The Moscow Urban Food Market opened May 23-24 at the Museum of Moscow for the first of four planned weekend sessions this summer. Visitors to the market, which will also take place June 20-21, July 18-19 and August 15-16, can enjoy a wide variety of foods from small businesses, ranging from Japanese ramen noodles to Italian-style pizzas to Vietnamese spring rolls. For those who just want a snack, coffee and cookies are also available along with numerous desserts, including such as cheesecake, frozen yogurt and granola bars.
The Urban Food Market offers a well-balanced mix of hot and cold food as well as packaged products for sale — such as pots of luxury peanut butter, flavored with chili, dates, or honey.
"We're catering to a different crowd of people at these events," explained Maria Skorokhodova of Arahis Project, which sells the peanut butter, along with cheeses and fudge. "It certainly helps us with advertising!"
Bringing sellers into contact with the public is one of the main aim of the Urban Food Market, and the organizers encourage customers to discuss dishes with others and give feedback to the stallholders.
The owners of Greek Falafel (www.facebook.com/greekfalafel), who are participating in the Urban Food Market for the third year in a row, find the event very useful in spreading the word about their company. They ask every customer who tries their falafel pot wrap — 250 rubles — to like their Facebook page.
"We make our hummus and tzatziki to a home recipe, adding spices and flavors to our own taste, and festivals like this one help us develop a loyal customer base. We go to markets all over the city, and people have started to know that we will be there and come specifically to see us," the stall's owner said.
Most options — whether a bowl of ramen, a falafel wrap or a large pot of frozen yogurt with topping — were priced at 250 rubles.
The first Urban Market was held in May 2013 and today brings together restaurateurs, foodies, start-ups and entertainers from across Russia. The Urban Food Market team, which is made up of Nastya Kolesnikova, Andrei Budko, Tanya Klimenko and Dasha Kosareva, say their goal is to create a "unique urban environment, whose aim and meaning is so much more than just food."
On the blog, the organizers say the market has five major purposes — to be an urban form of entertainment; to help develop new ideas; to allow people to earn money; to let people eat an inexpensive but tasty meal; and to help develop the economy.
For information about the upcoming Urban Food Market sessions, follow it on Facebook.