By Sara Israfilbayova
Top 5 of countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and near abroad, which are popular for gastronomic tourism of Russians are Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
The rating was made on the basis of the analysis of the demand for gastronomic tours.
Gastronomic tourism to the CIS countries is one of the fastest growing in outbound tourism from Russia in 2017.
The most popular food tours of Russians to the CIS countries and the near abroad include a trip for one week.
For example, a gastronomic tour for 7 days from Russia to Azerbaijan or Georgia with air-tickets will cost an average of $800, to Kazakhstan and Armenia $900 and to Uzbekistan $1,000.
Top 10 of Russian gastronomic tourism destinations are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Podmoskovye, Vladimir Oblast, Kazan, Tver Oblast, Tula Oblast, Altai Krai, Kaliningrad Oblast and Novgorod Oblast.
Gastronomic tourism or food tourism is the exploration of local cuisine as the purpose of tourism.
Azerbaijan has a very rich and delicious cuisine. Throughout the centuries, Azerbaijani cuisine has been influenced by the foods of different cultures, though at the same time, it remained distinctive and unique. Many foods that are indigenous to the country can now be seen in the cuisines of other cultures. For Azerbaijanis, food is an important part of national culture and is deeply rooted in the history, traditions and values of the nation.
There is no lack of recipes and ingredients in the cuisine of the Azerbaijani people: the country’s mountain and subtropical climate excellently provides them with everything needed to cook delicious and healthy food. Azerbaijani food is cooked with beef and mutton, poultry and fish, fruit and vegetables, with an indispensable addition of fresh greens, aromatic herbs and spices. Azerbaijani cuisine is very substantial, nutritious and rich in calories.
Famous Azerbaijani dishes are juicy and flavored kebab, seasoned with sour spice - sumac, pilaf - rice dish flavored with saffron and enriched with meat or vegetable stuffing, dolma - minced meat wrapped in grape leaves or minced meat stuffed in tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, kutab - a plain crescent shaped thin dough patty stuffed with meat and greens, piti and etc.
The Azerbaijanis treat tea after a hearty meal with special love, so various sweets and jams are very popular to serve dessert. The Azerbaijani sweet pastries include more than 30 varieties with poppy seeds, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, ginger, cardamom, etc. Among the most famous Azerbaijani sweets are pakhlava, shekerbura, gogal, badambura, keta and others.