things at the grocery store. I decided to give a few things that caught my attention a try.
From the day we arrived, I couldn't wait to get my hands on some pelmeni. Pelmeni are Russian dumplings, traditionally filled with meat (think large ravioli). I've had them before. In fact, Tyler and I even made our own once, but there's something very convenient about having an entire grocery freezer dedicated to the different varieties. We've tried four or five different brands now, and have found what we love and what we don't.
Dipped in some "spicy" ketchup or mushroom sauce, and accompanied with a helping of pickled cabbage, you've got yourself a regular feast. Our freezer is permanently stocked for an easy and comforting meal after a long day.
Pickled cabbage is available in hoards here in Russia. I love this particular brand. We haven't been without a tub in our fridge since we arrived. It's crunchy, full of flavor, and wonderfully refreshing.
Virtually everyone eats meat here. I haven't met a vegetarian, and the notion of it seems completely foreign to people. "Oh you don't eat meat, here have some pork." I am not a huge red meat eater, but fortunately chicken is very popular and also good here. A chicken kielbasa graces the fridge of every true "Syktyvkarian." It's delicious accompanied with cucumber or sliced thinly onto some bread.
I love seaweed salad. It's healthy (high in sodium though) and for some reason, is in every store in the city. We don't live close to the ocean, but that doesn't stop it from being made by a slew of different companies. This one isn't bad, but the version I got at the farmer's market a few weeks back was definitely the best. I need to track that woman down again.
The other day I bought a jar of what I thought was soup but turned out to be stewed vegetables, too thick to have as a soup, but perfect as a side, heated up.
I opened the fridge recently to find this very suspicious jar filled with a yellowish liquid. Much to my relief it was a gift from one of Tyler's colleague, homemade berry juice. Just one teaspoon in your tea sweetens it slightly and supposedly helps with heart health.
Isn't fall the perfect time to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket with a book, a cuppa tea, and something sweet? Well, luckily for me, Russians do sweets, and they do them with flying colors. Let's take a peek into my organized goodie drawer, shall we?
Tyler had a meeting with a historian last week where he was fed a treat so good that he took a picture of the box and later scoured the cookie aisle at the store until he found them.
Let's have one more look for good measure.
Bubliki are everywhere. They are hard bread rings that people eat plain, dipped in jam, or even sour cream.
The stores are filled with candy, each kind resting in a box, waiting to be pawed through. I grabbed a handful from our drawer.
Ok, so I've discovered my favorite sweet and I saved it for last. The best of its kind are made just through those windows, and this place is never without customers.
Fresh pastries, both savory and sweet rest behind the counter, waiting to fulfill their lifelong dream of being taken home and enjoyed by a smiling carb-lover.
Although, sometimes you can only barely get past the exit before you dig into your bag to have a nibble.
The pastry that has captured my heart and tastebuds is topped with chocolate and dipped in coconut, hallow in the middle and filled with sweetened "sgushenka" (condensed milk).
I love trying new foods and I'm sure there is much taste testing yet to be done, so stay tuned.
Tyler and I are off to Moscow tomorrow. It's a short trip, but I can't wait! Definitely a post or two to follow.