June 01, 1998

Finding the Best Morozhenoye

Like Americans, Russians love ice cream (in Russian, morozhenoye). If you walk down any major street in Moscow on a warm summer day, ice cream seems to be in every fourth hand. Then there are the ice cream devotees who continue to buy ice cream throughout the coldest months of winter. Never mind that it’s the middle of January and the snow is two feet deep. Indeed, it has been shown that even a slight rise in temperature, say from -10 to -5 degrees Celsius, leads to an increase in ice cream sales in the capital.

Statistically, Russians are far from world leaders in ice cream consumption. While the average American eats a whopping 22 liters of ice cream in one year, Russian per capita consumption is only about 4 liters. Yet the recent expansion in the ice cream market has coincided with an equivalent boom in the popularity of the product. Last year alone, consumption of morozhenoye in Russia increased by 18 percent, while in Moscow it rose 30 percent.

The Russian word for ice cream, morozhenoye, (derived from the root moroz or frost), refers to all manner of ice cream and other frozen treats, like sherbert and sorbet. In recent years, the variety of ice creams available in Russia has greatly expanded. Morozhenoye devotees can now find buckets of Baskin Robbins or Edy’s ice cream in fancy grocery stores. But by far the most popular Russian morozhenoye is sold either in small stores or in sidewalk kiosks.

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