France’s prestigious Michelin guide announced on Monday that it will launch its first ratings of Moscow restaurants in 2021.
“The Russian culinary scene has seen new trends emerge over the past 30 years, embodied by talented chefs who are committed to improving the quality of local produce,” Michelin said in a press release.
The guide said that Moscow would be its latest destination after recently expanding to Beijing, Slovenia and California.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin welcomed the news, saying the guide’s arrival in the Russian capital would “open up our city in a new way for both tourists and the Muscovites themselves.”
Michelin said chefs in Russia’s capital had stood out by highlighting the country’s local ingredients – including king crab from the eastern city of Vladivostok and sour cream, the cream used in the preparation of the Stroganoff beef.
In recent years, restaurants in Moscow have increasingly had to rely on local ingredients following Western sanctions – imposed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 – resulting in shortages of many European foods.
A number of restaurants that relied on meat, cheese and fish imported from the West were forced to close, while those who sourced their ingredients from Russian regions became more competitive.
In explaining why it chose Moscow, the guide also quoted the “unique flavors” of “the nation’s emblematic first courses, such as borscht”.
The traditional beetroot and cabbage soup was recently at the center of a geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which plans to submit an application to the UN cultural agency UNESCO next year to list the dish as an intangible part of its cultural heritage.
>> UNESCO lists “ordinary and special” couscous as an intangible world heritage site
( Jowharwith AFP)