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23 September 2018

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Not Your Babushka's Farmers' Market

Author: Jennifer Eremeeva
Illustrations/Images by Jennifer Eremeeva

Mar/Apr 2016
Page 58   ( 3 pages)

Summary: A visit to the newly hip Danilovsky Market in Moscow nets a very chic recipe for Gourmet Pelmeni.


Food sanctions and a weak ruble have caused culinary despair in Russia, but not for the shoppers at Moscow’s oldest farmer’s market, Danilovsky, which dates to the founding of the adjacent thirteenth- century monastery of the same name by Prince Danil Alexandrovich.

Danilovsky Market’s hipster makeover is reinventing the way Muscovites think about food. Walk into its trademark rotunda, and you might wonder if you’ve stumbled into London’s Borough Market by mistake. In addition to a major facelift of the market stalls, there is pleasant and comfortable seating (attracting “latte and laptop patrons”), and new cafe tenants offer everything from Vietnamese Pho to grilled Cypriot halloumi.

Olga Kukoba, Danilovsky’s Creative Director, said that the market makeover is a passion project for restaurant titan Ginza, who took over management in spring 2015.

“I think there was a real concern that we would execute the cafe project in the manner of a shopping mall food court — with global fast food outlets,” she said.

Indeed, Ginza’s earlier attempt to replace Tsentralny Rynok in downtown Moscow with a high-end, top-floor supermarket left a bitter taste in many Moscow mouths. But with Danilovsky more thought has gone into the concept and the execution.

“We developed the concept from a core belief that a market is first and foremost a place of exchange: not just of goods, but also of ideas and culture,” said Kukoba, who oversees events such as the market’s regular candlelit dinners, movie screenings, and harvest festivals.

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