Food that you should try in Kiev: DRY JAM

Many tourists ask there are any traditional sweets in Kiev. I surely can answer: “ Dry jam”

“ Dry jam” was 18 century innovation of charming couple from Podol.  Nicola and Maria Balabukh  lived in one of  the most beautiful Kiev street. Nowadays current Sagaydachnyi street is full of various restaurants and is the best place for resting during hot summer.

The Balabukh family started a jam business accidently.  Once, Catherine the Great traveled around Ukraine. Empress escort included Swiss confectioner. Walking along the narrow and rough Kiev streets the confectioner broke his leg and the empress needed to leave him in Kiev. The swiss was impressed by the variety of local fruit and berries.  At that time Kiev had many nice gardens. Therefore he decided not waste his time and collect fruit for the empress.

Local Kiev ladies were curious what the empress’s confectioner  was going to do with fruit so they offered their help. Among them was mother of Nicola Balabukh. She learned the secret of dry jam recipe. Together with her son and daughter-in-law she started jam business. Very soon enterprising couple spread dry jam not only over Russian Empire but also abroad. They supplied jam to court of Italian king Umberto I. Once the king even visited cheerful couple and they treated Umberto with fruit liqueur. According to old story Nicola and Maria Balabukh lived a long and happy life and after Gold wedding they  “went to the better worlds”.

At the Bulgakov veranda with my tourists

Veranda of Bulgakov house on Andriyivskyy Descent is a great place where I tested Kiev dry jam”.   Hundred years ago  the Bulgakov’s family had tea on this veranda.  Pleasant lady treated us with Bulgakov tea, pies and traditional century “dry jam”. She has  10 types of jam made of plums, quinces, apples, rose, nuts, apricots and even pumpkin!