By Deanna M.J. Ayala, Director, FAS Agricultural Trade Office, Moscow
The Agricultural Trade Office in St. Petersburg, Russia joined U.S. cooperators and the U.S. Consulate to host the first-ever American pavilion at the St. Petersburg Christmas Fair, which runs from Dec. 21, 2011 to Jan. 14, 2012. The pavilion showcases American cuisine including New York cheesecakes, Kona coffee, California almonds and American holiday treats.
On Dec. 30 the fair hosted America Day, highlighting American history, the arts and agriculture. The day included music from a Native American band, contests about American history for kids, and an entertainment and educational program presented by the Washington Apple Commission and Pear Bureau Northwest. There, children learned about the variety of fruits grown in the United States.
Dating back to the middle centuries, the Christmas fair in Russia, locally known as “Yarmarka,” was the central marketplace for food and non-food goods and entertainment. Traditionally, Russians would purchase food and presents for the holidays at the Yarmarka and the fair served as a gathering point for holiday celebrations. The annual event is popular with citizens and tourists alike, attracting more than one million visitors over the winter holidays.
This year, the Yarmarka has a new international format highlighting the United States and other countries from around the world and their respective holiday traditions and national dishes. The American pavilion is serving visitors traditional barbecued pork, spicy chicken wings and hamburgers. Visitors are also able to purchase a variety of U.S. agricultural products including California almonds, pistachios, prunes and raisins. Through this event, the Agricultural Trade Office expects to generate positive impressions of American cuisine and educate Russian consumers about the wide array of American products available in Russia.