In the 19th century French cooks made the same invention, but they added whipped egg white. This French dessert was even closer to modern zefir. The last invention was made by the food technologists in the Soviet Union; they started using a hardener. Zefir should be recognized the cooperative invention by Russians and French.
The sorts of zefir you may find
There are two basic types are zefir in a chocolate coating and the pure one. Both of these types are popular in Russia and can be found in every supermarket. The shape is always classical – it is a hemisphere.
The taste may be different. The two most widespread tastes are apple and vanilla. You can also find cranberry, strawberry, cherry, orange, and creme brulee sorts.
The different tastes are formed not by the main ingredients, but by adding a little bit of juice inside. The applesauce is the necessary ingredient. So we may say all zefir keeps the taste of apple mixed with the other tastes.
How to taste zefir in Russia
It is easy. Just visit a supermarket and buy the pack or few. It may be stored up to one month, so you can take it home as a sweet present. Don't forget to watch for expiration date on the surface of the box.
Please see the small collection of photos below.
Unfortunately, we never saw zefir in restaurants. In the best case a restaurant will offer you the factory made zefir; but it is not interesting because you may visit a supermarket by yourself.
Brand number 1 of zefir
We told already, that at first time modern zefir appeared in the Soviet Union. It has happened in Moscow, and the first food factory produced this dessert was “Udarnica”. Since 1929 this factory is the leader of quality and taste. Its name has become one of the best brands in the Soviet Union and now it is popular in Russia.
“Udarnica” factory is located in Moscow at Shabolovka street. It is near Shabolovskaya subway station. Near the factory you can find a company store with fresh zefir, pastila and candied fruit jelly. If you have some time, you may visit it. Exact address: Moscow, Shabolovka street, 13.
Russians are proud of this brand. This factory was not sold to foreign companies. We can surely call this brand as "Russian national". Such situation is rare. For example, most of the popular brands of Russian national beverage kvass are owned by PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.
Even most of those foreigners who know Russian language cannot translate the word “Udarnica” to English. It is not easy, but we will try. The direct translation is “a striking woman”, but this translation is not correct. To understand the right meaning, we need to remember the history of Russia.
In the Soviet Union many of Russian people believed in communism. Many people worked hard for “light future”. Most active workers who struck records of productivity were called “udarnik” and “udarnica”. Udarnica – is a woman, who strikes records in labor. This translation is correct.
We told above this food plant was found in 1929. It was the time of starting the construction of “a new communist future” and all new factories received such names.
The “Udarnica” factory already broke all records. The half of all candied fruit jelly and zefir eaten in Russia is produced by this factory. 50% of the market is the magnificent result.
If to read the composition of zefir that produced by different factories, then it is clear that “Udarnica” is the most natural and healthy zefir . Of course, we recommend purchasing of zefir with this brand. It is better quality, better ingredients, and the price is not high.
What we can say about other brands? We advise not to take the risk.
For example, let's see the package in the photo on the right. This zefir produced by “Petrovsky” food factory in Saint-Petersburg. We can see the word “Premium”. The package shows us this product is high quality.
In fact, if to watch for the composition of this zefir, you will find artificial dye, cocoa butter substitute, artificial flavoring, sodium lactate and more. It is a large question: “Petrovsky” is a food factory or maybe it is a chemical factory?
Health benefits of zefir
Zefir is healthy. The Russian Academy of Medical Sciences officially advises it as a food for children. Of course, you should not eat much. The recommendation of scientists: not more than 50 grams in one day.
Zefir contain 0 fats. Also, it contains “fast carbohydrates” and useful for fast energy recovery. “Fast carbohydrates” helps a brain to work better.
Zefir usually includes pectin. This natural substance is able to remove toxic elements from human's body. Pectin is able to decrease cholesterol level and increases natural immunity. To tell the truth, it is hard to be sure in these magic qualities of pectin, but many medical scientists say it is truth. In any way, pectin is healthy.
We are happy to tell you more about food in Russia (watch for the list of articles on the left from test and below).