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What do all these three have in common? RUSSIA! My heart is in Russia after a dreary week in one of the coldest climates anywhere.

I can do coffee everyday – all day. After the fall of Communism, the “new” super wealthy  or what I like to say the “New Tsarz ” longed for more western style living, but in Russian fashion.  Restaurants, tea houses, coffee houses are just a few of the newer luxury like places to go to for a night out.

Now, my kind of date could be Champagne with your coffee and ice cream at the local coffee-house. I may have to try that one here in North Carolina. I have yet to see your average Starbucks coffee shop with bottles of champagne – so I will leave that on the comment card next time. But seriously,”shampanskoye” is produced in about a dozen factories in Russia. Cold in Russia? yes! but with coffee in one hand and the other champagne? – that calls for a toast. Any occasion is the right time for the bubbly in Russia and in America newly married; new-born baby; new home; new car; CHEERS! It is the drink of joy, maybe some argue that it may replace vodka but fat chance. Champagne sales in Russia in 2008 last count – a whopping 339 million bottles and Vodka sales – 1.8 billion. Sources say that Vodka consumption is between 34-50 bottles a person in Russia. That’s a lot of drinking…I won’t go there and say there are many problems as a result of the large consumption, but this is not a blog about the warnings of drinking. I mean, you can’t think of Russia without thinking about Vodka, cold, and Borscht.

Okay back to coffee, ice cream and champagne – Russians may know how to drink their Vodka and Champagne, now Russians are learning to take their cues from Juan Valdez. For convenience, the Russians like the instant coffee- if you know me-this is a huge no-no. BUT, there is a trend moving towards fresh coffee.  According to Euromonitor International, the trend is slow, and as more coffee houses start to pop up there will be an upturn toward the fresh bean and this rising western influence is not lost on the Russian market. I’d love to see Juan and his sack of Columbian coffee beans with his mule, Conchita, in Russia -no?

Like champagne and vodka, ice cream is right up there – who knew. Ice cream and Russia – the two together sound chilling. The Russian ice cream is not as creamy as in the West. Sold everywhere from kiosks to restaurants, this treat is more ice than dairy. Next time you have coffee, ice cream and Champagne (perhaps at the next wedding you attend) give a shout out to Russia and raise your cup or glass and say “Chtob vse byli zdorovy” — “Let everybody be healthy !! Now those are some words we can all live by.

Do vstrechi- see you later!

Russian Tea Room! I would love to do someday - one in NYC



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