Delicious food and drinks are a big part of your ex UK cruises holiday. What should you expect to encounter in Russia?
International eating options are increasingly available in Russia, but the more adventurous ex UK visitors may decide to take pot luck in a local café. This can result in grisly unidentifiable meat and lumpy potatoes, or you could find yourself tucking into delicious pancakes or caviar, washed down with vodka or strong Russian tea.
If you’re vegetarian, Georgian restaurants are probably your best bet as they have similarities to Turkish or Lebanese cuisine. And if ex UK cruises visitors prefer a good bottle of wine with dinner, Georgia is home to some fine wines. Fertile growing conditions and a favourable climate produce over 500 varieties of aboriginal Georgian vine. Try one of the following - Saperavi, Odjaleshi, Rkatsiteli, Usakhelouri, Mtsvane, Tsolikauri, Krakhuna, or Tsitska.
Ex UK cruises visitors will find that spicy vegetables are widely used in Russian cuisine. Bulbs, roots, leaves and seeds are common ingredients, and the vegetables can be boiled, fried, blanched or stewed. Garlic is used in meat, vegetable, egg dishes, soups, salads and preserves but never for fish dishes, as it is considered to spoil the taste of the dish. Caraway seeds are added to soups (cabbage, onion, potato), sauces, sauerkraut, pickles, bread, buns, tvorog, cheese, beer and kvas.
‘Bliny’ is a Russian traditional dish that ex UK cruises visitors will be offered for breakfast. Bliny-making was traditionally a mystery. People told fortunes on the dough, kept their recipes of Bliny a secret, and the first blinys were put on window-sills for poor people and pilgrims. The most popular blinys are made from buckwheat flour, and the thinner the bliny the better.
Main courses that ex UK cruises visitors may expect to be offered include Cheboureki (a Caucasian dish of small fried pies with a meat filling that goes down well with a bottle of beer), Buckwheat Kasha with Liver (always washed down with vodka!), and of course Beef Stroganoff. This dish was named after Russian Count Grigory Stroganove who was a rich noblemen who always had the best chefs. One of them invented the original dish from meat scrapings, and today varieties on the recipe are eaten throughout the world.
Ponchiki are the Russian equivalent of doughnuts, so ex UK cruises visitors with a sweet tooth will probably want to sample many of these during the trip! Other sweet specialities include butter cake, Sochen (a folded flat cake with a filling made from cottage cheese), chuk chuk, and thin, crispy khvorost (fried cookies).
And no meal in Russia would be complete without traditional soup – ex UK cruises visitors should try bozbash (made with lamb fat), Belorussian borsch (beef cooked with pork bones), cold sweet borsch (beetroot and potatoes) or chicken broth.
Eat, drink and be merry on your ex UK cruises!