Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

Arctic burgers, whale lard and reindeer lichen chips

Tundra Gastronomy Festival sets new culinary records and surprises with daring experiments

12 september 2022

12.09.2022 // On the Day of the Nenets Autonomous Area, 11 September, Naryan-Mar hosted the Tundra Inter-Regional Gastronomic Festival. Chefs from all nine of Russia's Arctic regions came to conquer the hearts of the northerners through their stomachs. They invited the guests to a tasting of national dishes and generously shared recipes for Polar cuisine.

The Tundra Festival was held for the first time in 2019, the year of the Nenets Autonomous Area's 90th anniversary. And then a record was also set, which helped Nenets Area get into the Russian Book of Records for the first time. The 208-kilogram Nordic berry pie, 9 metres long and 2 metres wide, was officially recognised as the biggest in the country.

This year, the festival set a new record for the number of Arctic burgers. 350 burgers with a total weight of 111 kg—such an achievement was recorded by Stanislav Konenko, founder and editor-in-chief of the Russian Book of Records. The burgers were made not only by local cafés and restaurants but also by the townspeople themselves: by taking a special master class, they could add their handmade burger to the rest.

A queue lined up to get a taste of the original Pomor fast food.


'Today I tasted a lot of Arctic cuisine, I had never tasted whale lard before. In general, the Tundra gastrofestival has become the hallmark of the Nenets Area in four years. And it's great that it takes place at the same time as the Area Day,' Yury Bezdudny, governor of the NAA, shared his impressions from attending the festival.

Smoked whale lard was served by chefs from Chukotka. And at the Taimyr tent you could try exotic desserts. 

'We presented five types of Taimyr ice cream for the guests of the festival. Three of them with berries: cloudberries, bilberries and blueberries. And two more unusual tastes: ice cream with our local grated venison, yukola, which is cured meat with spices. At first glance, it feels like a regular chocolate ice cream, but the aftertaste makes itself felt. And the last item in the dessert is called Miner's Ice Cream: it comes with salted black caramel. It is so named because it comes from the miners' town of Norilsk,' explained Taimyr restaurateur Nina Fedotova.

Yamal introduced its own lingonberry sauce. Yakutia presented horsemeat dishes and performed a cooking show on stroganina, slices of frozen fish or meat served cold. Murmansk treated us to reindeer lichen chips. Bold culinary experiments struck all the Arctic regions. The chefs surprised Tundra Festival guests not only with culinary exoticism but also with their different approaches to traditional northern dishes. 

'In essence, it's a gastronomic journey through the national arctic cuisine. At the same time, for restaurateurs from the county and other regions, the festival has become a territory for exchanging experiences and knowledge,' summarised Sergey Mishin, director of the Arctic Tourism Centre.

Main photo: Read more Gastro-trip through the Pomorie Arkhangelsk has developed a unique tour, Taste of the Arctic


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