I am a self confessed food snob and get an unreasonable amount of pleasure from fresh, quality produce. This makes my one biggest complaint about Moscow access to quality food. In my native Australia, quality produce is available at just about every local supermarket. Here in Moscow, you often need to make a special trip for a crucial ingredient and you can never be guaranteed that going out of your way will actually pay off. This however is not tale of woe, but rather one of hope, because I discovered Danilovsky market and my hipster food angst melted away. Danilovsky market is a Soviet era market pavilion located just by Tulskaya metro station (grey line) and is the epicentre of Moscow’s farm fresh food revival.
Although the market has long been a popular shopping destination, it was not until the more recent waves of gentrification that it has taken on its current form. Within the circular pavilion, you will find a full range of farm fresh and organic meats, poultry, fruits, vegetables, nuts, preserves and pickles all beautifully presented, just begging to be eaten. Just a quick look at the market stalls reveals the quality of the produce. Of course I have not seen every single market in Moscow, but I have seen a few and in my opinion the quality on offer is unmatched. Unfortunately, this also means that the prices are correspondingly big!
Although you shouldn’t go to Danilovsky market looking for a bargain, I think it would be wrong to say you cannot find good value. To me, products such as the non hormone chickens, quail, guinea fowl, quality butter and cheeses as well as tasty free range eggs offer far more value than their price tag suggests. I definitely wouldn’t suggest it as a location for your weekly shop unless you have a very large food budget, but it is very useful for an occasional splurge on quality food.
As an example, on my latest trip to the market I purchased a nice chicken for roasting, ingredients for a herb stuffing, a bag of ‘new potatoes’ (unbruised – what a revelation) assorted root vegetables and some green beans for approximately 1400RUB. That is not cheap and you can get the same (albeit of a lesser quality) from your local for around half that. The resulting roast dinner however was amazing and was worth every extra rouble.
Although I am most excited by the fresh produce, probably the most popular aspect of Danilovsky market is the ready made food kiosks that line the outer walls of the pavilion. There is an eclectic mix of ethnic foods available and ready to eat right there in the market. The food on offer caters to all budgets, unlike the fresh produce. There are certain stalls, such as the Vietnamese noodles, which constantly have a line of people 20 deep! Lines like this are as much due to the reasonable price as the tastiness of the food.
All in all, if you are in search of quality food in Moscow, it is hard to ignore Danilovsky market. You can easily spend a lazy couple of hours having lunch an browsing the stalls of fresh produce. I guarantee that you will leave with a lot more goodies than you anticipated and the inspiration to cook up a storm with some of the best quality ingredients available in Moscow.
More Information About Danilovsky Market
For more information about the market, including information about some of the produce available, check out their official website (some of which is in English).
If you know of any other great fresh markets in Moscow, please let me know in the comment section below.