Russia ranks as the largest country in the world, spanning some 5,000 miles and 11 time zones.
The nation’s food reflects its often harsh climate and conditions, where fresh vegetables grown during a fleeting summer remain as prized as the renowned Caspian Sea Beluga caviar.
Rich and hearty foods comprise much of Russia’s food tables and cuisine.
Caviar, often regarded as food for the wealthy, comes in dozens of varieties and price ranges, from the princely Beluga caviar to the humble whitefish roe.
There may not be a more Russian dish than this beet soup. Enriched with vegetables, beef and dollops of sour cream, borscht rates as arguably Russia’s most popular and famous dish.
These pancakes–traditionally made from buckwheat flour–come topped with goodies ranging from butter and sour cream to pickled fish and caviar.
Sour cream is to Russians what ketchup is to Americans. Russians lavish this favorite condiment on everything from cucumber salads to hearty meat dishes.
Thick, hearty and dark, a substantial loaf of Russian rye bread almost can serve as a meal on its own. Spread thick with fresh butter or topped with fish, eggs, cheese or meats, rye bread truly functions as the staff and stuff of Russian life.
Baked, dried, fried, pickled or salted, herring rates as a favorite fish on Russian tables, frequently offered as part of a “zakuska,” a version of “small bites,” similar to Spanish tapas.
Russians have made pickling a high art, preserving beets, cucumbers, mushrooms and other fruits of the land for a taste of summer in the cold grip of winter.
Originally devised by a French chef for a Russian count, this dish of beef, mushrooms and sour cream stands as a Russian classic, popular well beyond the country’s borders.
Salad Olivier (Russian Salad)
Like beef Stroganoff, a French chef created salad Olivier, which has become something of a national dish. Potatoes, vegetables, onions, hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise serve as the salad’s foundation, with chicken, carrots, peas and apples often added.
These dough dumplings or buns–Russia’s answer to Italian calzones–come stuffed with ingredients that include cheeses, fish, meats, mushrooms and potatoes.