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Russian Food Tourism: Winning Favor with Travelers

Eastern Orthodox holiday Maslenitsa.
Boris Kustodiev, 1919 depiction of the Eastern Orthodox holiday Maslenitsa. (Public Domain)

Through the new influx of tourism, Russian hospitality practitioners have realized that there are many attractive and new things they can offer visitors to their country. Russia has become a bit of a breath of fresh aid, a must have, in adventure, cuisine, events and music travel. Russian made products are more sought after worldwide, which further bolsters the souvenir business. From the local Siberian event, to a village in Yakutsk, or at the world famous "Taste" of Moscow culinary extravaganza, Russia has so much "foodie" value to offer. Here's a look at a few high points for travelers. 

Pravda.ru discussed the growth in tourism recently with the President of the International Enogastronomic Center, Leonid Gelibterman, and CEO of the National Association of Gastronomic Heritage and Tourism, Oleg Alekseyev. Here is a short take on what they had to offer on this new touristic resurgence.Tatarstan are inextricably linked to the culture and history of the Tatar people - Tatarstan Heritage

“Do Russians develop event tourism?”

“They develop gastronomical tourism too. In many regions of Russia that have no warm sea, high mountains, great museums and other attractions, gastronomical events are the catalysts that attract tourists.”

“So, people will come to Russia to enjoy food?”

“Yes they will. Many Russian regions have very interesting cuisines and unusual products. After all, everyone need to eat three times a day, and everyone wants to eat delicious food, especially when the go on holliday. There is a variety of food festivals in Russia- they range from local to federal ones.”

Taste of Moscow in 2015 and the magnificent Abrau-Durso

The two executives went on to outline some of the unique festivals and other events being held across Russia. One in particular, the Pavlovsky Posad District called,’Cold Jelly Meat Fest,’ reveals how somewhat simple culinary tradition, if promoted properly, can grow into a huge regional festival. The 3rd contingent of this fest drew 21 bus loads of tourists to taste a magnificent meat jelly (‘holodets’ in Russian). Of interest in Pavlovsky Posad as well, the Russian shawls famous there are world renowned for pure 100 percent soft wool fiber that's warm in the winter and breathes in the summer. The shawls have a very elaborate pattern, bright colours and long fringe. Readers may see examples or even buy these shawls by visiting the factory website hereMaslenitsa week is one of Russia's most down to Earth and widespread fests - Courtesy Glorialana's Blog

Cultural and sporting events, like the recent ones in the Samara region, the “Classics of the Volga”, and outdoor concerts draw thousands. Traditional touristic events also create offshoots like  ethnography and gastronomy opportunities for tourists who look for more diversity. The two experts went on to outline special events like the celebration of Belevka that used to make delicious Belevsky pastille. The production of this pastille came to and end after the October Revolution, and it now has seen a resurgence with the re-opening of three factories that produce the Belevsky pastille.

Huge festivals build around culinary tradition abound across Russia, as they do in any nation, only Russia is a lot bigger than any nation. A good example of one of the bigger events, the Horex Siberia and "Siberian Beer" exhibitions bring leading manufacturers and supplies across Russia, as well as international companies, to a food and drink meetup featuring the whole range of products from brewing equipment and beer, soft drinks and snacks, to restaurant food, and even equipment catering. Here, visitors get demonstrations of the latest technologies and equipment for hotels, bars, restaurants and delis, as well as drinks tasting, dishes and desserts.Horex Siberia 2013 - Via Progress Siberia

The smaller events of locals, like those that showcase such things as Altai cheeses, Novogrod gingerbread, and the unique worlds to be found in Siberia and the Caucasus, are where the real surprises reside. Going on right now across Russia, the festivals honoring the tradition of Maslenitsa (or pancake or blini week) dates back to pagan times, when Russian folk would bid farewell to winter and welcome Spring. At this event, culinary delights from Russian pancakes (blini) to local traditonal favorites are consumed in massive quantities. For tourists, this time of year is a fantastic opportunity to eat, drink, and be Russian. Another wonderful experience, the exquisite cuisine of Tatarstan brought to the forefront by the legendary and charismatic, Chef Yunus Akhmetzyanov, is shown off around the region, and at the Chak-Chak Museum in Kazan.

Yakutia Food Festival - Via Visit Yakutia

As you can see, Russia is not just one country, but many lands made into a federation of countries, all united and bringing their ideas and traditions together. This can only be of benefit to tourists who visit, as they can travel to any region and see, feel, and taste the different cultures, and partake in each region’s own  unique festivities.

It is our duty here at Our Russia to rediscover these delicacies, traditions, and regions, and present them to the world abroad. To give what is good, and great about Russia to all corners of the world, to truly show how awe inspiring the country really is.

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