A vast country, Russian cuisine is inevitably a melting pot of myriad cultural and geographical influences, combining indigenous traditions and local ingredients with imperial extravagance and modern influences to form a varied and delicious eating experience. The foundations of Russian cooking lie in he peasant food of the rural population, with a combination of plentiful fish, poultry, game, mushrooms, berries, and honey. Rye, wheat, barley, and millet inspired a plethora of delicious breads and pancakes as well as the legendary Russian drinks; kvass, beer and vodka. The northern reaches of the ancient Silk Road, as well as Russia's close proximity to the Caucasus, Persia, and the Ottoman Empire provided an Eastern character to its cooking.
Russia's great expansions of territory, influence and interest during the 16th-18th centuries brought more refined foods and culinary techniques to her urban aristocracy and provincial gentry. From the time of Catherine the Great, every family of influence imported both the products and personnel - mainly German, Austrian, and French - to bring the finest, most rare, and most creative foods to their table. This is nowhere more evident than in the exciting, elegant, highly nuanced, and decadent repertoire of the Franco-Russian chef. Many of the foods that are considered to be traditionally Russian come from the Franco-Russian cuisine of this period.
In this unique celebration of Russian eating a fascinating introduction provides a comprehensive guide to the history, landscape and geography of the country, together with information on the classic ingredients used in Russian homes and restaurants. The recipes offer a taste of this rich, varied and culturally diverse cuisine with such dishes as the much-loved beetroot soup (Borscht), Pelmeni (delicious little stuffed pastries), and Pirozhki (savoury dumplings). There is Shashlyk, a kind of shish kebab, and imperial recipes such as Coulibiac, Veal Orloff, Beef Stroganoff, and Charlotte Russe.
With more than 300 beautiful, specially commissioned photographs, this evocative and inspiring book captures the essence of Russian cooking, while the 60 recipes offer a vibrant and intense Russian eating experience that is a must for anyone wanting to explore new, exciting cuisines.