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Delicious tastes of Russia

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Delicious tastes of Russia


Svetlana Smetanina

The Tastes of Russia National Competition for Regional Food Brands was held for the second time in a row in Russia. Everyone could participate in online popular vote and choose their favorite products in three different regions until November, 7. There are 8 nominations in the competition. The winners are to be chosen from 720 brands from all regions of Russia.

Kologrivsky goose and Buryat buuz

Tastes of Russia, the first National Competition held by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation last year, aroused great interest among the residents who actively voted for 491 brands from 79 regions. Over a million votes were cast in the online voting.

24 finalists won in eight nominations. In “For the whole country” category the winners were such brands as Vologda Butter, Adygeyskiy Cheese and Bashkirskiy Honey. And it's hard to argue with this choice because all three products are widely known and popular in Russia.

Vologda butter (or Vologodskoye maslo) has been produced in Russia from the year 1876. By the way, it was originally known as Parisian butter, because its creator Nikolay Vereshchagin (brother of Russian war artist Vasily Vereshchagin) was inspired by the Normandy butter that participated in the World Dairy Exhibition in Paris in 1870. In 1911, a Dairy Institute in Vologda city was established to develop the buttermaking in Russia. In 1939, by the order of the People's Commissariat of the Meat and Dairy Industry of the USSR, Vologda butter has received its name, familiar to everyone nowadays. Today it is produced according to a special technology at the enterprises of the Vologda Region and has a special “nutty” aftertaste. Today there are many more brands on the market, but the Vologda butter is still incredibly popular in Russia.

Photo: Vologda butter

The winner in the nomination "From our village" in 2020 was the Kologrivsky Goose brand from the Kostroma region. Until recently, only few knew about Kologriv city in the Kostroma region. After winning the national brand competition, the Kologrivsky Goose name was widely recognized. It turns out that it’s possible to observe several species of geese at once for about a month only in one Russian city of Kologriv. Recently, Kologriv even received a second name - "The Goose Capital of Russia." Every spring tens of thousands of wild birds migrating from Europe to the Arctic stop here and have a kind of "resort" before flying to the polar tundra, where they breed. It is not surprising that Kologriv attracts international scientists and more recently tourists. Since 1999, Kologrivski Forest Nature Reserve estate handles several hundred hectares of flooded meadows and a goose wildlife area.

In 2015, after graduating from the university, several students moved to Kologriv and organized their own subsidiary farm, raising the local breed of geese. The local breed claims special ecological purity of production: there are no industrial enterprises within a radius of 300 kilometers around.

Photo: Buryat buuzy

Buryat buuz has won in the "We are chosen-2020" nomination. A steamed dumpling filled with meat is a traditional dish of the Buryat and Mongolian peoples. The mixture of mutton, beef, horse meat and pork, plus onion and garlic is used for these dumplings. A distinctive feature of buuzy is the meat broth inside the round purse shape. This way it’s an unusual combination of the first and second courses in one. The locals always emphasize: no knives, spoons or forks are acceptable in the eating the special dumplings. They are handled by hands: take a bite, drink the broth, then eat the rest. The history of this national dish began over 400 years ago: Tibetan lamas’ head invited the Buryats to visit, and ordered to prepare meat wrapped in dough for their arrival. The balls of minced meat were wrapped in dough, leaving a small hole with 33 folds twirled to a close, according to the number of folds in the clothes of Tibetan lamas. Another legend says that the buuz designed in accordance with round yurt tent structure.

Russia, the birthplace of maple syrup

This year, 720 applications, twice as much as a year before, participated in the competition. 84 regions were taking part in the contest. Only Moscow region received 44 applications at once. Among the competitors are Posad gingerbread, Kolomensk snail, Mozhaisk milk, Serpukhov metballs with onions, buckwheat bun from Volokolamsk, and Kolomna marshmallow. Another rare dish is Lukhovitsky Clarias catfish originally coming from African reservoirs. It turned out that this fish is a real delicacy, full of omega-3 and omega-6 oils is three times higher than in salmon.

Photo: Stepanovsk cheese caramel

Stepanovsk cheese caramel is another unusual desert from the Tomsk region. It was named after the merchant Stepan Sosulin, who opened the first confectionery shop in Tomsk city in 1858. The cheese caramel contains very tender ricotta cheese, chocolate, and pine nuts that are well-known Siberian speciality. Such caramel is malleable and soft and plastic. It can be spread on bread and used as a filling for buns.

Kamchatka Krai is famous for its variety of fish and seafood. Recently, the production of a fish sausage has been popular here. This cold appetizer is prepared from minced fish with the addition of fish pieces. In total, Kamchatka offered six local brands for the competition. In addition to a fish sausage, there are Kamchatka sockeye salmon, Olyutorskaya herring, Ivan tea with dried berries, Kamchatka honeysuckle and even Kamchatka fern, a popular dish of oriental cuisine.

Photo: tree saps from Voyeykovo

Many people associate maple syrup exclusively with Canada. But local historians from the village of Voyeykovo in the Leningrad oblast believe that European immigrants from Voyekovo could have brought the syrup recipes to Canada. Today, the village manufacturers are worldwide leaders in the birch sap syrup production and the maple syrup production on the European continent. The harvesting season for the birch sap in the Leningrad Region is 55 days, which is the longest in the world. The first mentions of the production of maple syrup in this area date back to the beginning of the 18th century, well before then in Canada and the USA.

Tastes of Russia National Competition for Regional Food Brands organizers are making sure that the contest presents Russia not only from the tourist perspective, but also from the yummy side.

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