Dairy products. Russian people historically have consumed a great number of different kinds of dairy products. The most ancient of them (besides milk itself) is smetana – a cultured milk product from sour cream. It is mostly used as a dressing for soups and salads, but sometimes it is just eaten with a spoon.
Cultured milk products and cheeses are widely available on the Russian menu. Some products might have a strange taste for inexperienced consumers. Ryazhenka, kefir, tvorog, varenets… all of them are healthy and enjoyed by Russians.
And a product as interesting as condensed (concentrated) milk with sugar, a tasty heritage of the Soviet era, in colloquial Russian called sgushenka – can be a fun and interesting souvenir, if you manage to take it across the border. In Russia people not only add sgushenka to coffee, drink it with spoons, and drink directly from a small hole in its tin can, but also boil it. It is boiled in its can, without opening it. The process takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. The most important thing is not to forget to switch off the burner, since a tin can left on a burning stove may explode. Cleaning the condensed milk off of the kitchen’s walls and ceiling is almost as painstaking as newly renovating them. Cooked condensed milk changes its color to brown (light or dark brownish) and gives it an inimitable taste. Seriously, it is impossible to describe if you have never tasted it. Just call it the taste of cooked condensed milk. It is used to prepare homemade cakes, sweets and pastries. But most importantly, it is eaten with a spoon right out of the can.
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