Other than cafes and restaurants, people usually visit delicatessen or deli when they travel to a new place. A deli is a shop that sells a selection of prepared foods or delicacies. In Russia, a deli is called kulinariya and it usually sells salad, cheeses, breads, meats, pickled vegetables, sweet and savory pastries, smoked and salty fish, and much more ready-to-eat food. You might have heard about Russian traditional dishes, but how about its delicacies? Let us now take a look at 7 of them to tickle your tummy.
This Russian delicacy has a long history and even considered as a heritage. It has been sweetening the nation’s culinary traditions since the 16th century. Pastila used to be a way to preserve fruits, especially apples, by stewing them until soft, and then getting them dry under the sun before rolling them into thin strips. Imagine the consistency of marshmallow but with pure taste of fruit. This delicacy is also known as Kolomna’s Pastila referring to the place where this delicacy first produced. Amazingly, there’s a museum in that region now to preserve the memory of this Russian sweet where you can also find a wide choice of pastilas from the old-fashion apple to pumpkin.
2. Tula Pryanik
Pryanik is a traditional Russian sweet baked goods made from flour and honey. Tula, a city in Russia, is where this delicacy is originally from. The shape resembles a bar of chocolate and it is special because of the imprinted surface. Pryanik is also appreciated as a form of art besides a delicious snack and tourists love to take it home as a gift. The modern version of pryanik is filled with fruit jam or condensed milk and then glazed with sugar syrup before getting baked. The flavor of the dough is distinctive as it contains spices and the wrappers can be kept as mementos.
You might have heard of pickled herrings, one of Russian signature dishes that may come across peculiar taste-wise. Now here is another kind of fish food that you can try while in Russia. Stroganina is a shaving of frozen fish – usually from local kinds of fish like omul, muksun, sheefish, and white fish – seasoned with salt and black pepper. Stroganina is enjoyed as a snack together with vodka or pickled cucumber. This delicacy is especially common in the northern part of Russia, closer to Siberia where the land is almost always frozen.
Known as Tatarstan’s national sweet in Russia, this simple delicacy is made from only three ingredients; flour, eggs and honey. The dough is cut into small shapes as big as hazelnuts, and then deep fried. Once cooked, they get stacked into a mound and covered with a generous amount of honey. Chak-chak then cut into smaller size when it’s already cool and hard to be served with nuts and dried fruit. Enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee. Yummy! A perfect afternoon treat. The biggest chak-chak ever made weighed 1,000 kilograms for Kazan’s millennium celebration in 2005.
5. Altai Honey
This is another gift the tourists look for when they travel to Russia. Cultivated around the Altai Mountains – hence the name – Altai honey is well known for its benefits for health. The bees in this region get their food from the wide buckwheat field near the mountains and it makes them produce the special kind of honey. There are four types of Altai honey:
- Buckwheat. It’s dark and has a nice spicy aroma with a sharp taste that may give a prickling sensation at the back of the throat. It contains 75% glucose and fructose with proteins and minerals for the rest.
- Herbs. Produced from the plants and wild flowers around Altai Mountains. It can strengthen the immune system, restore energy and overcome exhaustion. This yellow clear honey is also good to cure cough, bronchitis, and gastritis.
- Taiga. Rich in Angelica content, this type of honey has a unique taste with bright aroma making it good not only for medication but also sweet treat. It can help with headache and common cold.
- Mountain. This is the rarest type of honey from Russia and belongs to the elite class of honey. It is said to be a bottle of Altai energy because it is collected in Alpine meadows at an altitude of 1000 meters. The honey absorbs the healing quality of the mountains.
It is a simple Russian apple cake, said to be the reverse-engineered apple pie. The cake is airy and spongy with a layer of apple on top. It only takes four ingredients to make this cake; apple, eggs, flour and sugar. Sharlotka is one of the most common cakes in Russia that you can find it everywhere as it is also Russians’ favorite treat for their evening tea time. A drizzle of caramel sauce will make the cake even more bombastic.
When you have breakfast in Russia, you would most likely get this pancake made from quark or curdled sour milk, flour, eggs and sugar. It looks just like an ordinary pancake but the texture is creamy and it is fried instead of toasted. Syrniki is delicious with fruit jams, honey, or plain butter. So good to start the day with. This delicacy is easy to find at cafes or delis across Russia.
Is your mouth watery right now? Russian delicacies are indeed inviting and sound so good. They are relatively easier to the foreigners’ tongue than the heavy traditional dishes. So you might want to try the 7 delicacies we have talked about just now. They will make your tummy happy while at the same time find a way to your heart and make it fond of Russian delicacies.