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Jan 20, 2011 04:40 PM

Whole Foods' kvass is not kvass. Can anyone explain?

I have seen signs that say kvass is coming soon to Whole Foods in New York. Some of the signs say "The Russians are coming!" and the like. I guess it is here, because the other day at Whole Foods they were giving out kvass samples. I tried it and it did not remotely resemble what I thought kvass was. I have been drinking kvass for years and my understanding was that it is sort of a yeasty rye soda from Russia. It is made out of bread and it bears some resemblance to beer. With the Russian-themed posters, I thought the WF kvass would be similar to what I get at Russian grocery stores in New York. However, what they were sampling at Whole Foods was a brightly-colored, non-carbonated, tart vegetable drink.

I tried googling and all I got were a few people also complaining that WF kvass is not kvass. Why is it called kvass, then?

Thanks for any insight!

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  1. Perhaps they were not expecting anyone to actually know what kvass is? Personally I can't stand kvass, fermented bread drink with a faint flavoring of raisins that have been scraped from the bottom of a very old container, and I'm a Pole through and through.

    1. If it's this product then it's Coke's version which is apparently popular in Russia (can't stand it myself - the "authentic" stuff, that is):

      1. Would I be giving them too little credit if I wondered whether they're confusing kvass with borsht? As in, all those Russian beverages look alike to them?

        What was the bright color?

        1 Reply
        1. re: falconress

          There were several bright colors- I tried an orange one (carrot ginger?) and there was a bright purple one and maybe a red one. I think it was these:

          They bore no resemblance in appearance or taste to what I thought was traditional kvass (what zitronenmadchen described as fermented bread drink with faint flavoring of raisins.) I can't imagine it could be the same product! Perhaps it is beet kvass as suggested below. I didn't know there was such a thing!

        2. Could it be beet kvass? That's the only kind of kvass I've ever tried (and made).
          Here is a recipe, which is more similar to the type I am familiar with:

          1. Some things from the old world, need to stay in the old world.Kvass is one of them.