Few have left Moscow without devouring at least one pirozhki. That’s because this traditional snack is as ubiquitous in Moscow as McDonald’s is in the U.S. Boat-shaped buns made from a yeast dough are either baked or fried and amply filled with minced meat, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, scallions, cabbage, and whatever else the chef has on hand. They can even be filled with fruit and jam for a sweet twist on this old staple. Pirozhki is the go-to for Muscovites hankering for good ol’ comfort food.
Ryazhenka is a drink made from baked milk. Yes. Baked milk. Traditionally, milk was baked at a low temperature in a clay pot until it became thick, creamy, and caramel-flavored. The concoction was then left to ferment until it took on a yogurt-like consistency. While no sugar is added, the milk forms natural sugars during the baking process that renders it sweet and silky. Like other fermented products, ryazhenka is touted as extremely healthy despite its dessert-like qualities.
According to legend, the architects of St. Basil’s Cathedral were blinded so the magnificence of the structure could never be replicated. Ivan the Terrible commissioned its construction in the 16th century to celebrate his military victory over the Tartars and the building has since become a symbol of Russia. Its unusual design resembles a fire rising into the sky with eight domed chapels surrounding a spire with a golden dome. Touring the Cathedral offers an excellent historical and cultural overview of both Moscow and Russia.