Spring awakening of Mother Naturebrought new flavors into traditional Russian cuisine.
Russian spring began with Great Lent. It was the time of the most meager food consumption for the whole year. But after the Passover it was the time of feasts and fun, and Russian villages livened up in the beginning of working season.
In Russia people always ate all kinds of early spring greens: young onions, garlic greens, parsley, parsnip, celery. Using sorrel, goutweed and young nettles people cooked green soups. Even the remains of vegetable seedlings were used to make fresh spring soups. They were even called the same- seedling soups. During the Lent, all soups were made based on water or mushroom broth.
Lark Cookies and Kulich
Ritual dishes that were always cooked in Russia in the spring, also over time became its symbols. We say “Easter cake” or “kulich” – and we mean the great celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. Dairy products and eggs were not consumed during the forty-day Lent in Russia. But Easter cakes and kulich are always prepared using lots of these products. Mandatory attributes of the holiday were colored eggs.
In addition, in Russia it was customary in the spring to make ritual pastry. Most often, this pastry was shaped like birds, and was called larks. In different regions there were their own traditions of baking and serving lark cookies. In Central Russia larks were the symbols of the coming of spring, and were cooked using lenten dough at the beginning of March.
Berezovitsa and Birch Juice
Spring always began with collecting of birch sap. It is known that it was consumed even by Scythians. Berezovitsa in ancient Russia was called a mild alcoholic drink made from the birch sap using a fermentation method. There were periods when collecting birch sap was not as popular. Berezovitsa too, over time completely disappeared from the Russian cuisine.
But today in all Russian supermarkets you can find natural birch sap, which you should definitely try!
To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev