The Food of Ukraine


Ukraine is a nation that has experienced a great deal in its short history. From the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, to the rebirth of Ukraine as a democratic and European-oriented state, the country has seen some very high points and some extremely low ones.

The current crisis that is threatening the country’s territorial integrity, has refocused the world’s attention on Ukraine and its people. This renewed focus has led to a rise in support of Ukrainian independence from Western leaders and the public, as well as an increase in foreign investment. In turn, this has brought in a flood of new and popular Ukrainian food items to the global market.

As Ukraine struggles with Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it is worth remembering the country’s deep and storied history. The country has a rich culture that has endured for centuries, despite attempts by the Russian and Soviet governments to suppress its expressions.

A number of popular dishes have come from the Ukraine, including borscht – a straightforward soup made with meat or bone broth, saute veggies, and fermenting beet juice. It’s often served alongside savory yeast bread known as pampushki. Another popular dish is holubtsi, a traditional Ukrainian cabbage roll that can be filled with meat or other vegetables.

Another classic dish is koliva, a mixture of cooked wheat kernels, syrup, sugar, sesame seeds, walnuts, raisins, anise, and pomegranate seeds. It’s a traditional meal for funerals, memorials, Lent, Slava, or Christmas in the Orthodox Christian religion because it represents crucifixion and resurrection. The dish is typically garnished with powdered sugar and served in a mug.

Ukrainian cuisine also includes a variety of desserts, many of which are sweet and delicious. Deruny, or potato pancakes, are a staple at Ukrainian restaurants and cafes and can be filled with a variety of different fillings. Piroshki, a dish similar to dumplings, are baked or fried dough that can be filled with mashed potatoes and fried onions, boiled ground meat with fried onions, liver and fried onions, quark, or sweet fruits like strawberries.

A great way to wash down all that food is with a good glass of vodka, and the Ukraine has some fantastic options. Khortysta is a renowned distillery that makes some of the most popular vodkas in the world and their grain, rye, and wheat vodkas are smooth with just the right amount of bite. There’s even a ginger honey version!