Snacks: Culinary Art in Miniature

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Cold snacks, which can be a light snack or an appetizer, add a special charm to the modern feast. An appetizer whets the appetite before the main dish, and as a rule, is served with an aperitif, which also stimulates the appetite.

 

The culture of cold appetizers is widespread throughout the world. In Europe, these include dishes of cheese, vegetables, salted and smoked fish, seafood, baked, boiled, or smoked meat, various sandwiches, and pastries. In America, it can be jerky (slices of dried meat), various snacks, potato chips, or popcorn. In Mexico corn chips and guacamole. Middle Eastern cuisine is rich in snacks made from vegetables (in particular, eggplants), and legumes (chickpeas). In China, steamed buns, egg rolls, rice flour dishes are popular.

 

Russian and Ukrainian cuisines are famous for having a large variety of cold appetizers, made from fish, meat, pork fat, vegetables, mushrooms; as well as cheeses, salads, pates, jellied dishes, caviar and much more. Appetizers differ from cold dishes for they come in small portions and are not served with side dishes. The preparation and consumption of snacks is an entire art.

 

 

Art was born out of the human need for beauty. Fine art is pleasing to the eye, and music to the ear. And culinary art is no exception. It brings aesthetic and flavorful satisfaction. Snacks leave a lot of space for culinary creativity. Thanks to the lightness and variety of these dishes, at one meal you can surprise your guests with a lot of appetizing snacks. They quench hunger, stimulate taste receptors, soften the effect of alcohol, and decorate the table. Snacks are especially popular at banquets and buffets, where there can be more than a dozen varieties. In this case, special attention is paid to their presentation. Special silverware is used for this purpose: ceramic and metal trays, glass vases for fruits and vegetables, salad bowls, and much more.

 

The tradition of appetizers originated in Europe around the 18th century. At that time in Sweden it was popular to prepare a “sandwich table” in a separate room, where guests slightly quenched their hunger, and then went to the main meal in the dining room. Sandwiches were made with meat, fish, caviar, cheese, vegetables and anything else that went with bread.

 

In Russia, until the 17th century, breakfast was considered a snack. For the common people breakfast was fast and consisted mainly of cold leftovers from supper. And in about the middle of the 18th century, various cold dishes began to be called snacks, especially smoked and pickled food. In the 19th century, under the influence of Europe, sandwiches, French pastries, pies, as well as vinaigrette, herring with onions, aspic, sausages, boiled eggs – basically, anything that could be cooked in advance and served cold – were considered snacks. From the 20th century, this list included various canned food.

 

 

In the 21st century, the range of cold appetizers includes traditional dishes and is constantly replenished with new culinary artistic masterpieces. Chefs combine both elegant and original ingredients to create them: melon and prosciutto, shrimp and avocado, poultry and pineapple, etc.

 

In the menu of the Korchma Taras Bulba restaurants, snacks are given special attention. First of all, these are traditional meat dishes. Boiled pork neck baked with garlic and mustard, aspic cooked with beef and chicken, as well as boiled beef tongue and home-made pork sausage served with horseradish, which gives it a kick and awakens the taste buds.

 

Also in the menu are sandwiches with caviar on croutons: traditional and everyone’s favorite with salmon caviar and butter, and original ones from pike caviar, stuffed with onion, parsley, lemon juice and oil. Another popular type of snack sandwiches are with pate. At Korchma you can try a delicious pate of fried chicken liver with onions, nutmeg, cognac, cream and vegetable oil as well as pate from herring together with onions, eggs, apples, and butter.

 

 

In addition, the appetizers menu includes fresh and marinated vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet and hot pepper, sauerkraut) and various kinds of mushrooms. The menu also has a flavorful vegetable dish – eggplant rolls with cheese, walnuts, and home-made mayonnaise.

 

A simple and at the same time delicious snack is cheese. At Korchma, we offer our own cheeses: Komorinsky (Circassian), Kozak’s (feta) and From Brine (brynza). With Komorinsky cheese our chefs prepare a snack with tomatoes and green sauce.

 

As an aperitif you can order a home-made infused vodka at Korchma: cranberry, pepper, Tarasivka with horseradish and honey. And Korchma’s salo (pork fat), which can be homemade, salty, smoked or rolled with chives, will add a local flavor to such an aperitif.

 

It is not for nothing that the people say: “A good beginning is half the battle.” A feast that begins with delicious drinks and appetizers will be unforgettable.

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