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 accidentally. Once, Catherine the Great travelled around Ukraine. Empress escort included Swiss confectioner. Walking along the narrow and rough Kyiv streets the confectioner broke his leg and thEmpressss needed to leave him in Kyiv. The Swiss was impressed by the variety of local fruit and berries. At that time Kyiv had many nice gardens. Therefore he decided not to waste his time and collect fruit for the Empress.
Local Kyiv 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 the court of Italian king Umberto I. Once the king even visited the 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”.
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!