Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe, with an area of about 239,000 square miles (606,000 km2). It is bordered by Russia to the west and northwest, Belarus to the north and northeast, Poland and Slovakia to the south, Hungary to the east, and Romania to the west. It is a member of the European Union and NATO, as well as the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
Traditional Ukrainian food is rooted in ancient peasant cuisine based on wheat, grains, and staple vegetables like potato, cabbage, mushrooms and beets. In the modern era, it has grown to include influences from other countries, including Ashkenazi Jewish food traditions and European techniques.
Soups are a staple of Ukraine’s cuisine, particularly borshch and kapusniak (also known as kalach or kokoshka). The latter is often a thick stew that can contain beets. Other soups are based on sauerkraut or other veggies.
Bread is important in Ukrainian cuisine, with most dishes containing some form of bread or other wheat product. It can be made in many different forms, such as babka, a sweet dough with raisins; and korovai, which is braided into a ring shape and often has decorations on top.
Other types of bread are nalepky and pamir, thin pancakes that have been stuffed with meat, cheese, onions and fruits. They are usually accompanied by sour cream and mayonnaise.
Pickled foods are also an important part of the diet, with a variety of dill pickles and sour beet pickles being popular. These can be eaten on their own or in various salads and sauces.
Varieties of wine are also important in Ukrainian culture, with a wide variety of grapes growing and producing wines. The best known are Aligote, Muscat, Isabella, Traminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Rkatsiteli, but there are a number of other varieties as well.
Vegetables are an important component of Ukrainian cuisine, with dishes ranging from simple stews to more elaborate fare. Aside from potatoes and cabbage, Ukrainians like to cook with a number of other vegetables, such as beets, carrots, onions, mushrooms, and garlic.
Beef and Pork are the most commonly eaten meats in Ukraine, primarily because they are inexpensive. These meats are slow cooked and seasoned with salt, pepper, and spices. Serve them with mashed or braised potatoes, pickled veggies and crusty bread for an authentic meal that’s perfect any time of year.
Other popular dishes include kotlety, meatballs; mlyntsi and nalisnyky, thin pancakes filled with quark and other ingredients; and kasha hrechana zi shkvarkamy, buckwheat cereal with pork rinds and onion.
Chicken is also a popular meat, mainly in the Kiev region. It is generally roasted or grilled, but can also be fried or rolled in breadcrumbs before being baked.
Other common dishes in Ukraine are syrniki and kvas, which are yeast buns. They are filled with a variety of fillings, such as cheese, onions, beets, mushrooms, and more. They are also served with sour cream and sour beet pickles.