Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Alexander Palace => The Alexander Palace => Topic started by: Forum Admin on January 23, 2004, 01:30:37 PM

Title: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Forum Admin on January 23, 2004, 01:30:37 PM
Use this thread to talk about or ask questions about meals, banquets, the wine cellar or related topics.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: pers on January 26, 2004, 06:48:30 PM
Does anyone know how one could find the daily menus of meals served at the palace.  I am sure there must be some kind of archive somewhere (probably in Russia) to which someone on this earth might have access.  It would be especially interesting to see whether the Orthodox fast periods during the year were reflected in the menus, or whether the Imperial Family did not strictly adhere to it despite the Empress' religeousness.  Then again I have read in quite a few places that Alexandra Feodorovna mostly ate her meals separately or specially prepared for her.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: BobAtchison on January 26, 2004, 08:03:42 PM
All of the gala menus are in the archives of the palace in St. Petersburg.  Each day all of the events that took place in the palace were recorded in beautiful script in a huge book.  The personal meals that were served to the family in their private quarters are recorded as well.  That's where we found the recipes we have on the site.

They followed all of the fasts very carefully.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: JD on January 27, 2004, 11:25:27 AM
Sorry, could someone point me to these menus/recipes? I've looked but can't find them.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Forum Admin on January 27, 2004, 11:33:39 AM
JD,
Go to the Alexander Palace mainpage, in the section on Imperial Dining, the links to "Alexandra's Names Day" and "Tatiana's Birthday" are where the menus and recipes are located.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: pers on January 27, 2004, 05:46:54 PM
Do you think you could post these menus?  Or is it too daunting a task.  Examples of breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus as well as the famous afternoon teas that Robert Massie says Alexandra complained about as it was dull compared to the teas held by others.  I think it is Anna Vyrubova that indicated in her book that every day at the same time the same tables draped in white would appear with hot bread, butter and biscuits.  I would love to get hold of the recipes..
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: pers on January 27, 2004, 05:48:48 PM
Forgot to ask Bob, what happened to that section you used to have on the website of the palace kitchen along with the detailed plan of the kitchen building?
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 02, 2004, 02:53:57 PM
I am curious about the kitchens as well. I think they were in a seperate building, connected by a tunnel to the palace. Was there a "private" one for the family as well as one for the formal functions?
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: BobAtchison on February 02, 2004, 08:37:44 PM
The kitchens were in a separate building from the palace.  This building was modifued over the years and new innovations installed.

Within the palace were small buffets and kitchens where things could be heated up and dishes like blinis could be made quickly.  Nicholas I used one of these small kitchens a lot when he stayed at the palace.

The tunnel was built so that food could be moved quickly from the kitchens to the palace.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Sarai on February 14, 2004, 03:25:39 PM
This is an interesting article regarding the menu at Tsar Alexander III's coronation, which I found at this link:
http://www.russianfoods.com/cuisine/article00011/default.asp

"Here is the menu of the dinner at tsar coronation May, 20-23, 1883 when the czar of the Rus Alexander the Third came to the throne:

1. Pearl-barley soup. Pechony pirozhki (baked pies)
2. Sterlets with pickles
3. Crayfish in aspic (holodets)
4. Ruffs in aspic (zalivnoe)
5. Quails with mashed peas. Boiled beef.
6. Hazel-hens with sour cream.
7. Appetizers with roast – pickled cucumbers, pickled mushrooms, pickled cranberries and cowberries. Pickled apples.
8. Sweets: peas in the pod. “Tsaregradskie” pods. Babashki with poppy seeds, pryaniki vyazemskie, and gorodetskie
9. Tea
And wines were served to all tastes – French, Spanish, Italian, German and Hungarian (Tokay) ones."
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Sarai on March 08, 2004, 02:59:53 PM
I have found several websites each claiming to have a recipe for a "favorite" food of Tsar Nicholas II. These claims may or may not be true, but I thought it would be interesting to link to these sites so that those who are curious can recreate some of these dishes:

Russian Palace Vegetable Borscht
Definition: "Originally from Russia and Poland, borscht is a soup made with fresh beets. It can be prepared using an assortment of vegetables, or with meat and meat stock, or with a combination of both. Borscht can be served hot or cold; it should always be garnished with a dollop of sour cream." [Foodnetwork.com]
This particular recipe is actually from a former cook of Nicholas II:
http://www.ichef.com/recipe.cfm/smocid/164/recipe/Russian%20Palace%20Vegetable%20Borscht/category/Radio%20Kitchen/itemid/342040/task/display/recipeid/117512/recipecategoryid/178

Blinis with Caviar
Definition: "Hailing from Russia, blini (singular, blin) are small, yeast-raised buckwheat pancakes that are classically served with sour cream and caviar or smoked salmon." [Foodnetwork.com]
This site says that this recipe was a favourite of the Tsar's:
http://www.stratsplace.com/rogov/ultimate_food.html

Shchi (Russian cabbage soup)
A soup touted by this site to be a favorite of the Tsar's, as well as of a diverse group of characters including Ivan the Terrible, Lenin, and Stalin:
http://www.soupsong.com/rshchi.html

Salade Olivier a.k.a. Salade a la Russe (Russian salad)
Said to be a favorite hors d'oevre of Nicholas II, named after his French chef. The chef survived the Revolution and became a successful restauranteur, where he re-named the salad "salade a la Russe" in honour of his former employer:
http://www.stratsplace.com/rogov/salade_russe.html

Here are links to a couple of the foods that I found mentioned on the Alexander Palace's main site, for the Imperial luncheon served on "Tatiana's Birthday 1905." These may not necessarily be the exact recipes used for that occasion, but they are probably close in taste:

Botvinia (Cold green vegetable soup with fish)
http://www.ruscuisine.com/cooking-recipes/index.php/soups/cold/?recipe=201&offset=0

Potage Bonne Femme (Potato-Leek soup; a classic French soup)
http://www.recipesource.com/soups/soups/vegetable-soup1.html

Here are some more foods that I read were mentioned in the family's diaries. Again, these may not necessarily be exactly like what the family ate, but they are probably very close, as they are traditional Russian dishes. Also, these recipes are just a starting point, and if they are not to one's liking, one can find variations in their style and complexity simply by searching for them on Google:

Blini (see definition above)http://www.foodtv.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_26200,00.html

Pirozhki (small turnovers/dumplings, baked or fried)
http://www.ruscuisine.com/cooking-recipes/index.php/breads-and-pastry/pies/?recipe=354&offset=0

Paskha
Definition: "Russian sweet cheese mold traditionally served at Easter. It consists of a combination of sweetened pot cheese (or cottage cheese), nuts (usually almonds) and candied or dried fruit. Classically, this mixture is molded into the shape of a four-sided pyramid. The paskha is decorated with nuts or candy to form the letters XB, which stands for "Christ is risen." Paskha is the traditional accompaniment for the sweet yeast bread kulich." [Foodnetwork.com]
http://www.ruscuisine.com/cooking-recipes/index.php/breads-and-pastry/other/?recipe=204&offset=0A

Kulich
Definition: "A tall cylindrical Russian Easter cake that's traditionally served with pashka (a creamy cheese mold). Kulich is yeast-raised and flavored with raisins, candied fruit and saffron. It's usually crowned with a white confectioners' sugar icing, sprinkled with chopped candied fruits and almonds and sometimes embellished with a rose." [Foodnetwork.com]
http://www.ruscuisine.com/recipes-by-email/archive/030425.html

Kutia  
Definition: Primary dish in the Russian Christmas Eve meal. It is a type of porridge and is very symbolic, with its ingredients being various grains for hope, and honey and poppy seed for happiness and peace.[Russian-crafts.com]
http://www.ruscuisine.com/recipes-by-email/archive/000824.html
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Katharina on March 10, 2004, 08:39:42 AM
Thanks for this amazing list.

One slight detail: I have read three books stating that Nicholas II. did not like caviar since he had fallen ill eating spoilt goods. Roman Romanov remembered that on the other hand the tsar loved "canard en daube" (duck stew).
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on March 14, 2004, 08:48:10 PM
Quote
All of the gala menus are in the archives of the palace in St. Petersburg.  Each day all of the events that took place in the palace were recorded in beautiful script in a huge book.  The personal meals that were served to the family in their private quarters are recorded as well.  That's where we found the recipes we have on the site.

They followed all of the fasts very carefully.



Hello Bob,
Last time i was in Tsarskoe i asked the present curator of the Alexander Palace about the palace archives but she told me they had nothing of the kind, and so told me the vicedirector of the Catherine Palace, Iraida Kurtovna Bott. However they shew me a box of mounted photographs of the interiors preserved in the latter palace archive.  I asked too about the fragments of palace curtains and wall hangings you wrote that Anatoly Kuchumov have shown to you and the A. P. curator told me that she had only seen an album of photographs assembled by Kuchumov in which some tiny samples of these fabrics were pasted that is now preserved in Pavlovsk....
Is perhaps the palace archive in the Senate building???
Could you tell us more about the present state of these archives and where could be found?

THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: BobAtchison on March 14, 2004, 09:20:27 PM
Antonio:

The palace archives are in the central historical archive of St. Petersburg, not at the palace. I cannot give you any details on the current situation of the archive or where it is now housed.  I have read some postings about the archive in various news groups over the last 5-6 years and I know they had plans for upgrading their facilities.

Kuchumov had loose samples of fabrics that were not in his albums.  He had a box full of them.  He offered me the whole box, but I refused saying they should stay in Russia for the future restoration of the palace.  He insisted I take a fabric sample from the Mauve Room and Suzanne Massie, who was with me, take a fabric sample from the Imperial Train and from the carriage of Alexander III - the one in which he was traveling when he was blown up.

My piece of fabric comes from the upholstry of one of the chairs or divans in the room.  Kuchumov explained to me that there were two types of fabric in the Mauve Room - the French Lampas Violette from France that was of a richer hue and the paler Russian silk that was used on the furniture.  That's what I have - it is about 4 x 3 inches in size.  I have always felt very privileged to have this fragment.

I don't know what happened to the other fabric samples he had.... I am afraid some things must have vanished after his death.

Bob
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on March 14, 2004, 09:52:01 PM
THANKS BOB!!!
You must feel of course very privileged, not only for having such a piece and the possibility to see its actual colour but specially for having met A. Kuchumov... I would be fascinated to hear MORE of that conversations you had and the things he told you.
The others things he had may be now in Pavlovsk, what do you think? It´s really a matter of great importance for the future restoration. Besides, Natasha(the curator) told me that the relations betwen the two palaces, i mean Pavlovsk and Tsarskoe, is somehow difficult......
 I saw in one of the former of Nicholas´rooms( i think it was the bathroom) a recreation of the bookcases from the second library of the palace.
I will try with the Petersburg archive the next time i am in Russia, thanks again!!!!
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Sarai on May 28, 2004, 01:24:41 PM
Above I posted the menu for Alexander III's coronation, and here now is the menu for Nicholas's coronation banquet, from Nicholas and Alexandra:
1. Borshch
2. Pepper-pot soup
3. Turnovers filled with meat
4. Steamed fish
5. Whole spring lamb
6. Pheasants in cream sauce
7. Salad
8. Asparagus
9. Sweet fruits in wine
10. Ice cream
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Mike on May 30, 2004, 12:21:40 PM
Numerous recollections exist (in Russian) about eating and drinking habits of the last two tzars. Briefly, both of them (especially Alexander III) preferred simple food in private, but were confined to gourmet - mostly French - cuisine by strict ceremonial rules of the court dining. While Russian "national" meals were also served on a daily basis, an European influence was quite apparent in their recipes. The only places where more traditional, peasant-style meals were allowed, were imperial hunting reserves - Belovezh, Spala, etc.

Nicolas II was careful not to express his gasronomic preferences, except probably to his immediate family, because any such statement would have been interpreted as an "august will" and could affect public tastes, market prices etc.

As to the drinking, Nicolas always gulped two small glasses of vodka (sometimes flavored) just before breakfast and dinner, and savored a large glass of Madeira wine during the meal. His dad Alexander III preferred cognac - at any time.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Forum Admin on May 30, 2004, 01:32:38 PM
I must confess that there is some confusion from those closest contemporary sources about exactly what Nicholas II would drink.  Most sources agree he drank little vodka, but there are some very reliable references that he might have one small one with Zakuskis before dinner when with his officers or at state occassions.  He definately loved his Madeira, and also enjoyed the wines from the Hesse family vineyards.  He drank Charles Heidsieck Monopole champagne NOT Roederer's Cristal as commonly believed, but even then only rarely. I have NEVER seen a single reference to his drinking vodka ever in the morning. Spiridovitch also repeats several times that when the Tsar was "toasting" his troops on Parade, his "vodka" glass was actually filled with white wine, while the others were drinking vodka.

Nicholas was not ever a heavy drinker, ever. But Rod, palace records indicate that he would drink wine and champagne with guests, even when "not State" occassions, and he did sometimes have Madeira in the evening after dinner when alone with Alexandra.  He would also drink wine when served it as a guest of someone else for a meal so as not to offend the host.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Forum Admin on May 30, 2004, 01:43:23 PM
Here is the portion of my menu from the first night of Nicholas' coronation festivities in 1896, I have enlarged out just the meal itself.  Im afraid that I can't make out what was served, perhaps some one can translate it for us? I thought people might enjoy seeing it:

(http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/forumimages/coronationmenuclip.jpg)
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Greg_King on May 31, 2004, 12:33:16 AM
The children also drank wine-a glass of St. Raphael-according to Voikov, as it was said to have a medicinal benefit.

Greg King
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Mike on May 31, 2004, 05:38:45 AM
About Nicolas' drinking vodka: see e.g. General Mosolov's memoirs (he was chief of office ["direktor kantsellyarii"] at the Ministry of Imperial Court till 1916).

Nicolas definitely was not a heavy drinker, unlike his father. However, it was customary to drink one or two small (30-50 ml) glasses of vodka while standing at the zakuski table just before breakfast and dinner. Please note that breakfast was served at noon or even 12:30, so it hardly would be considered "morning drinking".  As to gulping, every true Russian (and even not so true - like me :D) gulps vodka rather than sips it.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Mike on June 01, 2004, 12:50:15 AM
What assertion?... Have you read Mosolov?
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Sarai on June 01, 2004, 12:43:50 PM
I found another interesting reference to Nicholas's favourite foods in Nicholas & Alexandra, pg. 127. It says that Nicholas especially enjoyed "slices of suckling pig with horseradish, taken with a glass of port." He also enjoyed cabbage soup or borshch or kasha (buckwheat) with boiled fish and fruit. So there are a few more items to add on to his favourite foods list.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: neva on June 20, 2004, 10:00:51 PM
How could they make ice-cream in the summer when there was no electricity (fridge) to make ice?
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: neva on June 20, 2004, 10:02:19 PM
Was there no proper dining room at the AP? Why would they eat food in different rooms?
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Forum Admin on June 20, 2004, 11:19:23 PM
Ice was gathered in winter and stored in underground ice houses in hay and salt to keep it over summer.
There was no dining room 'per se' in the AP. The Semi Circular hall was used for formal dining. Other rooms were used for family and smaller informal dining.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Sarai on November 15, 2004, 06:44:53 PM
Not sure if this is true or not (seeing as how Nicholas was not known for his drinking), but according to this article http://www.mosnews.com/feature/2004/11/15/hangovercures.shtml, there is a hangover cure allegedly discovered by Nicholas called "Nikolashka," which involves the following:

"Another curing “snack” was allegedly discovered by Tsar Nicholas II, and is called “Nikolashka”: take a slice of lemon, put a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of coffee on top, and eat in one bite."
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: mek on November 15, 2004, 08:40:24 PM
Neva - Ice cream was and still can be made with a hand churn. No electicity required. The mixture is placed in a sealed cylindar with paddles inside.  This is placed in a bucket with alternating layers of ice and salt. As the ice melts you crank the handle to turn the paddles inside which scrape the frozen mixture off of the inside can. You continue churning until all of the mixture is frozen. What a treat! We used to do this when I was young at my grandmother's house - in those days few people bought comercially frozen ice cream at the market and kept it in their freezers,(which were very small back in the early '50's).
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: RichC on November 18, 2004, 05:51:19 PM
I don't have my copy handy, but I know there is a passage in Nicholas and Alexandra where Massie quotes Nicholas' diary from the early 1890's: "Wallowed in the grass and drank...got soused...the officiers carried me out..."

It sounds to me that he was guilty of youthful drinking bouts, just like many of the rest of us!   :D

I've read that book so many times, I can almost quote it verbatim....

Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: La_Mashka on March 30, 2005, 05:41:32 PM
About the kitchen

What happened to this building?  was it torn down???
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: hikaru on March 30, 2005, 11:19:55 PM
I would like to share with you the Menu of the Winter Palace Ball took place on 19th  January 1904 .
I will write it in French, according to the original.
I would like to know, if somebody know what is the dessert  Bombe Victoria?

SOUPER
du 19 Janvier 1904

Consomme Rassolnik
Pailles au fromage, Fondant, Feuilett'es
Langoustes a la Parisienne
Timballes de Volaille Toulouse
aux Pointes d'Asperges
Roti: Faisans de Boheme et Gelinottes
Salad
Truffes au champagne
Bombe Victoria
Dessert
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Sarai on April 03, 2005, 03:41:45 PM
Quote
I would like to know, if somebody know what is the dessert  Bombe Victoria?


I found a description of it on the Internet:
"Mold lined with cherry ice cream and the center filled with vanilla ice cream and chopped candied fruit."
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: hikaru on April 06, 2005, 08:58:27 AM
OOOO, I want it.
Will try to replace it with ice-cream from my refrigerator.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Elocin on April 06, 2005, 01:38:07 PM
That sounds so yummy! Truly a dessert fit for royalty!
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Robert_Hall on April 06, 2005, 02:27:40 PM
It does seem a bit odd that "bombes" were so popular back then,  I have several royalty-related recipes. And I love making them. But, you know what "bombe" means ?   To serve it at a Romanov dinner- how ironic.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Joanna on April 10, 2008, 02:31:52 PM
Another interesting article - this time on the history of the Tsars' Kitchens with details on the AP,  locations of the kitchens in the Winter Palace, etc:
http://kremlin-9.rosvesty.ru/news/48/

Joanna

Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Forum Admin on April 10, 2008, 04:30:09 PM
Could some kind Russian speaker translate this for me?? I'd love to read it.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Joanna on April 10, 2008, 08:02:43 PM
A quick translation! Anyone who can correct or clarify, please help.

Tsar’s Kitchen

Many countries were concerned about the safety of the products intended for Heads of State table. In ancient Rome, there was a special post for “food taster”who tried each dish that was supplied to the emperor. In pre-revolutionary Russia the preparation of food for the tsars traditionally ensured the safety of the suppliers by conducting tests.

After the edict of Paul I on the line of succession along the main line, palace coups ended.  At the beginning of the administration of Nikolai I’s kitchen, although risk factor had of coups had lessened, there was still maintained the same attention by officials for the health of the tsar.

Under the office of the administrator was the sanitary and expense of the kitchens. The corps-pages waited at the table of Alexandr I. Waiters wore gloves and their loyalty was  was checked. On 30 August, 1856 with the coronation of Aleksandr II, a new court rank was introduced - Ober-Forshneyder(?).  He assisted with the chef(?) the dishes to the imperial table which was escorted by two officers of Kavalergardskogo regiment with broadswords and also the cooked meat and plates intended for the Imperial couple.

It is known that the products, supplied to the imperial table, were checked by the method of "chemical decomposition". In the fall of 1852 the court pharmacist Z. Lorenz reported to the court medical manager the products inspected by him were “completed without harmful health impurities”. In the spring of 1853, on the personal instruction of Nikolai I, all city stores that sold pikuli (small vegetables, marrionated in vinegar with spices), were to be sampled for conducting of chemical analyses.

Many problems arose with canned foods which had begun to enter into daily life. In 1863 head waiter Seger reported at Livadia that "the tin provisions proved to be largly unfit to use". At the end 1870s when the terrorist threat against the tsar increased, chemical  research of products was conducted as a safety measure for the imperial family. Thus, in 1878 an order was added for the "study of vodka and candies".

Chefs along with all service personnel were not employed under the court department  but hired on contract. Periodically this order was changed. The kitchen was transferred to the tight control of court department and long-term contracts were concluded with the suppliers. But this led only to an increase in abuses in the kitchen, and in 1852 changed so that the kitchen personnel were trained under the chefs. Up to 1917 the kitchen remained an independent subdivision of court, being subordinated to the head waiter.

In the Winter Palace (from end XVIII) several kitchens were used during different reigns. Since there were thousands of people working in the palace, the largest kitchens were located in the northeastern basement and first floors  In the basement were stored products of water, coal, firewood, and servants quarters. The room names reflected their functional designation: Pastry, etc.  Further along the Rastrelli Gallery, under the halls of the Military Gallery of Heroes of 1812 were located the rooms for the kitchen of Marie Feodorovna, wife of Paul 1, and the chefs followed from palace to palace with their master.

In December 1826 Nikolai I personally determined the size of the "food allowance" of each member of the imperial family which was 25 rubles in a 24 hour period. The children also were allowed 25 rubles, but out of this sum payment for food was deducted for their tutors. The same amount was used for guests of the family. It was significant for those times that the Tsar would require of the head waiter that "the food would be the best with the allowable allowance”. Thus alcohol was the answer. Although Nikolai I did not drink much, he did not limit the quantity served. Thus three ladies-in-waiting consumed in 17 days 36 bottles of various labels and 15 bottles of beer.
 
On 26 October, 1833  “the decrease in the food allowance and the rise of prices" marked the beginning of a more economical time for the imperial court. Dinner included: soup, patties, cold, seasoned beef, fish sauce, poulty sauce, vegetables, hot, milk or bread jelly or cream. The new menu proposed included 8 changes (dishes): soup, patties, seasoned beef, fish sauce, poulty sauce, hot, milk or bread jelly or cream. One less dish also was served for supper. Earlier there were three changes: soup, cold, fish sauce. Since 1841 the soup, fish sauce or instead of it cold fish, dessert, fruits were served in the rooms of the on-duty officials.

The usual daily practice was the use of gold (?) on which the china dishes were placed. The imperial table differed only with the desserts of fruits which were fresh from the Ropsha hothouses. Yelisevev was the fruit merchant supplier and dairy products came from the Elagin and Tsarskoe Selo dairy farms. For safety reasons, the milk was transported in bottles covered by ice and then stored in the ice house. Milk was also bought from other suppliers.

To be continued:
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Joanna on April 10, 2008, 08:03:57 PM
Tsar's Kitchen continued:

Scandals occurred occasionally in the imperial kitchens in spite of the sanitary controls which were investigated by the minister of the court. Thus in 1847 there was the issue of the trout which was of ‘poor quality’. Sometimes the scandals became a political issue which reflected on the Imperial house. For example in 1861 the Imam of (?) which for two decades waged war against Russia, had a poorly prepared dinner in Krasnoe Selo. THE III Order of deliveries by the emperor kitchen began to change with Aleksandr. Instead of foreign wine and champagne they began to buy domestic. They forbade to order abroad usual products - potatoes, pork and fat. Hardly this referred to safety, faster the matter was in the guidance of order on the kitchen and the elementary savings.

One of the traditions of the imperial court was the traditional yearly present. For example, the Ural Cossacks supplied every spring caviar and fish as the first “Imperial catch”.

These traditions were followed during the reign of Nikolai II. In the Alexander palace, the kitchen was located in a separate building and in the basement of the palace where the preparation of the Imperial family meals were cooked. A tunnel connected the two buildings.  In the basement of palace nine large rooms were used for kitchens and canteens. In "Their Own Canteen of Their Majesties"  were prepared coffee, boiled milk, cream and chocolate. In "Its Own (?) Kitchen" were prepared dishes  which it was necessary to bring to the table heated. There were a worktable, pastry ovens, boiler for heating the water, spit and device for the preparation of shashlik on birch coals. Several canteens and kitchens were also for the attendants and servants.

Traditionally soldiers would test the food prepared for the Tsar. They were brought daily to the Alexander Palace to conduct such “tests”, of which these regimental guards were rotated among the various divisions quartered in the town.  However, these were not simple tests. According to a memoir, everything was tested "from the ovens - different spices were added to the silver tsarist cruet stands, everything that was flavored by the sour cream, podlivoy (?), and undoubtedly cabbage soups appeared already first-class ".

When the imperial family moved to their other palaces, the kitchen staff went also and used the foods from the palace storerooms or products were brought from the nearest residence. Thus, during sails in the Finnish skerries, fresh products were brough from Peterhof in torpedo boats. The chef of the Massandra and Livadia estates, N.N. Kachalov said “what  enormous quantity of eggs, milk, cream and oil is required daily for the court, and needed to be dispatched to Sevastopol where the Imperial family was visiting”.
 
There were traditions maintained in the kitchen. For instance, from the time of Nikolai I, it was the custom of the court for the kalatches (?) to be eaten hot with a heated napkin. For the baking of these kalatches  (?) cistern water was used in the tsarist kitchen.
 
The safety of the food was one of the most important functions of the subdivisions of protection, which checked, first of all, the personnel who were employed with the preparation of dishes for the imperial table. The quality of products was guaranteed by the reputation of the suppliers, who were selected very thoroughly. In the beginning of the twentieth century began the practice of  providing products from the imperial farms, hothouses and fishing. Each Imperial family had its own kitchen, its suppliers and kitchen personnel which accompanied during the seasonal passages to their palaces. However, the menu of imperial table, for the most part, was determined by traditions, which were established with by the court and by the predilections of one or another emperor in his time.

Joanna
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: BobG on April 11, 2008, 05:26:22 AM
according to my dictionary

калачи = kalach is a white wheatmeal loaf (bread)

BobG
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Mike on April 11, 2008, 06:17:09 AM
Podliva = thick sauce added to a dish.
Kalach = round white loaf, often with a dough-baked handle. It was usually eaten with tea from samovar. See it masterly painted by Boris Kustodiev:
(http://www.museum.ru/imgB.asp?16576)
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: BobG on April 11, 2008, 08:22:53 AM

Traditionally soldiers would test the food prepared for the Tsar. They were brought daily to the Alexander Palace to conduct such “tests”, of which these regimental guards were rotated among the various divisions quartered in the town.  However, these were not simple tests. According to a memoir, everything was tested "from the ovens - different spices were added to the silver tsarist cruet stands, everything that was flavored by the sour cream, podlivoy (?), and undoubtedly cabbage soups appeared already first-class ".


This is my attempts at this passage:

"Traditionally emperors took samples from his soldier's food pots. At the Alexander palace such "samples" were brought daily, alternatively from various securtity divisions and from the kitchens of the  Guards regiments billeted nearby . However they were not simple samples. According to one memoir, all samples were taken « from the general pot, but with enhancements. To the silver imperial dinner pail different spices were added, all was flavoured with sour cream, gravy, and, certainly, the russian sailor's cabbage soup appeared first class»."

To my Russian friends, let me know if this comes close (there's a lot of "uneducated guessing" in my translating.

BobG
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Mike on April 11, 2008, 09:07:49 AM
but with enhancements a ruse.
Otherwise, it's fine.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Alexandre64 on May 19, 2008, 02:47:46 AM
Quatre menus servi à la cour:
http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/jj213/Alexandre64_2007/Porcelaine/12109520295143721.jpg
http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/jj213/Alexandre64_2007/Porcelaine/1911.jpg
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: EmmyLee on July 14, 2008, 01:29:52 PM
It was significant for those times that the Tsar would require of the head waiter that "the food would be the best with the allowable allowance”. Thus alcohol was the answer. Although Nikolai I did not drink much, he did not limit the quantity served. Thus three ladies-in-waiting consumed in 17 days 36 bottles of various labels and 15 bottles of beer.
 

The thought of this makes me sick. Many thanks to Joanna and BobG on their translations of the article! It's not surprising that such precautions were taken to ensure that the food was safe to give to the Tsar, especially when terrorist activity heightened.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Joanna on July 22, 2008, 12:49:45 PM
Another fascinating article on customs of dining during the reign of the last Tsar with descriptions of tables, times, menus, etc of meals, attempts by Count Fredericks to change servings at Livadia, Count Benckendorff's control of cellars:

http://www.ng.ru/saturday/2006-06-16/16_tzar.html

Joanna
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Joanna on August 06, 2008, 03:44:19 PM
An article of the book Medicine and Imperial Power in Russia of further information on the health and eating habits of the Court including Nicholas II. A fascinating detail is that Alexandra was allergic to floral scents. Gardeners cultivated varieties with no smell such as at Livadia where white roses were grown under the bedroom windows.

http://kremlin-9.rosvesty.ru/news/59/

Joanna
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: koloagirl on August 06, 2008, 05:04:44 PM

Aloha all!

I think that is a fascinating bit of trivia about Alexandra being allergic to floral scents!

I wonder how she dealt with that since we see so many pictures of her picking or around flowers - I'm thinking especially of lilacs, which have such a strong scent - or maybe they were specially grown with no scent?

Just another great bit of minutiae about the IF!

Janet R.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Joanna on August 06, 2008, 08:02:50 PM
The book Medicine and Imperial Power in Russia:
http://www.rg.ru/2008/03/14/anons.html

The press conference last March included archival documents and illustrations not included in the book. It would be interesting to read the expanded part relating to floral scents. Along with the whole book!

Joanna

Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Joanna on August 07, 2008, 09:58:30 PM
Article on the plumbing within the palaces with the changes that were made after numerous episodes of food poisoning and infectious diseases. In 1904 in the Alexander Palace, Pasteur filters were installed "...Для того чтобы обезопасить царскую семью, переехавшую в 1904 г. из Зимнего дворца в Александровский дворец Царского Села, там полностью переоборудовали водопроводную сеть. Более того, все раковины во дворце, откуда брали питьевую воду, были снабжены фильтрами Пастера, состоявшими «из небольших цилиндров (вершков 9-10 высоты) с пористыми фаянсовыми трубками, проходя через которые вода под напором освобождалась от механических примесей»..."

http://www.mgzt.ru/article/508/

Joanna

Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Constantinople on April 09, 2010, 02:48:47 PM
great thread
lets keep it going
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: PAVLOV on September 03, 2010, 08:48:23 AM
Its a pity this thread has fizzled out.
Where did the water used by the Palace come from ? Were there fresh water springs ? Normally diseases as typhoid, typhus etc were water borne. That is why they installed the Pasteur filters probably. The Winter Palace was particularly bad. In its time I think it probably was quite a festering old building, with thousands of people running around, bad sewerage, plumbing  etc. The food and kitchens must have been quite dodgy.
 
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Inok Nikolai on June 09, 2014, 04:45:43 PM
great thread
lets keep it going

(I don't know if this is the place to post this; the monitors can move it to a more appropriate thread.)

The names of meals may have been discussed elsewhere on the Forum already, but just to bring to your attention a certain inaccuracy which has crept into some of the translated accounts which have been appearing in print recently.

Zavtrak — from the Russian word, zavtra, "tomorrow" — in the context of the Imperial family’s daily schedule does not mean "breakfast", as it does in modern Russian usage.

At that time at Court zavtrak was lunch, and it was served at one in the afternoon.

It could be a simple family meal, or a more formal luncheon on the occasion of a Romanov celebration or a visit of foreign royalty or important dignitaries.

See A. A.Volkov’s memoirs:
http://www.alexanderpalace.org/volkov/8.html
Chapter 8

He writes that the Emperor "received reports from 10 o’clock until luncheon, which was served at 1 PM."
In the original Russian, Volkov had written "zavtrak".

That explains why the members of the Imperial family often record rising in the morning, attending to various tasks, or accomplishing certain errands, etc., and only then they mention having “zavtrak”. If zavtrak is translated as breakfast in these instances, it makes no sense.
Title: Re: Food, Wine and Meals
Post by: Joanna on April 19, 2018, 11:30:58 AM
Insight into dinner conversations with Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra in 1906

https://winterpalaceresearch.blogspot.ca/2018/04/a-lunch-in-alexander-palace-tsarskoe.html

Joanna