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In our opinion: how to lay the New Year's table

New Year for all Russian speakers in the United States remains the main holiday of the year, although for Americans it is traditionally Christmas. When laying the New Year's table, we recall our favorite recipes from childhood and invite our closest people to visit - after all, everything should be like at home. “Forum” has prepared tips on how to set the festive table, and made a list of dishes, without which the New Year is not the New Year.


Traditionally, the main hero of the New Year's table is everyone's favorite salad "Olivier". The author of this festive dish is the Frenchman Lucien Olivier, who in the 60s ran the Hermitage restaurant of Parisian cuisine in Moscow. True, there is not much left from the original recipe of Monsieur Olivier in the salad - the obligatory ingredients for the French chef were hazel grouses, crayfish tails and capers. In Soviet times, the salad recipe has changed a lot - boiled sausage supplanted hazel grouse, and pickled cucumbers replaced capers. But it was the Soviet version of this dish that became the national symbol of the New Year.

In 2009, the Russian newspaper Trud introduced the so-called Olivier index, which, by analogy with all the well-known and accepted in economic theory, the Big Mac index, determines the level of consumer price inflation for food. Journalists of the publication claim that the “Olivier index” reflects the inflation rate much more plausibly than the data of Rosstat.

Kateryna Boyko, a Ukrainian who has lived in New York for more than ten years, brings together a full house of guests every year on New Year's Eve. A festive table is never complete without your favorite Olivier salad. Katerina believes that the secret of the perfect Olivier is in good sausage and the right green peas. “The sausage must be fresh and of excellent quality. I always ask you to try the sausage in the store and choose the best one, ”says Katerina,“ The best thing to buy is “our” peas, they are not as sweet as American ones. And if boiled sausage can, for example, be replaced with Italian bologna or boiled chicken, then I always go to a Russian store for peas ”.

See also: Рratings of Russian stores New York и Miami.

Herring under the fur coat

According to a poll conducted by the Russian BBC news service, herring under a fur coat is one of the three leaders in the ranking of symbols of the New Year, after Olivier salad and tangerines. Herring under a fur coat is a very Russian salad, for representatives of other nations it is an extremely unusual dish. In American ratings of the strangest Russian food, it is herring under a fur coat that always confidently occupies a leading position.

Here, for example, is a video that shows how Americans try this salad for the first time.

This salad most likely came to us from Jewish cuisine. However, there is also a legend about its revolutionary origin: they say, herring in a salad symbolizes the proletariat, and vegetables - the peasantry.

The main ingredient of the salad, of course, is herring. How to choose the herring, says Fedor Pinchukov, the owner of the popular in the US online store of Russian products Russian Food Direct: “Herring can be bought by weight and packaged by the manufacturer. If you take loose herring, you can appreciate its appearance, smell, and sometimes taste. The herring carcass must be firm and firm, the skin must not be damaged or stained. If you choose a packaged herring, it is better to take the one in a glass or plastic jar - thanks to the transparent packaging, you will be able to appreciate its appearance. Pay attention to the scales - they should be free of red spots caused by fat oxidation. And this is not only a superficial defect - if there are rusty spots on the skin, then the inside of the fish has also suffered. I advise you to pay attention to such herring producers as TM "Matias" and "Kaija" - their products have established themselves as high quality and tasty. "


Sprats were an invariable attribute of any Soviet festive table, including New Year's. We all remember sandwiches made from crispy toasted bread with delicious fish. These canned foods were and remain so popular that in the town of Mamonovo, Kaliningrad Region, where a large fish cannery is located, a monument to sprats was unveiled - in the form of a bronze tin can, from which sprats jump out.

Interestingly, there is a winter and summer version of sprats in the jar. In summer, when the fish lives in warm water, moves less and accumulates more fat, they put it in a tin can with a beautiful belly up. In winter, when the fish has to move more and it loses weight, it is put back up in a jar.

Sprat can, of course, be found in American stores. But if you intend to set the traditional Russian New Year's table according to all the rules, you cannot do without the canonical Latvian sprats, which you will have to go to the Russian shop for. Even if there is no such store in your city, online stores deliver throughout the United States.

See also: Rating of Russian online stores in the USA.


Perhaps the most expensive and sophisticated attribute of the New Year's table can be called red caviar. Of course, very few could allow themselves to spawn in Soviet times. But even today, when caviar is commercially available, it remains an expensive delicacy product.

Topics However, a crunchy white bread sandwich with delicious butter and eggs, which, as the heroine of the film “Man Overboard” said, burst in the language at the same time and precisely at the right moment, has already become a New Year's tradition.

When choosing red caviar, Fedor Pinchukov advises to carefully read the information on the packaging: “First of all, it is worth checking the dates of production and sale of goods. Fish of the salmon family go for spawning from July to September, respectively, high-quality caviar should be harvested no later than October. You should never buy caviar if the jar is damaged or deformed, this can affect the preservation of the quality of caviar in the jar. When the package is turned over, the caviar should not “gurgle” - air bubbles indicate a too liquid consistency of the product. Also pay attention to the list of ingredients. Good caviar will contain no more than three or four of them: the actual caviar (which fish must be indicated), salt and one (maximum two) preservatives ”.


Mandarins are another symbol of the New Year. They were almost the only delicacy available to Soviet people in winter - tangerines ripened in Abkhazia in December and were delivered across the vastness of their homeland. It is with the smell of tangerines that the New Year is associated with many generations of our people.


Mandarins do an excellent job with the function of decorating a festive table. Photo:

Mandarins are a symbol of the New Year not only with us. In China, this fruit symbolizes gold, wealth and wealth. It was with the tangerines that the guests came to the New Year's celebration, as if wishing the wealth of the owners of the house in the new year. By the way, and Feng Shui Mandarin must be on the New Year's table.


No holiday table is complete without alcoholic beverages. The main drinks of the New Year's feast are considered champagne and vodka.

Champagne is a faithful companion to the chimes, the countdown to the New Year and the President's speech. Once upon a time the choice was not very great - “Soviet Champagne” was on every New Year's table. Today the choice is huge - you can buy anything from brut to red champagne.


Champagne is an obligatory companion to the chimes. Photo:

Champagne has become a necessary attribute of such a New Year's ritual as making a wish. People want to believe in a miracle and that the most cherished desire for this magical New Year's Eve must necessarily come true in the new year. There are many ways to make a wish. But the most popular is connected with champagne - it is necessary to write down the desire on a piece of paper, burn it to the chimes, throw the remaining ashes into a glass of champagne and drink it exactly at midnight.

Vodka is traditionally a man's drink. A moderate amount of high-quality vodka on New Year's Eve will not turn the first day of the new year into a headache. If our parents, most likely, were not puzzled by the choice of vodka for the New Year's table, then we face a really difficult choice. In the United States, you can find vodka of any brand - for example, recently the giant of the Ukrainian alcohol industry, which ranks third in the world vodka market, has entered the American vodka market. “Khortytsya”... The company not only sells but also produces alcohol in the United States - in 2013, the first batch of vodka was produced at one of the Michigan factories. Products of TM “Khortytsa” (vodkas Khortytsya DeLuxe, Khortytsya Ice and Khortytsya Platinum) have been at the top of international and American tasting competitions for many years in a row. This year "Khortytsya "was awarded the highest awards of experts of the international tasting competition Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2015, held in New York (they receive this award for the third year in a row). Previously, the products of this brand received the highest awards of the International Tasting Competition in San Francisco, was recognized as the “best purchase in terms of price-quality ratio” by the Chicago Testing Institute.

While men prefer pure vodka with a good snack, women can enjoy it in cocktails. Vodka will be an excellent basis for many cocktails due to its strength, transparency and good taste compatibility with other drinks. The most famous cocktails based on vodka are the classic “Bloody Mary” and the banal “Screwdriver”, but with this drink you can make more sophisticated options. It is with vodka that they make a tender cocktail “White Russian”, coffee “Black Russian”, famous “Cosmopolitan”. Vodka goes well with juices, so the choice of fruit and berry cocktails based on it is truly limitless.


Professional bartender at work. Photo: from the personal archive of Igor Zukovets

Igor Zukovets, bartender of TM “Khortytsa”, says that vodka is the best alcoholic drink for creating cocktails, since the taste range of the resulting drinks is very wide - from light aperitif cocktails to richer and more intense flavor options. Vodka goes well with almost anything - it goes well with tonic drinks, fruit juices and even egg whites. But be careful when mixing vodka with other alcoholic beverages - there is no point in combining it, for example, with whiskey, rum or tequila. On the other hand, vodka goes well with gin. There is even a classic cocktail built on this combination - the Vesper cocktail from the James Bond movie Casino Royale. The most popular among Igor's clients is the Moscow Mule cocktail, and the bartender himself loves this combination. But the fashion for cocktails is short-lived - until recently, the public's favorite was “Cosmopolitan”.

The recipes of these and other cocktails can be viewed at site "Khortitsa".


After taking care of your food and drinks, don't forget about the festive table decorations. You can make the table beautiful on your own using improvised means. An elegant tablecloth and beautiful napkins, exquisite dishes and festive candles will create a unique atmosphere for your holiday. Add the New Year's mood to the festive table - put tangerines on the table, with twigs and leaves or wrapped in multi-colored foil; instead of flowers for decoration, you can use fir branches, decorated with cones or small Christmas tree decorations.

A great idea for parents is to have the kids make name cards for guests. They will clearly enjoy such special attention from the smallest family members, and it will be much easier for you to set the festive table and prepare for the arrival of guests if the children at this time are busy with an important and interesting business.

If you believe in the eastern horoscope, then do not forget that the coming 2016 will be the year of the monkey. Monkeys love juicy fresh fruits and vegetables - treat the monkey with fresh salads and its favorite bananas, and it will definitely bring you good luck in the new year.

New Year champagne Educational program New Year's table Editor's Choice
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