Market stalls filled overflowing with pickled vegetables. Deliciously dark rye bread. European-style cafes with good coffee and tooth-achingly sweet desserts. Endless traffic.
Women walking their daily commute in 4 inch heels.
“Asian” restaurants that serve Georgian food, not Chinese.
And my favorite VSF find… herbal tea, everywhere!
I recently spent a few days in Moscow, and was captivated by the contrasts of the city. Here are a few of my favorite finds.
Herbal tea? Who cares!
Can’t understand why I’m so excited about the herbal tea I found everywhere in Moscow?
Herbs were used for thousands of years for health, wellness and healing. It’s how Great-Grandma would have treated many ailments. And prior to Starbucks and PG Tips, herbal teas were what people drank for everyday refreshment. (Oh, and probably vodka, in Russia at least, but that’s a post for another time…)
The thing is, in the US and UK, we’ve largely forgotten this tradition. Apart from the occasional chamomile or peppermint tea, we’ve kind of left herbal teas behind.
But not in Moscow. Almost every restaurant had a “tea menu” which a selection of FRESH herbal teas!
Of course they had green tea, and green tea with mint.
But they also had rosehip.
They had thyme tea. (Note to self: drink this next time you have a cold!)
And even sea buckthorn!
Anyway, I find this so exciting because it means that this vintage knowledge of enjoying herbal tea for health is still alive and well in Russia.
Next stop: the grocery store.
Aside from food markets (my first stop in any new country), I also like to visit a grocery store to see what kind of foods are on offer.
Food gives you such insight into local culture (hmmm… just think of the impression that American grocery stores, with their endless selection of packaged goods, give to visitors!)
In this grocery store I found tons of cheeses and yogurts, caviar (of course), tons of tinned fish, and a huge array of preserved fruits and jams … including preserved rose petals in syrup. Yum.
Elsewhere in food… I ate tons of beets, rye bread, and had a delicious bowl of lentils and bacon topped with coriander (cilantro), I’m going to try to recreate this one! I also saw tons of kefir, which is a fermented milk drink … I need to try to make this too, it’s a bit like Kombucha, but with milk.
We took the metro (subway) everywhere in Moscow – much faster than sitting in endless traffic jams. A side benefit is that the metro is gorgeous – chandeliers and artwork in many of the stations. It’s not new – but it’s efficient and easy to use.
We also took a tour of the Kremlin Armory which was AMAZING, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Unfortunately, they did not allow cameras inside – but the display of the Tsars’ horse-drawn carriages and sleighs alone was worth the price of admission. Not to mention the armour, gems, silver, fabrege eggs and historical clothing. If you’re in Moscow, it’s a must-visit.
Have you been to Moscow? Have any great finds to share?
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