Final post from Moscow. It’s been an incredible trip with some wonderful food, talented chefs and warm and generous home cooks and food writers. I’ve only just started trying to get a handle on where Russian food is heading. I’ll be making many more trips next year. A lot of people have responded saying my stay looked great but here is the downside: it’s hard work (though I was actually working and had a very full schedule it would be taxing as a place to have a holiday). The traffic is awful, the Metro hard to get round if you don’t master the alphabet, most people don’t speak English. It’s not a relaxed place. There are some myths worth popping - you will not get ripped off (or at least I wasn’t). Taxi drivers and waiters aren’t waiting to maximise the price for foreigners. If you live in London you’ll find eating out here is less expensive (including in very high end restaurants); taxis are considerably cheaper than in London. The place is not full of oligarchs. It is not ugly and grey - lots of the buildings have been cleaned revealing beautiful colours and stone. It looks very different to the city I last visited in 1987. The churches and cathedrals are stunning, but then I’ve always loved Russian icons (and the music in the church services). Overall it’s one of the most fascinating places you could visit. It still feels Soviet to me, despite the designer shops. Anyone who dislikes Putin told me their feelings in whispers - they are scared and worried about what he will do next. In order to eat well most people still grow vegetables on allotments or at their parents’ homes outside Moscow. The farmers markets - where the produce seemed cheap to me - is expensive for Russians, but food lovers are willing to spend the money. The food at these - the fish, lamb, cheeses, fruit leathers, honey, pickles and jams, the fruit and veg - was stunning (plentiful and kind of untamed, not necessarily neatly displayed, but with an appreciation of abundance). Everyone was generous (it’s worth knowing a few words of Russian - they appreciate it). I’m looking forward to getting stuck into my pile of Russian reading when I get home. Merry Christmas!