Meals at Lesnoe Ozero

Perhaps nothing is so central to a people’s culture as their culinary traditions. As a sign of welcome on your first day, you will be greeted with bread and salt, a traditional Russian sign of hospitality. This gesture of greeting is just an appetizer, though, because many delicious meals will be prepared throughout your session by our experienced kitchen staff.
 

Food is also central to many of the celebrations at Lesnoe Ozero. Whether it is Maselnitsa, Novii God or an end-of-summer banquet, our kitchen whips ups feasts that follow the Russian custom of tables full of zakuski, such as caviar, smoked salmon, salat Olivier to name a few. 

At Lesnoe Ozero, our dedicated chefs cook and bake our culturally authentic meals from scratch. Villagers are served three balanced meals and at least one snack per day to ensure they have the energy for all the fun each day has to offer. When you come to Lesnoe Ozero, you’ll learn meal-time and food vocabulary before each meal. Then, you’ll enjoy each meal served family style, so you can practice your Russian with your friends as you pass dishes or ask for seconds.

Each meal is carefully planned and created to highlight authentic dishes from all over the Russian-speaking world: kasha, borshch, khachapurri, plov, apple sharlotka, and of course chai with every meal.

Russians love bread, and no table at Lesnoe Ozero is complete without thick aromatic slices cut from a fresh loaf. Traditional Russian salads, including Vinagret, which is made with vinegar, beets, potatoes, pickles and other vegetables, are popular starters at Lesnoe Ozero. Borscht (beet soup) is a staple, but so are soups made from chicken, mushrooms or cabbage.

For the main dish, you may eat fried chicken or pelmeni (dumplings), kotlety (small, egg-shaped meatballs) orshashlyk (shishkabobs). On the side you’ll find noodles, rice, or potatoes. Our chefs plan menus keeping our villagers’ satisfaction in mind, and the word among Lesnoe Ozero villagers is that everything is delicious! The seasons even play a role in the menu choices at Lesnoe Ozero.

We also know that Russian food often looks, tastes and smells different from what you may eat at home. We encourage you to take a bite, but there will always be bread, fruit and veggies that are familiar to you at each meal.

After meals, we have announcements. Even if you don’t understand Russian, you’ll understand where to go and what to do by watching the counselors act out the instructions. If you do speak Russian, you’ll probably get a chance to help make announcements yourself. Some particularly popular announcements include the “proverb of the day” and the secret counselor awards for participation, behavior and language use.

Dietary Restrictions and Food Allergies

Our kitchen is very sensitive to providing appropriate variations for villagers with most food allergies and special diets. If you have food allergies, are vegetarian, or have other special dietary needs, just let us know. The chefs at Lesnoe Ozero will be happy to provide authentic and delicious meals that suit your needs, and your counselors will be there to help you.


Try a Recipe at Home

Top off any meal with this flavorful Russian treat.

Serves 10

¼ ounce - Unflavored gelatin
1 cup - Cold water
2 cups - Heavy cream
1 ½ cups - Sugar
2 tsp - Vanilla extract
1 lbs - Sour cream
1 cup - Berries of your choice

Sprinkle the gelatin on the cold water, but don’t mix. Set it aside. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat the cream and sugar on low heat until it is lukewarm. Stir in the gelatin and heat until the gelatin and sugar are completely dissolved. Remove it from the heat, and let it cool. Once it begins to thicken, fold in the vanilla and sour cream. Pour it into a nice serving dish and refrigerate until it sets, at least 4 hours. Arrange the berries on the top and serve.


Russian Carrot Walnut Salad

One of Russia’s best kept secrets is the food. Pull back the veil and delight in this wonderfully simple salad.

Serves 10

6 count – Whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbsp – Vegetable oil
2 lbs – Carrots, peeled and shredded
½ cup – Walnut halves, toasted
½ cup – Sour cream
1 tsp – Salt

Sauté the whole garlic cloves in the vegetable oil until they are golden brown. Let the garlic cool, and then purée the garlic and oil together in a food processor. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and let marinate for at least two hours.