Unusual Russian Food: TvorogThere is not really any adequate English translation for the word “tvorog,” a very popular dairy product in Russia. It has sometimes been called farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese, but this does not quite capture it. In fact, all kinds of cheeses are tvorog in the initial stage of their preparation. Generally speaking, tvorog is concentrated sour milk with whey separated from curd.
Tvorog contains about the same percentage of protein as beef and more than milk. Its high levels of calcium and phosphorus, as well as vitamin B4, make tvorog a nutritious food for children.
The best kind of tvorog is homemade, of course, but the process takes several days. Some people buy tvorog at markets from babushkas, who have the time to make it properly, but it is possible to buy quality tvorog in stores. Some people are fond of popular brands like Blagoda and Svalya. Others, however, maintain that tvorog from dairies in the Moscow region such as Russky Tvorog and Savushkin Khutorok is better than any famous brand.
Some people mix tvorog with milk or buttermilk to moisten it before eating. You can also sweeten it with sugar, brown sugar, honey or flavored syrups, as well as fresh berries. Adding salt and greens can be a savory alternative. Fairly low in fat, tvorog is also an all-natural substitute for cream cheese.
For those interested in attempting to make tvorog at home, a fairly accurate recipe can be found at www.ruscuisine.com. From the front page, click on “eggs” in the Russian recipe section. Tvorog is the first option.
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