On the Diplomat Day, the Moscow Country Club (an affiliate of GlavUpDK under the MFA of Russia) hosted the 21st Winter Diplomatic Games and the Taste of the Arctic gastro fest.
The participants got a chance to taste the most popular dishes originated from the Russian North, with ingredients delivered specially from the northern regions, along with more than 50 Arctic foods and drinks offered by outstanding regional chefs. This is not coincidental as Russia is chairing the Arctic Council in 2021-2023.
The incredible tastes of the Arctic were presented by Ekaterina Shapovalova, initiator and manager of the Food Map of Russia, who created 34 mobile festivals of regional cuisine from the Arctic to the Far East and was awarded the Governmental Tourism Award in 2022, while foreign diplomats from 24 countries were able to enjoy offerings from the best Arctic chefs and owners of restaurants, which became real tourist attractions in Russia.
Some of them are Svetlana Kozeyko, owner and chef, Murmanchane restaurant (Saint Petersburg), Sergey and Yulia Biskaleev, owners, Teribersky Bereg Resort (Teriberka, Murmansk Region), Maksim Galetsky, chef, Meridian Congress Hotel (Murmansk), Olga Belonogova, founder and brand chef, V Karelii Est Museum and Restaurant (Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia), Aleksey Ermakov, owner and chef, Yagelsky gastro-bar at Salma Ski Resort (Polyarnye Zori, Murmansk Region), Ekaterina and Georgy Mun, owners, Taste of the Arctic – Friend Chef (a mobile Arctic kitchen at Bolshoy Vudyavr Ski Resort (Kirovsk, Murmansk Region)), Nikolay and Valeria Atlasova, co-owners, Atlasov Estate Ethno Resort (Yakutsk), Andrey and Olga Chernysheva, owners, Taste of the Arctic – Mr. Black mobile Arctic kitchen, Vadim Gladyshev, chef, Pochtovaya Kontora Pomor restaurant (Arkhangelsk).
The program also involved EkoNiva, the largest milk producer in Russia and Europe, and Sugreff Tea House/Tea Ethno Project (Moscow). One of the venues was designed by ABC of the Russian Style, a non-profit project for the preservation and development of Russian traditions (Moscow).
And that’s not all! Many of the chefs were accompanied by children, so family traditions of Russian culinary arts were shown to be quite vivid. “The youngest participant of our festival is one year old! When our children take part in festivals and field events together with us, our energy and interest are certainly growing greater and greater. This is what drives us, indeed, as our children will cook food for your children. I’m sure that we are simply obliged to support business owners who welcome their guests personally and meet them in the hall and those who are involved in business and stand at the stove. We should support those who build long-term businesses that will be inherited by children. I hope that this will be a new trend in tourism and hospitality. This is one of the criteria for my guide”, said Ekaterina Shapovalova.
Naturally, hot dishes, e.g., Arctic fish soup with Murmansk salmon, crab meat, northern shrimp and cod, Valaam shchi (cabbage soup), amazing Pomor zaeburikha (ragout) of cod, potatoes, carrots and onions, and northern pearl barley, venison cowberry pilaf, were especially popular at outdoor entrainments.
At the Food on Wheels food truck, the guests were able to enjoy Arctic fast food, such as small crab pies.
Yes, dishes with traditional fish, such as sheefish, broad whitefish and cod, are essential for the northern cuisine. So, the guests also tasted sliced frozen meat or fish and weird Indigirka salad served by co-owners of the Atlasov Estate Ethno Resort Nikolay and Valeria Atlasov (Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)) originating from the family who founded the first Stroganina Center in Russia and the world. The fest menu also included vendace served on Borodinsky dark rye bread, fresh Murmansk cod and cowberry suguday on algae chips, plus some dishes with cod liver, northern wolffish/halibut and caviar. There were also rye flour potato pies as essential northern pastry.
Besides fish menu, the guests were also offered venison, corned beef, and Khibiny sausages.
The friendship between GlavUpDK and the Food Map project is not accidental. In accordance with the order of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, the events for the foreign diplomatic community aim to promote the values and culture of our multinational country, intangible heritage of the Russian cuisine, cooking traditions of Russia, and unique food resources. Ekaterina Shapovalova, the author of Hospitality Recipes dedicated to the 100th anniversary of GlavUpDK, an awardee of the Governmental Tourism Award, initiator and manager of the National Food Map Project, has been a partner and the guru in this aspect since 2019. Over these years, on the initiative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, GlavUpDK has organized dozens of presentations and information campaigns to promote Arctic cuisine; they include presentations on the tourism/food potential of the Murmansk Region given at the MFA of Russia and introduction of Arctic foods in the catering for the diplomatic corps.
Jointly, we have achieved practical results for the goals of federal significance, including those set by executive orders of President of Russia Vladimir Putin, such as support to Russian entrepreneurs and involvement of the creative class (e.g., regional cooks and unique food producers) to enable their self-fulfilment.