Unique guide of the country
Belarusian gastronomic guide, to be unveiled in September, representing all national foods: from potatoes and milk, to meat, berries and fruit
The guide’s authors have been travelling countrywide all summer, studying Belarus’ best products, to make them famous worldwide. The final touch was a sixth gastronomic expedition to study potatoes and pleurotus mushrooms.
Gastronomic Expeditions launched several months ago, investigating six Belarusian regions, and discovering more than fifteen foods. Participants studied not only recognised national brands, such as Belarusian meat, milk and cheeses, but the relatively unusual, including mutton, spices and herbs. These tours will result in a gastronomic map featuring all cult products.
The gastronomic guide should help make Belarusian foods become better known internationally. The fulfilment of the project involves the study of the most famous of Belarusian foods: potatoes. Participants visited Vasilishki farm, in the Grodno Region, where eight of the most popular sorts are grown across 150 hectares, including Manifest potatoes and tasty Rogneda.
“We supply our potatoes countrywide, as well as exporting them,” says Serekhan Vladmir, Director of Vasilishki OJSC. “We grow more than 5,000 tonnes of potatoes annually.”
So many of Belarus’ traditional dishes are cooked from potatoes. Simply boiling them and sprinkling with dill is delicious. Of course, certain varieties are suited to various cooking techniques, and have their own flavour.
Pleurotus mushrooms have been ‘discovered’ at one of the country’s largest mushroom farms, Ekogriby, which grows them for sale domestically and abroad. Harvests are collected every day, with monthly output exceeding six tonnes. The enterprise was one of the first in Belarus to grow this variety of mushroom, using in-house technology. Half of the mushrooms are exported to Russia, with the remainder supplied to domestic stores and processing factories, where they are used in soups and salads and are pickled.
Lebedka Lodge was the final destination of the Gastronomic Expeditions, where hostess Yadviga Shirokaya gave a cooking master class of traditional Belarusian dishes. “Potatoes and mushrooms are traditional Belarusian foods. Today, we’re going to cook potatoes with pleurotus and chanterelles. Let’s add spices, herbs and vegetables. The recipe is simple, but the dish is delicious. These are customary foods cooked from high-quality natural ingredients,” she tells us.
By Vladimir Velikhov