Celebrating Russian New Year
Russian New Year is a festive occasion celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country. The holiday falls on January 1st and is a time for families to come together to enjoy traditional foods, exchange gifts, and raise a toast to the new year. Russian New Year cuisine is a medley of flavors and textures, with dishes that are hearty, savory, and filling. From appetizers to desserts, Russian cuisine is a treat for the senses, and there is something on the table for everyone.
Appetizers: Zakuski and More
The Russian New Year table is laden with an array of appetizers called Zakuski, which are small dishes served with bread, crackers, or toast. The Zakuski platter typically includes a variety of smoked and cured fish, pickled vegetables, cheeses, and pate. Another popular appetizer is the Olivier salad, which consists of boiled potatoes, carrots, eggs, peas, pickles, and meat, dressed with mayonnaise. Other popular appetizers include stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs, and meatballs in sour cream sauce.
Main Course: Traditional Dishes to Savor
The main course of the Russian New Year meal is usually centered around meat dishes such as roasted pork, beef, or duck. One of the most popular dishes is Beef Stroganoff, which is made with strips of beef cooked in a sour cream sauce and served over egg noodles. Another popular dish is Pelmeni, which are small dumplings filled with meat, served in a clear broth. Borscht, a hearty soup made with beets, cabbage, and meat, is also a staple of Russian cuisine and is often served as a main course.
Pelmeni: The Russian Dumpling
Pelmeni is a Russian dumpling that is a favorite comfort food and a staple of the Russian New Year table. The dumplings are made by wrapping a mixture of minced meat and onions in a thin dough and boiling them in a clear broth. Pelmeni can be served as a main course, or as an appetizer, and are often served with sour cream or butter. Pelmeni can be made with different fillings, including beef, pork, lamb, or chicken, and are a versatile and delicious addition to any meal.
Blini: A Staple of Russian Cuisine
Blini is a thin pancake that is a staple of Russian cuisine and is often served as an appetizer or a dessert. Blini can be filled with sweet or savory fillings, such as smoked salmon, caviar, or fruit. Blini can also be served with sour cream or butter, and are a versatile dish that can be enjoyed throughout the Russian New Year meal.
Salads: Refreshing and Delicious
Salads are an essential part of the Russian New Year meal, and there is a wide variety of salads to choose from. Olivier salad is a staple of Russian cuisine, but other popular salads include the Shuba salad, which is made with pickled herring, potatoes, and beets, and the Vinegret salad, which is made with boiled beets, carrots, and potatoes, dressed with oil and vinegar. Salads are a refreshing and delicious addition to the Russian New Year table and offer a healthy balance to the rich and savory main dishes.
Desserts: Indulgent Treats to End the Meal
Russian New Year desserts are indulgent and delicious, with cakes, pastries, and sweets that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. The most popular dessert is the Medovik cake, which is a layered cake made with honey-infused sponge cake and rich cream. Other popular desserts include the chocolate salami, which is a no-bake cake made with chocolate and cookies, and the Pryanik, which is a spiced honey cake.
Drinks: Raising a Glass to the New Year
Drinks are an essential part of the Russian New Year celebration, and there are several traditional drinks to choose from. Vodka is the most popular drink and is often used in toasts and celebrations. Other popular drinks include Russian champagne, which is a sparkling wine made in Russia, and Kvass, which is a non-alcoholic beverage made from fermented bread.
Setting the Table: Customs and Traditions
The Russian New Year table is decorated with traditional ornaments, candles, and flowers, and is set with a white tablecloth and festive dishes. One custom that is observed during the meal is to leave a small amount of food on the plate to show that there is always enough for the next year. Another tradition is to toast to the health and happiness of those present, and to wish them a prosperous new year.
Conclusion: Enjoying Russian New Year Cuisine
Russian New Year cuisine is a feast for the senses, with a variety of dishes that are hearty, savory, and indulgent. From the Zakuski platter to the Medovik cake, there is something on the table for everyone to enjoy. As families come together to celebrate the new year, the traditional dishes and customs of Russian cuisine help to create a festive and memorable experience that will be cherished for years to come.