International celebrities who LOVE Russian cuisine

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What is Milla Jovovich prepared to do for the sake of ‘pelmeni’, and where in New York do celebrity fans of ‘borsch’ congregate?

Usually, foreigners are rather wary of Russian dishes, especially when it comes to the likes of ‘aspic’ (jelly) or ‘okroshka’ (soup). In a recent Twitter post American rap singer Azealia Banks described Russian food as “barbaric” and “the worst" she had ever tried, saying that she only loved pancakes with caviar and ‘medovik’ (honey cake). So, which foreign celebrities were not only brave enough to try traditional Russian food, but also fully embraced it?

Sarah Jessica Parker: If you want Russian food, go to Brighton Beach!

American actress Sarah Jessica Parker during an autograph-session following the presentation of her perfume at a L'Etoille store at the Evropeisky mall in Moscow.

Fermented cucumbers, pickled cabbage, pelmeni in broth - to find all these treats in New York, the actress recommends going to Brighton Beach, the area where Soviet emigrants traditionally settled down. “Brighton Beach is a feast for the eyes and the belly. More specifically, ‘Verenichnaya’, where the food takes you to the heart of Russia and the servers and proprietors make you feel at home,” Parker posted on Instagram, attaching a photo of her Russian dinner.

After her visit to Moscow in 2017, the actress admits she brought home some ‘Alyonka’ and ‘Babaevsky’ chocolate bars.

Sarah is not the only celebrity to visit Russian restaurants in New York: their other high-profile customers include Rami Malek, Christina Hendricks and Linda Ramone.

Milla Jovovich: One could emigrate to Russia for the sake of ‘pelmeni’

Milla Jovovich in Hollywood.

The Hollywood actress not only speaks excellent Russian, but is also a connoisseur of Russian cuisine. And she has repeatedly professed her love for it. During a press conference in Moscow marking the release of the final installment of Resident Evil, she even joked that, for the sake of pelmeni (Russian dumplings), one could emigrate to Russia. “You will not find them like these anywhere else in the world,” she said in Russian.

Her husband, director Paul Anderson, once declared that the best cake in the world was Russia’s ‘Napoleon’. As if anyone was in any doubt! 

Mila Kunis: Knows everything about ‘dressed herring’

It would seem Mila simply loves telling the American public about her favorite Russian dishes. ‘Herring under a fur coat’ in particular. “I really think it’s delicious, - she said on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. - But do you really want to hear what it is?” Sure, Mila, do tell us, the host replied. “It has layers: herring, carrot, beets, potatoes, mayo… and you just eat it with a spoon or a fork!” “And no crackers attached?” Jimmy was confused. “Is it a soup?” “No, I’m telling you, it’s really delicious,” Mila tried to explain, but she did not sound too convincing.

However, when she appeared on Ivan Urgant’s show on Russian TV, together with fellow actor James Franco, and the conversation turned to dressed herring, the audience was delighted to hear that the actress knew a lot about Russia’s New Year’s salads. Judging by Franco’s reaction, however, he was not too tempted by the recipe, either.

Nevertheless, she has managed to get other Hollywood stars interested in Russian cuisine, too – it turned out that during a visit to Moscow, Justin Timberlake fell in love with borsch. Mila said that he had tried dressed herring, as well. 

Incidentally, the list of fans of the most famous Slavic soup includes British singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor. “I can never get enough borsch”, she said in a post on Instagram.

Gérard Depardieu: Borsch goes well with wine

French actor Gerard Depardieu samples wine at a dinner at the Lastochka Restaurant.

Back in 2014, the French actor (who, incidentally, has Russian citizenship) published, along with culinary specialist Elena Joly, a cookbook called Russian Cuisine with French Sauce, which contains recipes for traditional dishes from famous people of both countries. To each recipe, Depardieu added a wine recommendation. “Elena and I cooked magnificent borsch and other dishes - and all of them go well with wine,” he said in an interview for Komsomolskaya Pravda. Depardieu admitted that he loved everything traditional: “Russian dishes - borsch, halushky – remind me of things my grandmother used to cook. I am particularly fond of dishes that simmer for a long time.”

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