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October 14th is National Dessert Day! It’s the perfect time to indulge in your favorite sweet treats completely guilt-free. We’re here to help you celebrate by sharing some of our favorite Russian desserts. There were a lot to choose from, but we know you’re going to love these two traditional Russian desserts that are wonderfully simple, original, and sure to become your go-to fall recipes.

Let’s start with Sugared Cranberries. Legend has it that the cranberry is a fruit native to Russia, and brought to Europe in the 12th century by Russian merchants. It was called a “healing berry” for its numerous healthy properties. This little berry is full of B vitamins, vitamin K1, vitamin C (equal to lemons, oranges and apples), potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus just to name a few; it strengthens the immune system and prevents many diseases.

If you’ve never tried sugared cranberries before, you’re in for a treat! They are a blend of sweet-tart yumminess that bursts in your mouth. Not only are they a very addictive snack, they’re also a perfect garnish for many holiday recipes. Prepare a whole bunch at once and you’ll always have a healthy, delicious snack on hand ready to pull out anytime. Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s so much easier and faster than the American version, it is sure to become your favorite!

What you’ll need:

2 cup Cranberries
2 Egg Whites
2 cup Powdered Sugar

Step 1
Wash cranberries and air dry. Place powdered sugar in a large bowl. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl.

Step 2
Working in batches, dip cranberries in beaten egg whites, then roll in sugar until well coated. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet (or other flat surface) and let dry for at least 1 hour. Store in a bowl or a mason jar.

Stuffed Baked Apples

Baked apples are one of the simplest, healthiest, and most delicious treats for the whole family. Perfect during fall apple season, this dessert will become a real hit on your holiday table, and it’s easy enough to become a day-to-day staple. Anytime you’re craving for a sweet, low-calorie treat that is easy to make at home remember this authentic Russian recipe. This stuffed baked goodness will have you swooning from its taste and smell every time you take it out of the oven!

What you’ll need:

6 Apples (Granny Smith, Jonagold, Jonathan, Gala, etc)
6 Teaspoons Honey
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
4 Tablespoons Water
Butter
Nuts and dried fruits (optional)

Step 1
Wash and dry the apples. Using a paring knife or melon baller, cut out holes for stuffing (about 1 inch wide), leaving the bottom intact. First, cut out the stem area and then scoop out the seeds.

Step 2
Mix the honey, cinnamon, and – if you want – nuts and dried fruits.

Step 3
Stuff the apples with the honey mix and top each one with a pat of butter (about ½ tablespoon).

Step 4
Arrange the apples on a baking dish and pour 4 tablespoons of hot water (about ½ inch) into the bottom of the baking dish.

Step 5
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and bake for 35-40 minutes until cooked through and tender. When done, remove the apples from the oven and baste with the juices from the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon or powdered sugar before serving. Enjoy on a cold day with a cup of hot tea, or with a side of vanilla ice cream and a glass of wine.

Want to try other authentic Russian recipes? Stay tuned! Or if you know of a sweet fall treat you know will be a favorite please leave a link or directions in the comments below. We’re sure you’ll agree that you can never have too many options in your dessert menu.

Image #1 by Tim Pierce

Image #2 by Meal Makeover Moms

kiyvIf you ask any of our team members about the most exciting part about their job they will probably tell you it is the opportunity to witness a lot of beautiful love stories, some of which sound more like fairy tales. They will tell you they are lucky enough to not only witness these relationships unfold in front of their eyes but to also participate in them. We tend to take things personally here at Russian Flora, and that means getting involved. We ask customers questions and are eager to answer theirs to make sure that their gifts are not only personal but also fit the region and culture they are being delivered in.

One of our favorite Russian Flora romances begins in 2010, like any good story we start with two people very much in love and trying very hard to overcome everything to be with one another. The man, we’ll call him Mr. V, got us wrapped up in his love story with his very first order – a lovely bouquet of flowers – for his girlfriend Tatiana in Vitebsk, Belarus.

Mr. V was a loyal customer, and already trusted us with corporate gift deliveries, but this whole long distance relationship thing was new to him. He had never had a girlfriend from another country, so he needed advice on how to handle the situation.  At the beginning, he had a lot of questions for our customer service team regarding the best gift options, appropriate holidays, and local gift etiquette in general. Since some of our team members are also from Eastern Europe, they knew exactly how to help and gladly gave him useful tips on how to impress his significant other from Belarus. For instance, when you send flowers to loved ones in this part of the world it is very important that you send an odd number. Even numbers of flowers in a bouquet are often considered bad luck, and even an insult: that is not the way to start off any romance. We also helped him pick appropriate gifts for local holidays to make sure there’s no misunderstanding. Vast experience with previous customers in similar situations and the knowledge of Eastern European culture allowed our team to help Mr. V navigate this issue and similar ones with ease.

Mr. V’s first orders included all of the classics of romantic gifts like flowers, chocolates, and fruit baskets. But as their relationship grew, so did the gifts, with things like designer perfume, exquisite champagne, golden roses, and jewelry. With every order, Mr. V. was always meticulous and gave us detailed instructions about the time of delivery, packaging, her favorite brands, and the colors of the flowers. Luckily, our regional managers in Vitebsk never had a problem even with the most unusual requests and were always eager to help. Mr. V was thrilled with the level of dedication and attention to detail, and of course thrilled with Tatiana’s reaction to every lovely gift he sent.

With so many regular gift orders Mr. V quickly ran through our traditional romantic catalog; so he started ordering more sophisticated and even extraordinary custom gifts that impressed his girlfriend and our team! Among his custom orders were many useful items like a washing machine, my-2007-christmas-tree-1443617-639x852a big TV screen with LCD monitor, a camera, a new phone, and many other  surprises both useful and unusual. One  Christmas, he didn’t bother with regular gifts, but instead went above and beyond to  surprise his sweetheart with a full-size Christmas tree beautifully decorated with ornaments.

Tatiana and her young son were in a state of pleasant shock when they opened the door to our delivery guy 7 days before to Christmas. Mr. V was always careful to give her son just as much attention. A new Xbox, a skateboard, and an IPad are only a few of gifts he received from his mom’s new boyfriend on his Birthday, New Year, and Men’s Day. Our client even tried to surprise them both with a pet once!

A loyal (and romantic) customer for four happy years, Mr. V ordered over 40 gifts in total, most of which were custom. Over the years, our CS team established a great personal relationship with the client and our couriers became like a second family to Tatiana. Of course, there were times when not everything went smoothly and we had to really work with some of the most difficult orders, but the team always did their best to resolve the situation as soon as possible. Utmost sincerity and dedication made it all worthwhile.

For instance, he ordered a beautiful flower arrangement in a vase once to be delivered in the middle of January. It happened that there was a blizzard in Vitebsk that week, but our couriers made the impossible happen and delivered the gift safe and sound only a couple of hours late, even the poor road conditions couldn’t stop them. Also, remember that pet Mr. V wanted to get for Tatiana and her son? Well, even in the best circumstances buying a pet for someone you love is hard, and often you need them there to help pick it out. A puppy or aquarium with fish were his first two choices.

We worked with Mr. V to show him many of the adorable puppies we were able to find for Tatiana. Pictures were sent, dozens of emails, but ultimately he decided he was asking the impossible of us. There just wasn’t any way for him to get a good feel for the kind of dog he was sending to his girlfriend no matter how much information we sent him. He decided instead to go with a much safer investment of a large aquarium with 5 golden fish. It was quite exciting helping him with this extraordinary request and we are proud that we managed to meet his expectations and fulfill this complicated order.

At the end of 2014, Mr. V stopped ordering gifts to Belarus for his girlfriend, and we were both sad and happy to see his gift orders stop. You see the relationship we had watched grow and helped nurture for years had become something more. Like the end to every good fairy tale, Mr. V and Tatiana moved on to get married and start their happily ever after.

To eat, or not to eat – that is the question… Easily answered!

Apples, strawberry, oranges, peaches, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, this may seem like a grocery list but it’s actually some florists’ favorite edible items to include in bouquets! These edible bouquets make truly magnificent gifts, both delicious and beautiful. It’s hard to find anyone who can remain indifferent to such an extraordinary surprise.

It takes an experienced florist with immaculate taste to create a balanced edible composition. From picking just the right market-fresh fruit and vegetables and matching tastes and colors, to decorating with fragrant herbs, the whole process from beginning to end usually takes several hours.

Like so many other things that are gaining popularity today, this is an example of a modern spin on an old favorite. Edible bouquets and displays appear in art as early as the 2nd century CE in Rome, but love for them really began to bloom during the 15th and 16th centuries, particularly in Europe. They could be a sign of wealth, love, and friendship, and they were the go-to gift for any festive occasion because they could both decorate the party and feed tired hosts afterward. Now, vegetable arrangements, fruit bouquets, and even herbs are starting to replace flowers at every occasion, even weddings! Like flowers, each vegetable, fruit, and herb, has a symbolic meaning; for example, mint represents wisdom and refreshment, and lavender stands for devotion and love. It’s also pretty easy to imagine that a bouquet including either one would smell incredible!

So, what is so special about fruit & veggie bouquets, and why this trend is becoming so popular? We’ve broken down the benefits of these tasty gifts and given you 3 main reasons why you should choose an edible bouquet over traditional flowers for your next special occasion:

  • Unique Gift That’s Impressive in Any Size

Traditional flowers are lovely, but even timeless gifts can be boring. Adding fruits and vegetables to flowers, or making a totally edible bouquet is a great way to add more variety to a gift they’ve seen before. Nobody expects to receive an arrangement with strawberries, apples, and exotic fruit mixed with fresh roses, but when they do it will be a big hit!

  • A Bouquet You Can Actually Eat

An edible arrangement is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also a very practical gift that, as the name suggests, is as good on a plate as it is on display (but please don’t eat the package even if it looks inviting). After several days of enjoying a unique composition, you don’t have to throw it away with remorse but can easily turn it into lunch for the whole family! Every arrangement is a rigorous combination of certain ingredients that allows you to prepare an unforgettable meal. Fresh salad, delicious smoothies, or heartwarming soups are just a few ways your loved ones can enjoy experimenting with their non-traditional bouquet.

  • Fresh & Healthy

Both fruit and vegetable bouquets are made from the freshest ingredients, picked from local fresh markets. Each arrangement is a little burst of vitamins that will fill your family and friends with energy, good calories, and a positive attitude. Such mood and health boosters are especially welcome during cold months when you need to support a family member who is sick, surprise your vegan or vegetarian friends, or simply light up your special someone’s day.

As you can see, we think edible bouquets made of fruits, vegetables, and herbs are a special, hearty gift for your loved ones. So, the next time you’re thinking about sending flowers in a bouquet, consider something they can really sink their teeth into instead.

On September 1st, kids of all ages in Russia are going back to school. Which means it’s time to share some authentic Russian recipes that are perfect for your little one’s lunchbox. These 3 sweet recipes are not only very popular in Russia, but also easy to make, healthy, and absolutely delicious!

Let’s start with a Russian dessert called Zapekanka. To give you a hint about the taste, it’s often referred to as Russian cheesecake made with cottage cheese. Easily overlooked, cottage cheese provides many health benefits, including a high protein, significant calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Dishes containing cottage cheese usually have a delicate texture and taste and are quite popular in Russian cuisine. Zapekanka is one of the simplest and most delicious among them. Try it yourself!

Zapekanka – Russian Cheesecake (Cottage cheese casserole)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 5 Servings

What you need:

  • 1 Pound (or about 500 gr) cottage cheese
  • 4 Eggs
  • 7 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon sour cream
  • 2 Heaping tablespoons starch
  • Vanilla to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon softened butter
  • Raisins (optional)

Step 1

In a large bowl whisk together cottage cheese, egg yolks, sugar, sour cream, starch, and vanilla.

Step 2

Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl.

Step 3

Add egg whites to the cottage cheese, and whisk the entire mass with a spoon.

Step 4

If you want, add some dried fruit (e.g raisins) in the mix.

Step 5

Put the mixture into a baking pan. To prevent the cheesecake from sticking to the pan, place about a tablespoon of softened butter on a paper towel and coat the bottom and sides of the pan first.

Step 6

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and bake for about 30 min, or until the center is set. Serve hot or cold as is, or with sour cream on the side.

The next recipe is Sharlotka, or Apple Charlotte, and it probably the most popular Russian sweet cake. It is famous for being simple, affordable, and quick. Every mother in Russia knows that if she needs to fix something quickly for the kids with minimum ingredients, Apple Charlotte is the way to go. Since it only takes 20 minutes to prepare, and about 40 min to bake, Sharlotka will be a hit not only with your little ones but with anyone with a sweet tooth.

Russian Charlotte Apple Cake (Sharlotka)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 12 Servings

What you need:

  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup flour
  • 3 Large or 4 medium sized apples (any tarter variety e.g Granny Smith will do)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil or butter (to grease the baking tray)
  • 1 Pinch of salt

Step 1

In a large bowl beat the eggs until frothy.

Step 2

Gradually add sugar and salt. Keep beating the mixture until all the sugar is dissolved.

Step 3

Add flour and mix thoroughly.

Step 4

Wash apples, cut out the core, peel the skin off if desired and slice into 3-4 mm pieces.

Step 5

Add apples to the batter and mix.

Step 6

Grease the baking tray with butter (It is better to use a cake mold with a hole in the middle). Pour the batter into the baking tray.

Step 7

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and bake in the middle of the oven for 35-45 min. Insert a toothpick in the center of the cake; if it comes out clean, then the cake is ready. Serve hot or cold.

Our last recipe is a homemade Russian juice called Kompot. Russians of all ages really enjoy this healthy alternative to soda and other sugary drinks. We’re betting it will become your little one’s favorite. Unlike freshly squeezed juices, it can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, and that is another reason why busy moms like it. Generally, it can be prepared from any fruit but since apricots are in season now here is a version using apricot juice.

Homemade Apricot Juice Kompot

What you need:

  • 1 Pound (about 500 gr) ripe, firm apricots
  • 10 Cups (about 2.5 litres) water
  • 1 Cup sugar

Step 1

Wash the apricots, cut in half and get rid of the pits.

Step 2

Put cold water and sugar in a large pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes.

Step 3

Put apricots in the pot, turn the stove off, cover with a lid and let it cool down.

Step 4

Strain the juice and pour it in a clean pitcher. For the best flavor, wait for 12 hours (or overnight). Serve cold.

Image #1 by Olga/Олька

Image #2 by Alexey Ivanov

Image #3 by Janice Cullivan

    Tumen

Your mom has been there for you for everything including scraped knees, dirty laundry, broken hearts, and of course every birthday, holiday, or sickness. Repay her generosity this Mother’s Day observed on May, 8 by sending a gift that lets her know how much you appreciate what she’s done for you. From spa baskets that help her unwind or delicious gourmet hampers to indulge after work to flowers that brighten her mood, we have something that’s perfect just for her!

Order  Mother’s Day gifts for your beloved mother, wife, grandmother, aunt, sister or any other significant woman in your life now and don’t forget to use code RFMOM16 to save $10 on your online orders until 25 April 2016.

Rejoice in Love Flower Basket
A Delicious Evening
Sweet Warmth

Even though the Western world have already celebrated Easter, according to Orthodox tradition in 2016 Easter is observed on May, 1. There are some similarities in observing the holiday in both cultures but there are also a lot of significant differences that will surprise you. Here are some interesting facts about Orthodox Easter you didn’t know:

  • In Russian & Ukrainian Orthodox tradition Easter is called Pascha.
  • Orthodox Easter is one of the most important holidays of the year for both religious and secular people alike.
  • Pascha usually falls from one to five weeks later than Catholic Easter. This fact can be explained by the difference in calendars. Orthodox church follows Julian calendar, Catholic on the other hand have been using new Gregorian calendar since 16th century.
  • Preceding Orthodox Easter is a 40 days long Great Lenten fast during which people aren’t allowed to eat meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and alcohol. Easter Sunday marks the end of the Great Lenten.
  • Right before Easter there’s a tradition of attending Easter mass where people bring Easter baskets filled with special holiday foods (Pascha bread, Kulich, colored eggs, ham, cheese, wine and salt) and have it blessed by the priest. These foods will make the first meal on Easter Sunday marking the end of the 40 day long fast.
  • Colored eggs in Orthodox tradition represent new life as well as Jesus’ tomb.
  • People prefer decorating their own chicken eggs using natural methods (boiling eggs in onion peels, clover leaves, parsley, saffron, cumin, etc).
  • Russian and Ukrainian people often visit cemeteries on Easter Sunday. They are paying homage to their deceased relatives and loved ones by placing colored eggs, Pasha bread and flowers on their graves.

 

Celebrate Orthodox Easter together with RussianFlora.com and send your dear ones wonderful spring flowers and Easter gifts to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus or anywhere in the world!


Awake, thou wintry earth –
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, “An Easter Hymn”

We hope that this Easter will bring you new aspirations and new hope.
Have a blessed and meaningful Easter!

Your RussianFlora.com

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Catholic Easter is almost here (March, 27), but there’s still time left to hide one more present (or even two) for your nearest and dearest. Order today and our experts will be happy to deliver a delicious Easter gift right to their door! From sweet cakes and decadent chocolate to tempting bottles of wine, as well as stunning flowers to bring spring indoors, we have the perfect gift for that special someone. Let spring flourish at hearts and homes of those you care about!

Make sure you order in time for big Sunday celebration with family and friends! Visit our website now and make sure to use coupon code RFETR16 at check out to save $8 on any online orders placed before 27 March 2016.

Colorful Holiday
Chocolate Coffee Basket
Opulence Anytime

A daughter who serves,
A sister who loves,
A mother who bears,
A friend who cares.
Bestower of love, life
Friendship and trust.
A picture of poise
Strength and grace
A dreamer, achiever,
A winner all along.
We celebrate you,
All phenomenal Women today!

Happy Women’s Day!!!

From RussianFlora.com

This life would be meaningless without women. Every circle of life witnesses empowerment, existence and strong influence of women whether as a Mother or wife, as sister or daughter. Celebrate womanhood beauty and spring this March, 8 together with us!

Women’s Day is just a day away, and we know there are still women in your life to be generous to! Make sure those special ladies know how much they mean to you! Surprise her at work with chocolates and champagne or at home with flowers and beautiful gift basket. With a bottle of her favorite wine, she can make the evening all her own!

But you have to hurry if you want your surprise delivered in time for celebration. Order a gift for Women’s Day now and don’t forget to use code RFWDAY16 to save 10% on your online orders placed before 8 March 2016.

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