Being an expat comes with its own challenges – new people, new culture around, and of course new food! No surprise that we sometimes feel homesick and miss our native cuisine.
I am of Russian origin myself and after over 6 years that I have lived abroad I still have periods of craving my granny’s hand pies, typical Russian (or actually Soviet Union) table settings for New Years Eve and traditional feasts.
Of course you can cook it all yourself living here in Zurich – even Russian salad and our all time favourite yogurt-like drink “Kefir” can be found here in local stores. But still, most of Russian food is very time-consuming to cook, and often it’s just not the same.
So, when you are suddenly invited to a Russian Food Party, you know you can’t miss it!
The invitation already says it all – dress to impress! My Russian imagination immediately started to draw images of gorgeous women at full parade, wearing long evening gowns, spontaneous wild dancing on the tables, and rivers of alcohol pouring into endless glasses – and yes, this is exactly how Russian people party – everything just has to be a bit over the top. And of course the food! Mmm, Russian salad – bring it on! Borsch, lots of meat, roasted potatoes, hand pies, sour cabbage and pickled cucumbers – you name it!
In fact, the Russian Food Party event, hosted at Palavrion Restaurant in Zurich on June 30th, turned out something quite different – but definitely not less exciting!
The event, organised by Swissglam in cooperation with Palavrion restaurant and Swiss sponsoring ventures, including Farmy https://www.farmy.ch, was aimed to bring together the Russian community, living in Zurich area. It is a great idea to create a networking platform for the Russian expatriates as well as to introduce Palavrion cuisine and Movenpick Food product range to a wider audience.
The party was kicked off with welcoming drinks and snacks. I was touched to my heart to see traditional Russian “Sushki” (don’t confuse them with sushi, they are quite different :)) – these are small round super dry crackers, which are the true childhood memory of every Russian person. One could break his teeth trying to bite on them, but they are lovely, believe me!
We then switched from sushki to a rich choice of appetisers. Mini pizzas, guacamole with nachos and variety of fresh vegetables served on ice – you could enjoy all these generously, complimenting with a glass of lemonade or something stronger. The appetisers were quite of the international origin, but this also reflects the spirit of Russian people – we are quite gastronomically curious!
The next wave of food was served truly impressively! The tables by the open kitchen were covered with delicious food, and you could help yourself with all sorts of dishes directly onto your plate. The great thing about the party was that the guests were actively encouraged to participate in serving the dishes. The tasks ranged from slicing vegetables to artfully throwing edible flowers on salmon and dressing it with spoonfools of caviar – to the delight of their friends taking pictures and waiting to try everything!
Here you could try salted salmon with red caviar, heart shaped tartar with pickled bell peppers and beets, traditional Russian fried pies with meat called “Chebureki” and baked camembert cheese with apricots and arugula. Meat was cooked on the open fire and every Russian was happy to taste all time favourite pork “Shashlik”. Among the vegetarian options you could enjoy avocado tartar and grilled veggies.
You could feel that the main approach was to wow the public and it certainly worked! Fireworks next to meat, flames of open fire and rounds of vodka shots – all this created a great atmosphere of intentional cuisines fusion with a recognisable tint of Russian tradition.
Jungle Dessert Show deserves special mentioning. Think clouds of mysterious smoke from dry ice hiding the dessert to tease the guests and chefs expertly working on fluffy marshmallows and rich homemade creme brulee with the gas torches. Later, the cleared air revealed decadent chocolate mousse with red currants, brownies and pineapples – the choice was really hard! For the true Russian sweet teeth marshmallow Russian way called “Zefir” and a so close to heart chocolate waffle cake were served. Compliment these with popular Russian music hits and you will get the atmosphere of overwhelming celebration!
Russian Food Parties are now held every month in Zurich. Make sure to get your ticket at https://www.swissglam.ch and, as we say in Russian, “Na zdorovie!”