Russian ice cream – A Soviet Taste

Russians are great consumers of ice creams, they really love sweets in general and they can go for an ice cream in any season no matter how cold it is. Last weekend Saint Petersburg held the Festival of ice cream and it was clear how much Russians enjoy this dessert. The streets around Екатерининский сквер (Ekaterininskii skver) were packed with people, there were long lines at the kiosks and most Russians went home with one or two boxes of ice cream.

The taste of Russian ice cream is really a special one. It’s much more creamy than the one which we are used to in the West because it contains more fat. It has a standard Soviet taste that evokes a nostalgic feeling in Russians. The standard flavour is the result of a particular policy introduced by the Soviet union about the production of ice cream.

After Anastas Mikoyan, the Russian Ministry of Food Supply, had visited the United States he decided to open the first ice cream factory in the USSR in 1936. They wanted to create a mass product at affordable prices for common people. In 1941 they introduced the acronym of GOST (Gosudarstvenny Standart) that involved strict state standards to regulate the process and quality of the final product. Consequently the taste of every different kind of ice cream ended up being the same in every city, so the standard one and therefore the nostalgic one.

That doesn’t means that the ice creams were boring or unhealthy, since the standards involved the use of natural products during the process and no chemical additions.

Nowadays you can still find the most popular kinds of ice cream in Russia and in many cases they still preserve the old flavour.

One of the most popular ice cream is пломбир (plombir) that is usually wrapped in a simple package, and whose name comes from the French “glace Plombière”. During the Soviet period it was considered really expensive: the price was 48 kopecks for 250-gram ice cream. At that time this was considered a portion for an entire family and it was often served with jam or grated chocolate.

The famous and exotic image of a penguin used to advertise эскимо (eskimo), ice cream on a stick covered by a chocolate or flavoured shell. Is was named after the indigenous people of the Northern countries. The most popular and at the same time rare variety was the chestnut- flavoured Kashtan; when this one appeared in a shop generally they immediately run out of it.

Then there is the most original and rare два в одном (two in a one), that consisted of ice cream and cake in the same package, in a waffle cone.

Лакомка (Lakomka), a tube-shape waffle containing ice cream, that was really loved by children. It has a particular taste because its white or chocolate ice cream contains 12 percent cream. They usually applied a milk chocolate glaze to the regular one, while the “shelkunchik” (nutcracker) lakomka was covered in crushed nuts.

The most loved flavours has always been пломбир (plombières), сливочное (creamy, cream), молочное (milk ice cream), ванильное (vanilla), крем-брюле (crème brulee), шоколадное (chocolate), кофейное (coffee) and cо вкусом сгущённого молока (sweetened condensed milk flavored ). Instead fruit-flavored ice creams were the least popular and the cheapest one. Фруктово-ягодное (fruit and berry), Сорбет (sorbet), Фруктовый лёд (fruit ice popsicle, fruit bar) and the attractive yellow pineapple-flavoured ice cream were the most common ones. The ice creams comes в вафельном стаканчике (in a waffle cup), в пластиковом стаканчике (in a plastic cup), в вафельном рожке (in a waffle cone), на палочке (on a stick), в ведре/ведёрке (in a little bucket) or between two waffles, мороженое-сэндвич (ice cream sandwich).

These typical Russian ice creams can be found everywhere from the street kiosks and small produkty to the big supermarket. If you are in Moscow one of the best ice cream is the one from GUM (Main Department store) on the Red Square. They have 8 different flavours served in a waffle cone and I really suggest you try the blueberry besides the regular ones. There you can find also many Russians who use to go and have good ice cream in GUM during their work break.

Written by Jessica Carrettiero

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