The old Soviet block, today's Eastern European countries are not be the first (probably not even the tenth) place to come up in most people's list of countries known for their great food. Still, for many East Germans I know who have spent their childhood in what still was the GDR, Eastern European food, especially Russian, retains the same fascination of exotic food mixed with the nostalgic longing for childhood. I have to grin every time Daniela talks of Russian candy. She hates desserts that are too sweet, but buys these candies whenever she finds them, ignoring their cloying sugar content. I suspect she eats them because they brings back special memories, and not for the taste, so I've stopped making jokes about the contradiction in personal food tastes.
Daniela is not the only one with a sweet tooth for Russian goods. Some local grocery stores carry a section with Russian goods, canned and frozen mainly, and we even had a little Russian store for a while in Jena selling a nice selection of Vodkas. After they closed the candy supply dried out. Until a few months ago, when I came home to find Daniela munching on a Russian sweet smiling. A new Russian shop had opened. It took me month's before I managed to get there: being out of my usual way I never managed to make it before the early closing time. Once I did manage though, I found something much more interesting than candy to me: pirogi.