Belarusian national cuisine
Belarusian national cuisine has existed for many centuries. It’s influenced by events of the history of Belarus, geographical location, and climate. Agriculture causes using a lot of vegetables in cooking national dishes. Mostly, it was local food that was used in Belarusian cookery but there is a little influence fr om migrants fr om the bordering territories.
History of Belarusian cuisine
Recipes of other nations (Baltic, Jewish, German) appeared in Belarusian cuisine since existing of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. For many centuries Belarusians didn’t consume a lot of meat but they ate lard as the Ukrainians did. It was pickled with its skin. As a substitute for meat there were mushrooms however at that time they were not pickled but dried.
Diary and sweet were almost not consumed in Belarusian cuisine. But there were sweet drinks such as kissel or shortening for a dessert.
Later on Belarusians used more meat in their ration. Usually meat dishes were cooked on holidays. The most popular kinds were pork, beef, poultry and game. Since that time there have been such dishes as machanka, verashchaka, smajanka, home sausages and pickled lard.
River fish was also widely used in national recipes. The most popular species were pike, sturgeon, blackhead, carp, perch, and zander. Soup and dumplings were prepared fr om fish.
Country cuisine was nutritious, simple and fresh. A lot of dishes were served to table being hot. Dishes for princes and gentry were more various and exotic. There were stuffed sanders and delicacy on magnates’ tables.
In Soviet Union times Belarusian cuisine was influenced by other nations. Ukrainian and Caucasian food was served in public places.
In the 20th century a lot of Belarusian dishes were fr om wheat flour but not from rye as it was earlier. There were also a lot of salads.
Modern Belarusian cuisine
Nowadays it’s hard to use the same products as our ancestors did. Some vegetables and beans disappeared from our table. But many dishes have existed so far: pancakes, dumplings, pickles, kvass and beet soups, home sausages, lard, meat dishes.
Potato is an ingredient that exists in many Belarusian dishes. An average Belarusian eats a half of a kilo of potato every day. There are a lot of potato recipes such as draniki, baked puddings, babka, fried and stewed potato.
In Belarus meat is eaten twice as less than in Poland. By the way the most popular meat is not very useful but tasty pork.
- bigos – stewed cabbage with meat;
- kolduny – potato fritters with meat;
- machanka – a sauce from different sorts of meat, served with pancakes;
- smajanka – meat pie.
The most popular modern Belarusian soups are uha, borshch, mushroom and bean soup.
Honey has been popular throughout all the history. Belarussians like pancakes with honey, honey cereals and pies. Soloduha (a sort of pastry), kissel, baked apples were cooked with honey.
Praniki is a sweet flour dish that was originally called “perniki”. People believe that it took its name from pagan times when people worshipped many gods and one of them was Perun, god of the Sun. At that time people brought something to Gods and especially figures of animals from sweet and tasty pastry. Later on the name changed as well as its taste because now they are made from wheat flour but not from rye.
Scientists still argue about the appearance of pancakes. There are several ideas. Some suggest that pancakes were baked from rye kissel. Another believe that the word ‘pancake’ appeared from the word “mlin” (mill). Earlier pancakes were baked from different sorts of flour. Now they are made mostly from wheat flour, yeast, milk, sour cream, kefir. Usually pancakes are eaten with various toppings, jam or honey.
You can taste national recipes at restaurants of Belarusian cuisine wh ere you can find a lot foreign guests who came to our country. There you can taste not only country dishes but also meals from princes’ tables.
There are a lot of farmsteads in Belarus and tourist complexes wh ere you can taste fresh baked bread, meat sausages, home cheeses, desserts from honey and fruits.
In a menu of Belorusian restaurants one can find not only our national cuisine but European, Caucasian and oriental dishes. Dishes cooked according to old recipes can be tasted during an excursion to the Dudutki Museum of ancient crafts, which you can book directly on our website.
However tourists should taste specific belarusian meals such as draniki, borshch, machnka, sour cabbage, pickled cucumbers, lard and national nastoykas.
All Belarusians like nutritious and tasty food. You can make sure if drop in one of the local restaurants.