A posting on a more personal note (and taste) - while in Russia, I really enjoy having tea. In the Andreyeva home, this means a large glass dish of konfeti (almost entirely chocolates) will be brought out. Caffeine and chocolate - my two favorite vices!
Now, Russian chocolates are really just great. Very decorative, stylized labels. and tasty little chocolates in a surprising variety. I've brought home a ton of these for my kids and coworkers and parents. They just exude a kind of class or style that you don't find associated with most chocolates here (not at the Godiva-level, but sure ain't Hershey either). I have thought if you started an import business with Krasnii Oktobr and packaged and marketed it properly - it would do very well here. There is this entire romantic notion of Russian tea and dignity that could easily be tied into with a product like that.
In any case, I discovered a nice little Russian food website (to be honest, I think it was through one of my Google ads on the blog). Russian Table, based out of Brooklyn, New York. And let me tell ya, эти мальчики have some serious chocolates.
РотФронт (Rot Front), Красный Октябрь (Krasnii Oktyabr), and Бабаевский (Babaevski) are all very well represented. I hadn't seen these available anywhere else in the US - I really recommend these to anyone who enjoys such things.
Some of my favorites are here ... first and foremost Krasnii Oktyabr Трюфели ("Truffles") - which are like a bittersweet cocoa bomb that melts in your mouth. I give it two big thumbs up.
The rather popular Krasnii Oktyabr Аленка ("Alenka") is here. Also Babaevski Вдохновение ("Inspiration" - isn't that just one of those Nestle Nescafe coffee commercials waiting to happen?)
I notice not all of the chocolates are here, but most of the popular ones are available. For instance, I don't see those Rot Front soy candies that Katja enjoys most (Sergei declares them "primitive"). There are many other typical Russian food products available here - honey, caviar, smoked fish - and compared to some other Russian food stores that I have found, the prices are more reasonable (still not cheap, however).
As a side note .... Krasnii Oktyabr (Red October) and Rot Front might seem like rather ... militant (?) names for candy companies, but these are really rather old, famous, almost historic company names in Russia. Americans hear Red October and imagine cold war imagery of massive submarines (ala Tom Clancy) or the Russian Revolution. To Russians, it is as associated with chocolate as the name Hershey.