Voices From Russia, Too

Saturday, 29 October 2011

29 October 2011. No Words Necessary… Our Great Russian Motherland… Buryatia

Cathedral of the Icon of the Mother of GodHodigitria

Ulan Ude (Republic of Buryatia. Siberian Federal District) RF

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29 October 2011. It’s Colour Season in the Rodina, Too!

Minsk BYELORUSSIA

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Minsk BYELORUSSIA

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Kolomenskoye Museum Preserve

Moscow (Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal District) RF

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29 October 2011. A Russian POV… Some Amazin’ Things About Candy…

Filed under: Food/Cooking — 01varvara @ 00.00
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The very first candy appeared in Egypt. Because sugar wasn’t known at that time, they used dates and honey as sweetening agents. In the ancient Middle East, candy was made from almonds and figs; in ancient Rome, they combined roasted nuts and poppy seeds with honey and covered it all with sesame seeds. There was also candy in ancient Rus, made with sweet birch sap, treacle, and honey.

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The most unjustly maligned sweet is chocolate. In Europe, in the 16th century, during the first chocolate craze, people attributed magical and medicinal properties to it. Naturally, since these expectations weren’t fulfilled, they began to consider it the source of virtually all ills. One young woman wrote to her friend, “I advise you not to eat any more chocolate. A friend ate it during her pregnancy and she gave birth to a completely black child.”

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Romantic people prefer strawberry candy, that’s according to German psychologists. By the way, the bold go for cherry fillings, shy shrinking violets like nuts (the food, that is), and creative sorts have a yen for coconut.

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At the beginning of the 19th century, every rich and noble lady discreetly hid some of the candy laid out on the table in her handbag at dinner receptions. The explanation for this “thievery” is simple, really… in Russia, at that time, there were no confectionery shops, and the candies for the dinner parties were prepared by pastry chefs according to their own recipes, which were strictly secret.

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The praline is another famous candy, being invented in 1663. A pastry chef cooked them specifically for the French Ambassador to the German Emperor, and pralines are still a most popular confection in Germany and Switzerland.

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Master Food Company produced the largest box of chocolates for an international cooking show. The box was 1.5 metres (5 feet) high and 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) in length, holding 800 kilogrammes (1,764 pounds) of chocolates!

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The biggest individual confection was a Gummi Bear nicknamed Hagi-Boy, which was 1.68 metres (5.5 feet) tall and weighed 633 kilos (1,396 pounds), made by the Haribo Gummi Bear Factory. It required a special mould that weighed 4 tonnes (4.4 tons), and it took two weeks for the fruit candy solution to fully gel. After that, the giant sweet was removed from the form and it was polished until it shone. Here’s some trivia… there’s a mixed drink named after Gummi Bears… NO LIE. In Austria and Switzerland, it is called Gummibärli. You make it with vodka and Red Bull and it has the typical Gummi Bear flavour.

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Lollipops are the most “cosmic” sweet. In 1995, the Russian cosmonauts on the Mir space station asked mission control to send them some candy. The MCC decided that the safest candy in a weightless state would be lollipops. Cosmonauts with lollipops shot a video for a commercial for the company Chupa Chups, pointing up it was the world’s only confection popular not only on Earth but in outer space.

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As for the most unusual sweets in the world, it’s got to be the candy from Finland. Finns make sour (not sweet), salty (for beer), and even oily confections!

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One of the most famous Soviet candies was Птичье молоко (Ptichye moloko: Bird’s Milk). Initially it was formed around a cake and it was made by the ROT FRONT plant. The secret ingredient was agar-agar gelatin, extracted from seaweed. incidentally, agar-agar’s also used for finishing fabrics.

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Friday, 28 October 2011

28 October 2011. A Russian POV… Some Amazin’ Things About Vodka…

Russians believe that vodka is the purest alcoholic beverage in the world…

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Did you know that a litre (33.8 fluid ounces) of vodka weighs 953 grammes (2.1 pounds)?

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On 22 August 1941, Resolution nr 56200 of the State Defense Committee mandated that all the front-line fighters in the army would receive 100 grammes (3.5 fluid ounces) of vodka daily.

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Before drinking it, you should chill vodka to at least 8-10 degrees (46-50 degrees Fahrenheit). The colder you chill vodka, the more you can hide “off” tastes, so, unscrupulous watering-holes will serve poor quality rotgut vodka at very cold temperatures.

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Vodka came to Russia in 1429 from… ITALY! YOU GOT IT! Those Guinea party-animals taught us Russkies how to make and drink vodka! We’ve not looked back since…

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Vodka is at its best within 12 months of its manufacture… don’t say that I didn’t warn ya…

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