With another day in Ukraine upon me, I set out to explore the country’s history and culture with an immersive trip to a nearby village. Join me as I have a true Cossack village tour near Kyiv, Ukraine!
My friend and guide Margarita from Tours by Locals and I started our day roughly an hour outside the capital in Mamajeva Sloboda Cossack Village. The village is essentially a large, open-air ethnographic museum complex!
Inside the walled complex is a forested area with lots of birch trees, wooden cabins, and painted white houses. The stone path takes you through the trees, past the houses and benches. Walking through is like taking a trip back to the 17th century!
The women in the village wear traditional clothing. One of them was cutting up some pork to prepare Kozak kulish, a type of soup that contains millet, salo, potatoes, and onions. She would remove the fat from the meat and use it to make the broth.
The fat goes into the pot and begins to sizzle, and then salt, onion, carrots, millet, eggs, and spring onions are added.
While the dish continued to cook, we tried some syrniki, which are cottage cheese pancakes with sour cream and jam.
The syrniki were fluffy, cheesy pancakes with raisins inside! I loved them with the sour cream, but the jam was my favorite! They were so good, I had to eat them with my hands. Syrniki can be made either fried or steamed. Like the other Cossack village dishes we tried, they were outstanding!
Then, we went back to the woman making kulish. She added parsley, dill, and green onion to some oil to make an added garnish. I tried some of the pork—it tasted like bacon! I loved the vegetables in it.
Finally, she added millet, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and more spices before adding the water, putting the lid on, and letting it cook for 20 minutes.
Next, Margarita and I explored the original houses, which were transported from other regions in Ukraine. We saw one from the 19th century that had its doorframe painted red to protect the people inside from evil.
The house was divided into two parts: the white part is where the people lived, and the other part was a storage area. Inside, the house was set up like a 19th century Ukrainian home. There was a bed, traditional clothing, tables, traditional clothes, a fireplace, pottery, holy icons, and more. It’s like a mini ethnographic museum.
The storage area reminded me of a barn and contained lots of hay. They’re designed to be warm during the winter and cool in the summer. They also have some beehives outside and a craft street.
My Cossack village tour experience outside of Kyiv, Ukraine continued further down the street at a blacksmith shop. The blacksmith makes horseshoes and other metal items, including fish ornaments for protection. You can take a masterclass from him and make your own fish if you want for 150 hryvnia, or about $6 USD. I bought a fish instead!
Back outside, the blacksmith took us to see some traditional Ukrainian musical instruments made from wood. They’re beautiful!
Then, it was time to go back to the kulish! I watched as the cook added eggs. While we waited, I had some salo with bread. Then, we dove into the kulish! I love dishes like this. It’s thick, hearty, and pasty, and rich with pork. It reminded me a lot of polenta.
Adding the garnish with oil added some fresh herbal flavor and enhanced the dish even further! The dill and parsley were amazing, and I loved the parsley as well. It was so filling!
Back on the way to the main gate, we passed a beautiful church that was built without using nails. We also saw homes with straw roofs and clay bodies. What a beautiful experience!
I hope you liked coming with me on my Cossack village tour in Kyiv, Ukraine! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my travel/food adventures around the world!