A library for tastes

What do the Red Book of Endangered Species and traditional recipes have in common?

It’s not just the animals that are disappearing, so are the foods and flavors. Did you know that there is an international “Red Book of Food,” an online catalog called the Ark of Flavors that collects about 5,000 organic and endangered foods from around the world?

We chose five of them that you can still find and try in Russia:

1. Kolomenskaya cabbage is a variety of white cabbage that was bred in the 18th century in the village of Kolomenskoye, not far from Moscow. Ideal for pickling and souring.

2. Suzdal sbiten – the first Russian “tea”. It is made from water, honey (must be necessarily local), and various spices – cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, bay leaf, cloves, and blackcurrant leaves.

3. Tuvan cheese and cottage cheese made from yak milk – yak milk is fattier than cow’s milk and at the same time more delicate in taste. Remember the names of its delicacies: byshtaka (cheese made from whole milk), aarji (cheese made from sour milk), kuruta (cottage cheese).

4. Baikal omul – a rare fish of the whitefish genus. It lives in Lake Baikal and the rivers flowing into it. The delicate fillet of omul is incredibly tasty and not too fat. We recommend to try hot-smoked omul.

5. Chukotka mantak – whale skin and lard. Finely chopped mantac is eaten raw, boiled, pickled, and smoked as an appetizer, as well as with soup or a second course. It tastes like lard with mushrooms.

For the disciples of the revival of Russian culinary traditions there is a restaurant in Moscow called “Uhvat”. Here you can watch the cooks prepare fragrant and crumbly buckwheat porridge with baby goat or mushrooms, bake delicious pumpkin and buckwheat bread, make clarified butter or the old-Russian dessert “varenyets” in the open kitchen.

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