When you think of Russian food you probably don’t get much past Vodka and Caviar, but there is a quite a lot more. What really adds to the cuisine in Russia is the influence and availability of food from former Soviet Satellite countries. These countries have given Russia food of Slavic, Middle Eastern, and Asian origins, which I have not come across even in the most global of cities.
Last weekend I went with a group of teachers and had my first Belarusian dining experience where I dined on Draniki (a small, flat potato dumpling) served in a pot with baked prunes, onions, and veal. It was served with smetana (kind of like sour cream without the sour). With this I has fresh whortleberry juice and krambambula-a spiced Belarusian liqueur made of vodka, honey and spices such as nut meg, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper.
This following weekend we went for homey Georgian fare- Georgia as in the small eastern European country and not the southern states of America. Georgians are known for good taste and culture as well as being much louder and passionate than our stone-faced Russians. From the smoky long tabled bar we dined in I would have to agree.
We started with Khinkali, a large meat dumpling that you eat with your hands and suck the salty juices out of while still piping hot.
Next we had the iconic and famous Hatchipuri. This cheesy Georgian flat bread is simple but divine. To go with these we had kabob-roasted meat topped with dill, onions, and pomegranate arils, which they call sashik. As dessert we had a double round of Turkish coffee served with chocolate. The coffee is sweetened and served with the grounds still swirling in the glass. You must let it settle to the bottom before you enjoy.