Russian Language Blog

Russian Milk Products Posted by on Aug 8, 2007 in Uncategorized

Молочные Продукты

Have you ever tried Kefir? Говорят, что это более полезно чем йогурт. It’s certainly more Russian than yogurt. И-краткое как первая буква только бывает в инностранных словах.

It’s thicker than milk, but thinner than yogurt, and sour. I use it on fruit salads, or plain as a drink. You can also mix in fruit and sugar to make a smoothie.

There are commercial products that use it as a base, but many of them claim to be yogurt drinks, so it’s hard to say what’s really inside them. A particular bacteria produces кефир. One such drink is called снежок, “snowball” and is marketed to children. I like it too.

Кефир originally came from the Caucasus, but Тан, also known as Aйран, came much more recently. It’s a thin, sour, salty, milk drink that they drink like we drink lemonade. Personally, I would never drink something sour and salty on a hot day, but it’s certainly available.

Milk is sold in unexpected ways. You can get milk that lasts without refrigeration in a paper carton like the one to the right. Fresh milk is sold in plastic pouches. I like how they have unusual percents, like this one is 3.5% milk fat, others are 2.3% or 0.5%. In the countryside you can pick it up from little stands on the side of the road in glass containers with full fat, but it’s not pasteurized and goes bad quickly.
My favorite isn’t a drink, it’s a soft cheese called творог. There’s a joke about where the accent falls (Можно покупать ТВОРог в магаЗИНе, или можно покупать творОГ в МАГазине) because it’s pronounced both ways, like ADDress and adDRESS in English. Магазин все равно произносится с ударением на последном слоге.

You can make a special easter cake from it with raisins, or eat it plain or on bread. I like to make сырники (cheese pancakes) out of it. They’re very tasty. You can often find those at cafeterias.


And a well known, but not distinctly Russian dairy product is sour cream, сметана. I think it tastes much better over there. The best is a little soupy and comes in unmarked containers.

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  1. Delia:

    Stress on МАгазин doesn’t exist. It was a mistake. Two pronunciations are магаЗИН and маГАзин. The latter is considered illiterate and is not accepted as a standard pronunciation of this word. While ТВОрог and твоРОГ are two accepted standards. In the North, the stress falls on the first or middle syllable like in “краСИвее”, while in the South the tendency is that the last syllable is stressed “твоРОГ, красиВЕЕ”