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Ukraine

christina z | Oct 1, 2004 09:20 PM

I know no one's interested in Ukraine but I must report that THEY KNOW GOOD CHOW. I just spent two weeks traveling from Kiev down to Yalta and back and was very pleasantly delighted by the food I encountered. I ate borscht many times. That may sound awful many folks but every time it was different. It was made with and without tomatoes, with lots of cabbage and/or beets or with just a hint of beets, lots of cabbage and - oh well, you get the picture. Always fabulously tasty. I even ate one version that contained prunes. (Sounds horrible - tasted great.)

I always ate the very freshest produce - fabulous salads - and the pickles . . . fantastic. I even had some pickled pig's ear and it was incredibly delicious. Pickled mushrooms of all kinds are available (and I think I tasted them all) for cheaper than cheap. The only thing I didn't eat much of was seafood. It's a problem because all the river fish are contaminated by the Chernoble disaster (even now) and less than desirable sanitary and safety practices. Any seafood available was shipped in frozen. However, what they did with it was commendable. I had some cod-like filet enrobbed in shredded potatoes, sauteed in vegetable oil and sauced with dill, sour cream and a touch of caraway. And of course the smoked whitefish and salmon were out of this world. Ukrainian ice cream and chocolate are also far superior to what's commonly available here in the US. The ice cream and chocolate inexpensively available in a typical Ukrainian supermarket is equivalent to what we in the US pay top dollar for. And their common, everyday bread is what we in the US seek out as "artisanal" bread. Atkins dieters that travel to Ukraine will really be missing out on something fantastic.

Did I mention vodka? How about $2 for a 750 ml bottle? And it's not rotgut - it's actually quite tasty. It must be slightly lower proof though because I managed to consume a significant quantity every evening, not get totally drunk and not have a hangover the next day.

All in all, a wonderful culinary experience. I've got lots more to tell but when it comes to Ukraine there's not much interest. I applaud anyone who's read this far into my ramblings.

"Nasdrovye" (to your good health).

cz

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