Blog image

Locally Made in Moscow

November 2015

By Maria Petrova, Moscow

During this year, the sanctions Russia imposed against European food suppliers have been hurting the Muscovites accustomed to eating almost any delicacy from anywhere in the world.  The country completely banned the supply of meat, meat products, seafood, milk and dairy products, vegetables, nuts and fruits, yogurt and cheese from the EU.

Cheese is the product my friends and I miss the most, and social media is full of photos of shopping abroad for Parmesan, Brie, and Camembert.  The cheese shopping spree also causes worry if the customs confiscate it, should the amount appear unreasonably large. 

I have been continuously searching for substitutes of imported products, and while many locally-made hard cheeses still resemble plastic and clay, I was amazed when I tried a Russian version of genuine Brie cheese while visiting relatives at the Russian Black Sea coast.  Kalorya, a private cheese producer from Southern region of Krasnodar manage to make such high-quality product that the company is allowed to export it abroad.  The Brie tastes even better than the original French version due to its freshness.

This September, at the international investment forum in Sochi, Kalorya presented several types of its cheese and milk products, all of them were delicious! I hope the company supplies its products to more Moscow supermarket chains, which still lack quality cheese. 

Another surprise this summer was Burrata cheese, which is made from mozzarella and cream.  Burrata has a very short life span and has to be eaten very quickly.  In its country of origin, Italy, it is also not readily available everywhere.  However, a Russian cheese factory from the Tver region makes Konakovsky, one of the tastiest burratas.

The best company for cheese - imported wine - doubled in price, following depreciation of the Russian currency, the ruble.  It also encouraged supermarkets to sell the most basic wines from Chili, Australia, and Montenegro.  Russian wine producers see this as an opportunity for expansion.  The major sparkling wine producer Abrau Durso started production of still wines.  I first saw it in the shopping mall GUM, which overlooks the Red Square. 

Burnier, a Russian vineyard with Swiss investors, makes high quality wines, including the ones from native Russian grape Krasnostop, which I became very fond of recently.  However, outside the region of production, it could be bought mostly from the online shops, while the main supermarket chains keep selling cheap Chilean wine.  I am also planning to try wine from the Vedernikov estate which was tipped as one of the best in Russia by the head of the Association of Winemakers.

Meanwhile in the world of cosmetics, Natura Siberica, a Russian producer of organic hair products and skin care, is expanding abroad.  I remember seeing its first boutique shop in central Moscow and this summer was surprised to find it in duty free in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.  According to its web site, it can also be bought in London's Harrods and WholeFood Market.  Colorful with accurate ornament packaging distinguishes the brand.  It has the appeal of designer products, but with the low price tag, what makes it not easy to stop trying its numerous scrubs, shampoos and creams.  Created with herbal extracts from Siberia it promises to add “strength and energy of wildlife” to your hair.  The smell is also more subtle than mass market shampoos. 

Smaller regional newly discovered brands of food and wine are the ones I plan to remain faithful to in 2016, wine estate even if the imported goods make their way back to Moscow.  I hope the financial crisis combined with sanctions, would still be an opportunity for Russian made products, and they could be exported and distributed in globally.


Domnestically made Burrata from Russia
GUM shopping mall faces Red Square
Abrau Durso: Producer of Russian still wines

Subscribe Form