How do I learn to eat ice cream when it's -15°C?
TMT: You mean how do you enjoy ice cream that has — ironically — become too cold to eat and risks freezing your tongue to it for all eternity?
Aside from the abundance of 24-hour florists, one of the most baffling sights for foreigners in Moscow is the long line in front of ice cream stands, even in the deepest winter. If you're reading this because your last hot date ended on a frosty note after you declined a scoop of morozhenoye (ice cream), let us explain a little bit about Russia's love affair with this sweet treat.
It all goes back to the Soviet era when a honcho from the Russian Ministry of Food Supply visited the United States and decided to open the first ice cream factory in Russia. The idea was to create a mass-produced product at a reasonable price for everyone to enjoy. Ice cream was taken so seriously that a state-wide standard for manufacturing was introduced in 1941 to ensure the quality of the final product.
Russian ice cream has a higher fat content and a creamier taste than other ice creams. If you grab a cone from a traditional ice cream stand, like the ones around GUM department store, you're tapping into a nostalgia shared by babushkas and their children and then passed onto their children's children. And once you take a bite, you'll see why they love it.
Despite frosty temperatures, take it from us that the creamy nature of Russian ice cream means it's not like you're directly ingesting ice. Embrace your inner child and bend the rules like the Russians. Besides, there are several advantages to a winter cone. It won't melt all over you, it will soothe your sore throat, and last but not least — you burn more calories when you're cold. That means ice cream is basically good for you. Right?
Where can I recycle my pile of old TMT editions?
TMT: Does your child fancy a papier-mache craft session? Is the pet rabbit in need of new bedding? If not, there are several places across the city that will be only too happy to take all those unwanted newspapers, magazines and cardboard boxes off your hands.
Unfortunately, it will probably mean going to a private recycling company. As it stands, there is no uniform recycling collection service provided by the government. While private companies are very efficient, many are only interested in industrial amounts of paper, which, unless you're on the fifth draft of that family memoir, probably isn't helpful to you.
But don't despair! Greenpeace.ru has put together a handy interactive map which shows you all of the existing recycling points in Moscow. Simply enter your address to find the nearest point. Color-coding shows which materials you can drop off, be it glass, paper or clothing. Alternatively, head to Sfera Ekology, part of the ArtPlay Design Center, where you can drop off your unwanted paper between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Live in the north of Moscow? The MEGA shopping mall at Khimki has a stationary collection point for recyclables including paper. It's situated in the parking lot behind IKEA, which gives you a good excuse to go and treat yourself after you've saved the planet.
Two things to bear in mind. Firstly, private companies often ask for a minimum weight of 1 kilogram of recyclable material. Secondly, ensure that you've separated cardboard, papers and anything with a glossy or plastic cover. We didn't say it would be easy, but just think of the warm, fuzzy feeling you'll get after doing the planet a good deed.
Sfera Ekology: 10 Nizhnyaya Syromyatnicheskaya Ulitsa, Metro Kurskaya
MEGA Khimki: MEGA Khimki, Leningradskoe Shosse