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France’s prestigious Michelin Guide announced Monday that it will launch its first ratings of Moscow restaurants in 2021.
“The Russian culinary scene has seen new trends appear over the past 30 years, embodied by talented chefs who are committed to enhancing the quality of local products,” 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 that the guide’s arrival in the Russian capital would “open up our city in a new way for both tourists and Muscovites themselves”.
Michelin said that chefs in Russia’s capital had set themselves apart by highlighting the country’s local ingredients — including king crab from the far eastern city of Vladivostok and smetana, the cream used in preparing beef Stroganoff.
In recent years Moscow restaurants have increasingly needed to rely on local ingredients after Western sanctions —imposed following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 — resulted in a scarcity 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 that sourced their ingredients from Russian regions became more competitive.
In explaining why it chose Moscow, the guide also cited the “unique flavours” of the “nation’s emblematic first courses, such as borscht“.
The traditional beetroot and cabbage soup was recently at the centre of a geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which plans to submit an application to the United Nations cultural body UNESCO next year to list the dish as an intangible part of its cultural heritage.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)