Londoners get taste of Ukrainian winter thanks to World Jewish Relief
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Londoners get taste of Ukrainian winter thanks to World Jewish Relief

Guests at JW3 use 4-D ‘virtual reality’ set-up to find out how food is prepared by the women WJR supports in Ukraine

Two young attendees of the World Jewish Relief event at JW3, experience Ukrainian food through special 4D 'virtual reality'
Two young attendees of the World Jewish Relief event at JW3, experience Ukrainian food through special 4D 'virtual reality'

World Jewish Relief is recreating the experience of Ukrainian food in Ukrainian climes – offering Londoners a glimpse of Ukrainian winter life from within the confines of a walk-in fridge.

The charity’s chilly supporters quite literally got a taste of the Ukrainian diet in typical sub-zero temperatures at a launch event at JW3 on Tuesday, while learning about WJR’s support for one of the world’s poorest Jewish communities.

Following its successful ‘Taste of Syria’ food event last year, highlighting the dishes of Damascus in support of refugees, the WJR menu for two weeks includes Ukrainian staples such as Holubutsi, Chicken Kiev, potato latkes and borscht.

Visitors to the JW3 community centre restaurant ‘Zest’ will now get the chance to sample Ukraine gastronomically, and see how the Ukrainian women are supported by WJR, through a special 4-D ‘virtual reality’ set up.

Example of Ukrainian food on offer at the World Jewish Relief event

Often referred to as the ‘breadbasket of Europe,’ Ukrainian cuisine is heavily based on wheat and grains, and most dishes descend from ancient peasant dishes based on plentiful grain resources such as rye as well as staple vegetables such as potato, cabbages, mushrooms and beetroots.

The initiative is timed to coincide with Ukraine’s Liberation Day on 28 October, and £2 from every meal will go towards WJR’s work in the country, which becomes more urgent at this time of year, with the onset of its famously harsh winter.

Two attendees of the World Jewish Relief event at JW3, experience Ukrainian food through special 4D ‘virtual reality’

“Over the last few years, the situation in Ukraine has been more basket case than bread basket,” said WJR communications director Rafi Cooper. “The civil war continues in the East and a million people are still internally displaced.”

He added: “Taste of Ukraine will enable us to raise vital funds to mean that the world’s poorest Jewish communities do not go hungry, whilst giving diners at Zest a unique gastronomic insight into the country.”

JW3 chief executive Raymond Simonson said: “We love to find ways to celebrate the vastly diverse heritage of British Jewry. So many members of our community have roots within Eastern Europe and therefore Taste of Ukraine is for many a taste of what their relatives only a couple of generations ago would have eaten.”

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