Russian Food Tour

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.

Fruit and vegetable selection at the nearby store.

Fruit and vegetable selection at the nearby store.

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. 

My favorite brand, and the cool packaging doesn't hurt either.

My favorite brand, and the cool packaging doesn't hurt either.

Siberian pelmeni uses more spices and therefore has a more unique taste and flavor.

Siberian pelmeni uses more spices and therefore has a more unique taste and flavor.

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. 

Just a small part of the sausage section.

Just a small part of the sausage section.

Cheese, chicken sausage, and spicy mustard.

Cheese, chicken sausage, and spicy mustard.

Some dill and parsley cream cheese would be perfection on a cracker! You're coming home with me, my love.

Some dill and parsley cream cheese would be perfection on a cracker! You're coming home with me, my love.

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. 

Seaweed salad

Seaweed salad

Carrots marinated in garlic.

Carrots marinated in garlic.

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.

Stewed beets.

Stewed beets.

Jarred vegetables are hot ticket items in Russia for obvious reasons.

Jarred vegetables are hot ticket items in Russia for obvious reasons.

A "local" treat.

A "local" treat.

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?

My favorite Russian milk chocolate.

My favorite Russian milk chocolate.

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.

Delicious tea cookies. As you can see, there aren't many left.

Delicious tea cookies. As you can see, there aren't many left.

They resemble shortbread cookies.

They resemble shortbread cookies.

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.

So many varieties of bubliki! How can anyone choose?

So many varieties of bubliki! How can anyone choose?

The stores are filled with candy, each kind resting in a box, waiting to be pawed through. I grabbed a handful from our drawer.

A typical candy aisle at the store, filled with some that are familiar and many that are not.

A typical candy aisle at the store, filled with some that are familiar and many that are not.

Tyler and I actually purchased the "bear" chocolates, and the rest were given to us...

Tyler and I actually purchased the "bear" chocolates, and the rest were given to us...

Left: Chocolate with some sort of filling that surrounds another gob of chocolate. Descriptive, I know. Right: Caramel that crumbles...neither of these are all that great.

Left: Chocolate with some sort of filling that surrounds another gob of chocolate. Descriptive, I know.

Right: Caramel that crumbles...neither of these are all that great.

Left: Soft exterior, chewy inside lemon candy that tastes like a cough drop... Right: Tyler's favorite chocolate. It has dark chocolate on the outside and is filled with a layer of wafer, and stuffed with more soft chocolate. Dreamy!

Left: Soft exterior, chewy inside lemon candy that tastes like a cough drop...

Right: Tyler's favorite chocolate. It has dark chocolate on the outside and is filled with a layer of wafer, and stuffed with more soft chocolate. Dreamy!

A chocolate filled wafer.

A chocolate filled wafer.

I know, not Russian, but can you blame a girl?

I know, not Russian, but can you blame a girl?

A Snickers-esque candy, homemade black currant jam, and some sweet chai.

A Snickers-esque candy, homemade black currant jam, and some sweet chai.

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.

A savory pie, filled with onions and peppers.

A savory pie, filled with onions and peppers.

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). 

Just look at that treasure trove of liquid gold.

Just look at that treasure trove of liquid gold.

The appropriate way to eat it is to rip off a piece and dip it into the mass of ooey gooey sweetness. Oh baby!

The appropriate way to eat it is to rip off a piece and dip it into the mass of ooey gooey sweetness. Oh baby!

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.