This is a start of our new series called "Food and Culture", which aims at exploring various countries / regions around the world by examining the traditions and culture of a region through the lens of its food and music.
This event is for those members who like to try different cuisines and explore cultures and traditions in the company of other passionate members with the same aim.
Our first destination to explore is Russia, and we have chosen the unique and authentic dining experience of the Russia House, located on the corner of Connecticut and Florida in the DuPont Circle neighborhood as our venue of choice for hosting this event.
Reminiscent of the era of the Tsars, this place offers a Russian-European elegance of ambiance and a great place to savor the traditional Russian cuisine, with a variety of about 200 different brands of Vodka, Wines from Georgia and an special evening of live musical performance of traditional, folk and modern Russian music.
So what are some of the most common traditional foods ?
Borshch is beet soup, and one of the most famous Russian traditional foods. Beets seem a strange base for soup to many Westerners, but there are plenty of reasons that this hearty soup is one of Russia’s most famous dishes. Full of vegetables and meat, the layered flavors in this soup are especially nice with a dollop of fresh sour cream.
Pirozhki are little pastries packed full of potatoes, meat, lamb (baranina) cabbage, or cheese.
Caviar often served on dark, crust bread or with blini which are like pancakes or crepes. Caviar on buttered bread is a popular zakuska (term for little bites)
Pelemeni are pastry dumplings filled typically with meatballs. They can be served alone, slathered in butter and topped with sour cream, or in a soup broth. Definitely a favorite in Russia and abroad
Smetana, is a sour cream accompanying almost any Russian traditional food—with crepes, in soups, and even sometimes in dessert. Often, this sour cream is fresh and often melts into any warm dish, adding to its distinctive flavor.
A brief introduction to the Music of Russian
Russian music went through a long history, beginning from ritual folk song and the sacred music of the Russian Orthodox Church. The 19th century saw the rise of highly acclaimed Russian classical music, and in 20th century major contributions by various composers such as Igor Stavinsky, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Vladimir Vavilov while the modern styles of Russian popular music developed, including Russian rock and Russian pop.
Russian pop music is well developed, and enjoys mainstream success via pop music media such as MTV Russia, Muz TV and various radio stations. A number of pop artists have broken through in recent years. The Russian duet t.A.T.u is the most successful Russian pop band of its time having reached number one in many countries around the world, with several of their singles and albums. Other popular artists include the Eurovision 2008 winner Dima Bilan, as well as Philipp Kirkorov, Vitas and Alsou.
Our evening music performance shall feature violinist Rafael Javadov who is a soloist, arranger and a Musical Director of "Acoustic Machine," a group which was created as a result of a spontaneous fusion of European, African and Latin notions. The group has a unique dimensional style that fluctuates from a tight beat to jazz and elevates to complexity of a classical composition. He has also played in one of the top Ukrainian Symphony (Dnepropetrovsk) after graduating from world renowned Special Tchaikovsky Music School.
Rafael will make a special performance for our group, of traditional, classical and modern Russian songs as we nosh through the traditional Russian cuisine.
As with our group, you pay no additional charges, other than pay for your own dinner and drinks. However, the only request we make is that you be responsible in your RSVP's as no shows and late cancellations prevent others on the wait list of a spot and make these events difficult to organize.
A link to the Dinner menu - http://www.russiahouselounge.com/menu.html