Russian food has evolved far beyond beetroot soup and buckwheat.
An edible revolution in Russia’s capital city is exploding with unexpected tastes and trends, but the best ventures, draw on the country’s culinary roots. Street corner stalls offer traditional specialities: a glass of cold kvass, brewed from malted rye, or steaming pies stuffed with cabbage or cranberries.
For a big city, Moscow’s menus follow a surprisingly seasonal pattern:
• pancakes to celebrate the start of spring;
• curd cheese and candied fruit cakes at Easter;
• marinated meat grilled out of doors in summer;
• hot spiced drinks from the samovar in winter.
Migrants from Central Asian countries such as Tajikistan have spiced up Muscovite cuisine with chilli, garlic and cumin, so you can indulge in an appetising odyssey without going very far. Look out for Caucasian lepyoshka flatbreads, baked in charcoal-filled clay ovens.
Every corner in Moscow holds its foodie secrets, from monastery bakeries that sell fresh warm loaves, to smoked cheese and wild strawberries in the farmers market. Whether it’s bunches of green sorrel leaves, baskets of woodland fungi, melons from Astrakhan or gingerbread from Tula, Moscow’s vibrant markets are heaped with regional produce.
Delve into one of the city’s many food-related adventures, incorporating Russian art, literature and music, and taking in hidden gems and sprawling parks. Here you can get a taste of imperial grandeur, Soviet industry and contemporary style. Moscow’s most striking feature is variety: gleaming tower blocks and medieval churches, steak with foie gras or a bowl of homemade borsch.