There is a story about Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. Living in Saint Petersburg he fell in love with Ukrainian girl Varvara. 19- year-old girl was a servant in his friend’s family. The first time he saw cute Ukrainian when she served the table wearing Ukrainian clothes.
The poet was 28 years older than Varvara but he proposed her.
In his letter to his brother in Ukraine Shevchenko asked him to send him crucians. He was going to cook borsch with crucians for a future wedding.
Borsch with fish was usual in old times. People ate meat rarely. Mostly twice in the year for Easter and Christmas.
Borsch with crucians should contain small crucians without bones. It was cooked in ancient house oven over low heat. In such a way, borsch got the best taste.
In western Ukraine is a small town called Borsch. Their citizens are sure that borsch came exactly from their town. Every year they organize a borsch festival.
There are about 1000 types of borsch. The oldest ingredients for borsch are beets and sour cabbage. Potatoes and tomatoes were introduced to Ukraine and Russia by Peter I who liked innovation.
In modern Ukrainian restaurants, you can try about 5 types of borsch. Borsch from Poltava with pigs ears, borsch from Odesa with crucians, young green borsch with herbal. In Kyiv region borsch with bread kvass is popular. In the north-west in forest region borsch with mushrooms is traditional. In the Carpathian region, people eat even borsch with cherries, strawberries and plum juice.
In Ukrainian restaurants, you can see borsch in natural dishes like bread or cabbage. The popular ingredient is a smoked pear. It gives a picky taste to this dish.
Unfortunately, Taras Shevchenko had no destiny to marry Varvara. But nowadays every year in his village patriots organize a festival and treat all visitors with borsch with crucians.