Top 10 Food & Dining Trends in Moscow

Editor’s Note: While most of the world debates the likely medalists at the Sochi Games, we foodies will be asking an equally important question. Tell us, tell us PLEASE, what in the heck is everyone eating over there and how can we replicate it at home? Our Ketchum colleagues graciously obliged our tantrums and now you, too, can be in-the-know if someone asks you to bring some “Herring Under a Fur Coat” to their Opening Ceremony party. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Russian cuisine today and in the weeks to come. Amy

2013 was a remarkable year in the world of food and dining in Moscow and people are still talking about food trend predictions for 2014. We are no astrologists, so instead spent the past days examining the current top 10 trends in Russian food and dining. Who knows? With a little help from the Sochi Olympics, some predictions might become the next global hits!

A traditional Russian salad served in a sushi-like manner at café Schisliva in Moscow.

A traditional Russian salad served in a sushi-like manner at café Schisliva in Moscow.

1.       The big comeback of traditional Russian cuisine.  More and more restaurants in Moscow are offering traditional Russian dishes as part of their mixed European menus or as the main thing. Thanks to the trend, more visitors to the Russian capital, and even locals, have a chance to rediscover real Russian food and learn that there’s more to it than kasha and blini (the famous borsch is, in fact, a Ukrainian special). Some places stick to the classic recipes and offer authentic botvinia (green vegetable soup with fish), pastille (prune-coconut-honey confections) – not to be confused with zefir (meringue-style confections) and sbiten (a honey-based traditional drink), while others get creative and serve common dishes in very experimental  ways – think of a classic Selyodka Pod Shuboi salad (commonly known as “Herring Under a Fur Coat”) made to look like the ever popular sushi (photo above). [Read more…]

Best Food City in the World Nomination #4: Oakland, California

Oakland, California, is a 20-minute drive east on the Bay Bridge from San Francisco (on a good traffic day).  The city is adjacent to Berkeley, a foodie haven put on the map 43 years ago by Alice Waters. She pioneered the California cuisine concept with her phenomenal restaurant Chez Panisse.  The restaurant drew others to the neighborhood creating a cornucopia of gourmands to solidify it as the Gourmet Ghetto.

Oakland was never seen as a food scene like SF and Berkeley. But, just like Bob Dylan croons in his 60’s classic anthem: the times they are a-changin. Over the last several years, popular chefs have been quietly leaving their hats in SF and moving to Oakland where it’s more affordable to open a restaurant.  Young chefs, some who spent time honing their craft at Chez Panisse, are gaining accolades from their own establishments. The New York Times ranked Oakland number 5 on its list of 45 places to visit in the world in 2012.

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Best Food City in the World Nomination #3: San Francisco

Having been presented with the challenge about which city deserves the title of “World’s Best Food City,” I had to step up and represent the clear winner! San Francisco is a constellation of microclimates and varying topography – sun and fog, hill and valley – all held together with a nearly incomparable cultural obsession shared by chefs and locals alike of where and what (and why) to eat. From molecular wizards to ethnic gurus and the general public that is insatiably hungry for more, the City by the Bay is the most dynamic place in the world to feast.

2013’s “Rising Star Chefs”, having fun in the kitchen. (www.sfgate.com)

2013’s “Rising Star Chefs”, having fun in the kitchen. (www.sfgate.com)

Here you’ll find farmer’s markets in almost every neighborhood overflowing with jaw-dropping produce and products, the majority of which are produced within 100 miles of our city center. We have thriving urban school gardens, tended by children who understand the concept of “heirloom.” We have world-class wine country and distilleries at our fingertips. Self-trained chefs in their 20’s with national cred for culinary innovation who share the limelight with the likes of icon Thomas Keller (French Laundry) and “avant-garde hipster” Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese)…does that say it all? This city takes artisanal obsessions to a whole new level – coffee, ramen, food trucks, the list goes on – which then spread across the nation like wildfire.

The iconic Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market (www.cuesa.org)

The iconic Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market (www.cuesa.org)

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Best Food City in the World Nomination #2: Frankfurt

Frankfurt’s restaurant scene is just as lively and diversified as the city itself. And there is so much to try out, from international delicacies to local specialties. Some spots you cannot miss: The so-called Freßgass (munching street), Frankfurt’s culinary mile, keeps its own promise: restaurants, street cafes and delis offer culinary temptations as far as the eye can see.

frankfurt streetIn the Kleinmarkthalle, one of Frankfurt’s most popular indoor grocery markets, food shoppers can expect a superb selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat as well as herbs and spices from all over the world.

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