Foreign Grocery Friday: The Sovietskoe Shampanskoe of the Former Soviet Union
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
This week we're in Tallinn, Estonia, and our selection comes from the liquor aisles in pretty much any supermarket east of Germany, west of Japan and north of China: советское шампанское.
That's "sovietskoe shampanskoe", or "Soviet Champagne," and dates back decades to (you'll be absolutely stunned to know) the Soviet era in Russia and northeastern Europe.
And yes, that's the price in Euros in Tallinn's Viru Keskus supermarket. Keeping it classy with our three-Euro sparkling wine.
The taste: Budget-friendly and plastic-corked, it's sweetto the local taste, since toasty, yeasty, biscuity, almondy fizz isn't particularly popular.
We'll admit to developing a taste for it during a three-week rail trip around Northwest Russia in 2006, above the Arctic Circle where it never gets dark. And if you serve it coldreally cold, in small chilled glassesthere's a certain something to it, sitting outside in the garden at 11pm when it's still light.
The price: It's cheap (just a few Euros in Tallinn).
Where to find it: Tallinn's Viru Keskus supermarket as we said, but it's also produced in Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Latvia and Ukraine.
[Photos: John Walton/Jaunted]