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The tradition of hospitality in Russia

3:17 PM, Oct 27, 2013   |    comments
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SOCHI, RUSSIA - Food. It's colorful. It's beautiful. It's delicious. Yes, if you've ever had salted dried fish, you'd know it is really tasty.

Sochi's big open market is something we in America would call a "farmer's market."

But the one we visited in Sochi is open all the time. Anything you need, might need, or don't even know you should have yet is there.

When you want fresh, every city has a farmer's market. But not every place has Georgiy Tolpuria, who makes a traditional Georgian "lavash," or flat bread from scratch.

"It's special because people see how it's being made, that it's being baked on bricks," Tolpuriya said.

It's the kind of bread you'll find in the Caucuses region of the former Soviet Union.

"The dough is special. It's made without any additives," he said. "Yeast, salt and water - and that's it. That's the whole secret."
Tolpuriya has been doing this for five years, but the custom and the recipe go back generations.

"As far as I remember the stories of my grandfather, he couldn't even tell me how long they've been making this bread," Tolpuriya said.

Bread - really food, is central to this culture.

"God himself came up with it," Tolpuriya said about the bread he was making.

That may be one of the reasons they share all they have with everyone who comes over, especially guests from far away.
Our hosts at the open market wanted to treat the 9NEWS crew with what they called a "snack."

It was a spread fit for an army or a czar's tea time, as I can imagine it.

Our table was overflowing with fresh fruit, nectarines, cherries, strawberries, vegetables, tomatoes and cucumbers. Also served - cold cuts that would rival the best in Bologna, Italy, salted fish, caviar and much, much more.

"Wow, what would lunch be like?" said Tim Dietz, Vice President for Interactive Services at 9NEWS, who is also in charge of coordinating Olympic coverage for Gannett, the parent company of 9NEWS.

Mountain newsroom reporter Matt Renoux just laughed nervously, as we prepared to tackle some of the food. When guests at a Russian household, it might be considered rude to say no.

Everything was delicious, and in some cases, too beautiful to eat.
And as if the giant spread wasn't enough, they sent us home with a ton more food!

This is the kind of hospitality you'll find in any household you visit - a cultural trait you should be prepared for the next time you visit Russians or Russia.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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