Top 5 Moscow’s Local Foods With a Story to Tell
Olivier, a festive, traditional New Year’s Eve salad, is one of the most popular salads of Russian cuisine.
In the 1860’s at a French restaurant called Hermitage in Moscow, there worked a cook, Laurence Olivier. He invented the salad, which later became a classic in the countries of the former USSR.
The clinical-sounding title of Lev Auerman’s 1935 classic Bread Baking Technology changed Russian bread forever. An older legend had it that the bread was baked dark for mourning by a woman widowed in the battle of Borodino in 1812, but the real birth of the bread came from Auerman’s recipes. A modification on sweet, malted Baltic breads, Auerman’s Borodinsky bread was 100% rye and used caraway or anise. The recipe has evolved a bit—today it is 80% rye and 20% wheat high extraction flour and leans more on coriander than caraway.
This beet and cabbage red soup is a delicious belly warmer on Moscow’s colder days, served with or without meat, potato, herbs (usually dill) and a dollop of smetana, Russian sour cream. Although borsch is important in Russian and Polish cuisines, Ukraine is frequently cited as its place of origin. Its name is thought to be derived from the Slavic word for the cow parsnip, or common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), or from a fermented beverage derived from that plant. The more-palatable cultivated beet eventually replaced the wild cow parsnip as the basis of the soup.Accompanied with a piece of rye bread or garlic bread topped with melted cheese, this dish is hearty enough to serve as a meal, although it is usually eaten as a starter.
This famous Russian food is one of the best-known contributions to family dinner tables across western world – a classic comfort dish of sliced beef fillet, onion and mushrooms, sautéed in a white wine and sour cream sauce. There are countless variations on the recipe, some calling for the addition of tomato paste, mustard or paprika. Legend has it the dish was named after the Stroganovs, a family of merchants who enjoyed immense wealth and power during the reign of the Tsars.
What’s different about Russian dumplings (pelmeni) are the tasty herbs added to the packed meat fillings of lamb, pork or beef and the thinness of the dough. You can also find fish (typically salmon) or creamy mushrooms as common fillers. When ordering them, you’ll be asked if you want to eat them solo (boiled) or served in a broth.It is believed that the Chinese version of this dish got to Russian Siberia and the Urals in the 15th century approximately. It is not yet known exactly who brought dumplings to the inhabitants of this area. Some researchers believe that this was the Komi people, whereas others assume it was the Tatar nation.
The fact is that dumplings are ideal for the conditions of the Siberian climate: due to those long frosts, dumplings could be stored all winter through, taken on camping and hiking, etc.