The XXII Olympic Winter games are approaching with dates from February 7-23, 2014. While most of us are anticipating watching the bob sleighs, cross country, free-style skating and more on the tube, there are the lucky few preparing to find their way to Sochi, Russia. It’s an awesome opportunity to be a spectator at the first time Russian event. While the Olympics will take up most of the time there, it’s good to know the culture and food in the region.
Sochi spreads across the Black Sea, approximately 2,200 miles of coastline, and offers a wealth of history and culture. With a history of ancient migration going through the region including Asians, Russians and Ancient Greeks, Sochi’s flavorful food has a mixed plate of spices, herbs and delicacies. Most fare includes Georgian cuisine, but it’s also possible to sink your teeth into other savory fare:
Uzbek cuisine usually consists of stews, porridges, broths and soups. Plov or pilaf in what may be familiar to many of us, contain nuts, dried fruits, meats and chickpeas. Flatbread is a common daily fare as well as chickpea bread and pancakes. Kebobs, found everywhere usually contain mutton, liver, beef or chicken.
Georgian cuisine is hearty fare and quite specific to the area within each region. Most common is the cheese bread or also called khachapuri. It is a delicious bread filled with cheese and baked in a tome. There are different breads and all are influenced by Turkish or Middle Eastern flavors. Khinkali is a Georgian dumpling filled with spicy meat, herbs and onions. In order to keep the juices from surfacing, it’s best to slurp out the broth on the first bite. It is sometimes served with a tomato sauce or a white sauce.
Don’t forget to try satsivi as an appetizer. It is much like a pesto or tahini concocted with nuts, herbs and garlic.
A Mediterranean influence is rooted in soups, stews and pasta dishes. Many of the ingredients are similar to a Mediterranean diet using nuts, spices, herbs with lots of garlic and onion. It’s common to find many mouth watering vegetarian dishes as well.
Beverages that are enticing are local beer, flavored soda, tea and vodka. Tea fields are everywhere. Since the climate is so cold, pesticides are not needed and the tasty tea has almost a natural sweet flavor. Sochi hopes to get the word out about their tea during the Winter Olympics.
USAToday; Sports; Sochi Prepares to Wow the World with Tea
‘Top ten Dishes to Try in Sochi’; Russia and India Report