Author: Ricky Rios, Admissions Coordinator
I think we can all agree that food tops the chart for what people are most excited about when they travel abroad. Generally, Europe is known for all its delectable and elegant pastries, and Russia is no exception. One of the most popular desserts in Russia is the ptichye moloko or Bird’s Milk Cake – a souffle-like, chocolate-glazed cake inspired by the popular Polish candy ptasie mleczko.
Ptichye moloko was first created in 1978 by Vladimir Guralnik, the pastry chef of Praga: a restaurant in Moscow. The name references an old folklore about a Slavic princess who would ask her suitors to fetch bird’s milk (impossible to find) to test their worthiness. The cake lived up to the rarity associated with its name as no one had tasted anything like it before, and for a long time, it could only be found at Praga. At its peak in the 80s, Guralnik was making nearly 600 cakes a day. Despite the country’s financial deficit and economic hardships, demand for the cake swept throughout Moscow and beyond. Now, ptichye moloko is mass-produced and mock attempts have been made in kitchens all across Russia.
If you find yourself in Moscow you must visit Praga, which is located in the Arbat District, a 10-minute walk from The State Museum of Oriental Art. (Side note, the famous Russian playwright Anton Chekhov regularly dined here!) To make this delicious cake yourself, here’s an easy recipe that stays true to its origins: Ptchye Moloko Russia Beyond Recipe.
Check out CIEE’s attempt at this scrumptious delicacy!