5 Russian food festivals in 2019 you’ll want to sink your teeth into

Legion Media
When and where can you legally eat blue crab and learn how to bake pies in a wood-burning stove? For this and other culinary magic, check out our guide.

1. St Petersburg Gourmet Days

June 1-16, 2019, St Petersburg

Restaurant Gastronomica

Don’t tell Muscovites, but St Petersburg harbors a secret claim to being Russia’s cultural and gastronomic capital. At the start of summer, about 40 restaurants citywide offer festive 3-5 dish set meals costing 1,500 rubles ($23). All that remains to do is choose a restaurant (better to book a table in advance). You can opt for a rooftop view (Gastronomica, Terrasa, Attic) or a cozy courtyard (Jungle near Kazan Cathedral). Besides the set meals, delectable dishes will be offered by global culinary stars: Josh Angus from London’s Hide Ground will be guesting at The Repa, and Thailand’s Thitid Tassanakajohn (whose restaurant Le Du is 14th in Asia’s Top 50 restaurants list) will take over the kitchen at Birch.

And be sure to go on a restaurant tour with locals, including the special programs “Modern Cuisine of St Petersburg” and “Little Asia.” The festival will close with a “debutants’ ball”—a chance to get to know the city’s finest young chefs. See online for details.

2. Taste of Moscow

June 27-30, 2019, Luzhniki, Moscow

Want to taste the trademark dishes of Russia’s top chefs at unbelievably low prices? Now you can, at the Taste of Moscow festival—several days of open-air culinary madness along Prestige Alley at the Luzhniki Olympic complex, with a rich program of music and theater performances. Plus you can find exclusive food products and original souvenirs at Gourmet Market. Tickets for the festival are available online

3. "Byg-Byg" Finno-Ugric Gastronomic Festival

July 6-7, Stariye Bygi Village, Sharkansky District, Udmurtia

If you like pies and the exotic Russian hinterland, go to Udmurtia (about 1,000 km east of Moscow). Here you’ll be fed delicious local pies with sumptuous fillings. Remember to say “byg-byg” if something really tickles your taste buds.

This year, the organizers are not only inviting local and foreign cooks to the festival, but offering anyone the chance to open a cafe for one day (table, stove, and kitchen utensils are provided). So if you want to try your hand at Finno-Ugric cuisine and show off your talents, sign up in advance. Everyone else will be taught how to cook on the spot, including the practice of using local herbs for medicinal and ritual purposes.

www.vk.com/byg_byg (in Russian) 

4. O, da! Eda! (Oh, yes! Food!)

July 13-14, Primorsky Victory Park, St Petersburg

The festival will take place in various Russian cities, but the biggest and boldest will once again be in St Petersburg. The city’s best chefs invite all-comers on a gastronomic round-the-world tour: Take a stroll with a glass of wine among the olive groves of the Mediterranean, try guacamole, or partake of ukha po-tsarski (royal fish soup) and Russian wild game in a modern interpretation. The chefs promise to hold master classes, including a special Children’s Culinary School. And for those who like it hot, the organizers are threatening to arrange culinary duals between amateurs and pro chefs. Let battle commence!

www.odaeda.me (in Russian) 

5. “Hold the Crab!” Festival of Living Kamchatka Crabs

October 15-30, 2019

The idea of the “Hold the Crab!” festival was cooked up several years ago in Vladivostok, but now covers the entire Far East and restaurants in Moscow, St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Sochi, Chelyabinsk, and other cities. During the festival, restaurants in the Far East offer a kilo of live crab at the super price of 1,200 rubles ($18). The same price is set by participating restaurants throughout Russia for 300 grams of Kamchatka crab claws (cooked in pairs) with a proprietary sauce. Fishing for blue Kamchatka crab is permitted in late October, giving you the chance to try it. The only restriction in force at the festival is one crab per group of 2-7 people. In Moscow, crab can be enjoyed at the Chestnaya Kukhnya (Honest Kitchen/Cuisine), Vladivostok-3000, and Karlson restaurants. See the full list online (in Russian and Chinese).

Read more: Cheap and tasty: The 7 best places to eat for $5 in Moscow

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