Some like it hot
Food in Russia’s south is spicier than in the north, and Sochi locals buy their spices at the market by the bagful. Follow your nose here, and you’ll be sure to come across something that will make your next meal delicious. At the same spice stands, you can often spot jars ﬁlled with a red sauce; more likely than not, this sauce is adjika, a spicy dip made from chilis. It is excellent on meat, and the spicier varieties can hold their own against sriracha.
Walking through the market, it’s hard to take your eyes off the glistening fruits that sit in huge piles on every vendor’s stand. Indeed, Caucasian fruits are unmatched for their sweetness and juiciness. Taking back fresh fruit is not always feasible (or legal), but dried fruit makes a great gift. One specialty is dried persimmons, which you can buy on a string. As a bonus, you can hang them in your kitchen to recreate the Sochi market vibe in your house (until they’re gone, that is).
The region in which Sochi is located, Krasnodar Krai, is home to much of Russia’s budding wine industry. While vineyards were long neglected or harvested for low-quality, high-yield wines during the Soviet era, winemakers have recently started to adopt modern European methods, and quality has improved markedly. You can ﬁnd some of the region’s best bottles at CORKs.
Or something stronger
For something stronger, bring back a bottle of chacha. This festive-sounding drink lives up to its name, and has been the downfall of many a tourist in Sochi. This Georgian brandy is made from grapes and has an alcohol content as high as 65%. You can also ﬁnd it at the market, or any wine store.
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