No outdoor picnic in Russia is complete without kebabs. Source: Lori Images
Take advantage of the unique opportunity to sample the full flavors of the dishes at the Olympics.
Hospitable Kuban and welcoming Caucasus can be amalgamated in one word: Sochi. Locals advise the best dishes to try in the city.
Of course, the top dish is shish kabobs! No outdoor picnic in Russia is complete without kebabs: whether it be a fishing trip, a trip to the country house, or a weekend with the family at a resort. As grilling hamburgers is for Americans, kebabs are for Russia. It's almost a national idea. Kebabs can rightly be called the king of the Sochi cuisine. These cubes of meat are marinated in a special way, put on skewers and roasted on a grill over an open fire. They are a favorite dish of residents and guests of the resort. Even in the summer in 35-degree heat, kabobs are offered in every cafe, restaurant and buffet. They are different everywhere you eat them. After all, every cook has their own secret recipe for cooking kabobs. Kebobs are traditionally served with onions, herbs, fresh vegetables, lavosh, and red sauce.
Georgian style Solyanka is for those who like it hot and spicy. This nourishing, thick, hearty and flavorful soup is the second favorite after kebabs in all Sochi eating establishments. Solyanka is prepared from choice cuts of meat that are cooked for several hours, then onions, carrots, garlic, tomatos and pepper are added. Those who like spicy food can get adjika (a spicy red sauce from the Caucasus) on the side. Solyanka is best eaten with light and fresh Georgian lavash.
Georgian style Solyanka is for those who like it hot and spicy. Source: Lori Images
In Russia they are called pelmeni, Italy, ravioli, and in Japan, gyoza. The principle is the same -- a thin piece of dough wrapped around a stuffing and boiled in salted broth. Khinkali are filled with minced beef, pepper, salt, and finely chopped green coriander. They are larger than pelmeni and are also different in that almost half of the stuffing is a strong, rich broth. Khinkali are served with tomato sauce and Tsakhton sauce (a white sauce based on sour cream, herbs, and garlic).
In Italy Khinkali are called ravioli and in Japan, gyoza. Source: Lori Images
Where to try: Bely nochi (White Nights) café, Morskoi per., 7
Another masterpiece of Georgian cuisine that still prevails in Sochi. Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread. The bread can be shaped in various ways. If you find yourself in Sochi, you certainly need to try the boat-shaped khachapuri! This traditional form is filled with butter, a raw egg, and cheese. It is considered a success if the chef bakes the khachapuri so that the yolk is still runny at the end. The boat khachapuri should be eaten with your hands, pinching off the corners and dipping them in the cheese-oil-egg filling.
Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread. Source: Lori Images
Where to try: Stary Bazar Café (site in Russian), Neserbskaya ul., 4
Magnolia Cheese Balls
You can order Magnolia in virtually any restaurant in Sochi. But most people have forgotten the official name of the dish, and they just call this hot appetizer "cheese balls." More than 20 years ago, the first Magnolia appeared on the menu of the Sochi Intourist restaurant thanks to one of its chefs. To this day, they remain a favorite snack of the locals to eat with beer and wine.
Magnolia Cheese Balls. Source: Lori Images
If you do not eat meat, do not like spicy foods, and generally prefer a lighter meal, you will still find something to suit your tastes in Sochi. In the winter, of course, the variety of seafood is as good, but it is very possible that you will be lucky enough to taste the famous Black Sea flounder, goatfish, mussels and rapana. All year round you can enjoy the royal fish -- amber or rainbow trout, sturgeon, and sterlet. The red and black caviar in Sochi are authentic as they are produced right here in the Adler district of Sochi, at a special trout farm.
The neighboring republic of Abkhazia is famous for its wine. Sweet, semi-dry or dry, red, pink or white wines -- all of them can be bought in Sochi. In addition to the Abkhazian wines, Sochi has a wide selection of products from Kuban winemakers, even sparkling wine. Connoisseurs appreciate, for example, Extra Brut Victor Dravigny from the Abrau Durso factory. No wonder Abrau Durso is the official supplier of wine to the Olympic Games in Sochi.
What will you eat with the wine? There are as many varieties of cheese in Sochi as kebabs or wine. Most common are Suluguni and Adygea. And again, they are very different in taste. One is saltier, another is less salty, and the third is smoked. Either way, you can be sure -- any homemade cheese will be authentic, and incredibly tasty.
There are lots of varieties of cheese in Sochi. Source: Lori Images
If you want to try traditional Russian cuisine, you must try the Kuban borsch in Sochi. Do not be alarmed if you hear that the borsch was made the day before, that is the way it should be, because it is truly delicious on the second or third day. You must add a little sour cream to your borscht. Also try some salty bacon, green onions, fragrant rye bread and, of course, 150 grams of vodka -- it's a tradition. A cold appetizer to try is kholodets (aspic) with mustard and horseradish. Be sure to give it a try if you see it on the menu.
Blini (Russian crepes)
Another traditional Russian dish is blini. They are usually prepared in large quantities on Shrove Tuesday -- the favorite national holiday after New Year's Eve. Blini in Russia usually accompany winter and welcome the spring. This year Shrove Tuesday will be on February 24, which is just after the Olympic Games. But most likely, you will be offered blini much earlier. Pancakes not eaten plain. Try them with red or black caviar, or salted salmon, meat, cheese, honey, jam, cream ... You can try different toppings every day. They are all good.
Where to try: BlinYuga Bistro, ul. Konstitytsii SSSR, 4
A culinary dictionary of Sochi:
Аджика – adzhIka – very spicy seasoning made of red hot peppers.
Барабуля – barabUlya – goatfish
Блины – blinY – Russian-style crepes
Борщ – bOrsh – traditional soup made from beets
Горчица – gorchItca – mustard that can be very spicy. The best mustard is "yadrenaya."
Икра – ikrA– caviar
Камбала – kambalA – flounder
Кинза – kinzA – green coriander that is often used in Caucasian cuisine
Лаваш – lavaAsh – a large round bread from Georgia
Мангал – mangAl– an outdoor grill for cooking meat and vegetables
Мясо – myAso – meat
Солянка – solyAnka– a spicy beef soup with vegetables
Хачапури – khachapUri – cheese filled bread
Хинкали – khinkAli – Georgian-style ravioli
Хрен – khren – spicy horseradish. Very spicy horseradish in Russia is called "Vyrvi glaz" (Rip your eye out).
Шашлык – shashlYk – shishkabobs
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