You can be picky about meat, you can be picky about vegetables, you can be picky about spicies, but you can’t possibly be picky about sweets. Of course, there are people that do not like chocolate, or butter or honey, but there is always going to be that one cake that, as soon as you catch its smell, there is no way you will pass by. Russian culinary tradition is, of course, very healthy. Buckwheat, borsh, cabbage, beetroot…. until we pass to the dessert part. There are multiple bakeries and lots of shops selling sweets and pastries на завтрак (for breakfast), and when I am on my way to school in the morning, the smell coming from the shops is just too tempting. Since there are too many Russian delicacies to try, we have tried to list just the must-have ones!
Do not worry, no birds were harmed in the process. The legend of Russian sweets – Vladimir Guralnik – first invented this recipe along with other confectioners. It is actually just a think slice of marshmellow or milk soufflé covered in chocolate, but it is simple, delicious and easy to find in any shop. Smile-triggering candy guaranteed!
If you are a tea/coffee lover like me, then this will be your to-go cake. Gingerbread is omnipresent in Russian bakery, but if you add honey to it…well до свидания фигура (=goodbye perfect body shape)! Its name comes from Tula, a little city 180 kilometres away from Moscow, which is famous for its pryanik.
This is one of the most archaic Russian sweet, it is a must-have in most bakeries and its recipe has’t changed throughout the years. It is a very basic type of cake, just this soft bun filled with cottage cheese, then raisins of fruits, but during the cold Russian nights it is enough to warm yourself up a bit.
This is again a very simple piece of Russian cuisine, made out of cottage cheese, flour and eggs, all deep-fried. As they say “simplicity is the key to brilliance” – and that is truly a simple dish but it can be served with a wide variety of condiments, from cheese to marmelade, from smetana to honey. It can be a side dish or a dessert or even your breakfast and you can find them pretty much in any cafe!
We could describe them as a sort of Russian pancake, and you can find them anywhere for a very cheap price! They can be salty or sweet, big or little, fat or, well, less fat (there is no low fat blini I believe) and they are very popular among Russian people, especially when you have to eat something quick! But it can be also a very traditional home-made dish that gathers the family around the table, to quote Pushkin:
They kept in their peaceful life
The habits of the charming past;
On Maslenitsa feast only
Russian blinis they served
Beware, this is a must if you are going to St. Petersburg. You can’t leave this city without trying one of its most famous snacks. It’s a deep- fried doughnut – what do you want more? Actually I can tell you something more. It is one of the most inexpensive food you can find in Russia. Some places sell one pishka for 8 rubles! It’s a very popular snack among young people and you can eat it anytime, day and night but remember: once you start, there is no coming back. You won’t be able to stop. Real-life testimonial (un)fortunately.
Well, this word literally means “small pie” and it is simply a deep-fried bun which you can stuff with pretty much anything you like! They come with everything, from apples to meat, and, again, once you start there is no way you are gonna stop. Real-life testimonial number 2. So, if your Russian friend tells you “yes, we can just stop by пирожковая (pirozhski bakery) and have a few pirozhki before going there” you are not going to leave that place. Not soon at least.
This is a multiple layers sponge cake with a lot of honey and condensed milk inside, so it is pretty much one of the sweetest things and earth – and one of the most delicious with a tea! It is actually difficult to make it at home, and it is said that a chef invented it to impress Empress Elizabeth in the 18th century. I don’t know about the empress, but it has certainly impressed me!
It is basically pressed fruit paste, and in Imperial Russia it was regarded as a very expensive and noble dessert. It took two days to bake the pastila paste in the Russian stove, and it takes just two second to run out of it. During Soviet Union they found a way to industrialize the process to reduce the costs, and now we are all able to enjoy this true Russian delicacy.
There is not a single chance you will visit Russia without noticing somehow a little girl staring at you from a chocolate bar or from candies. This is one of the most popular chocolate brands in Russian, if not THE most popular, but on the contrary it is fairly difficult to find this brand outside Russia, so it is always a nice idea to bring it home as a souvenir!
After this article, I bet you feel kind of hungry, right? Then go get your Russian delicacies or, if you aren’t in Russia yet, plan to visit a Russian bakery during your trip. All these sweets have been tasted and approved by our students just to be extra sure to recommend you the very best!
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