World of food and wine looks at a fascinating variety of customs and traditions in different countries across the globe, describing how the world cooks, eats, and drinks.
Is Russian cuisine good? The answer to this question is not simple. Russia is a vast country. Land and climate vary tremendously from one region to the other and so does the food.
The warm south, so close to the heart of Asia, food has a similar quality to that of the Middle East with plenty of rice and kebabs. In the he north, where they need hearty food to counteract the freezing cold and long winters, there will be root vegetables, meat pies such as pelmeni, and warming soups such as borscht and shchi. Those cold, long winters make hospitality very important and no matter what time of day or night, guests are always invited to share a meal.
In the recipes to reach World Food and Wine or in the dishes from Russian inspiration, Russia appears as a country of soured milk and cream. Kefir, the popular drink from the Caucasus, is fermented milk; the pashka from the plains East of Moscow is a cheese cake with added cream; chicken Kiev has a butter filling; chicken Pojarskis are fried patties made with ground meat and cream; beef Stroganoff is cooked in cream and borsch or blinis, the tiny pancakes, are served with sour cream.
Blinis are eaten all year round, but they are especially made to celebrate the end of the winter and the arrival of spring around Shrovetide. Certainly the end of a long winter is something to celebrate and for more than one day. Houses are often decorated with bright paper chains and lanterns and when this celebration reaches the street it is almost like carnival.
Coming back to the original question about Russian cuisine, our repertoire of Russian recipes is not large enough to judge the whole of it, however, we like very much what we know of it.