The first day of our tour we spent sightseeing in Moscow, and in the afternoon we ended up inside the Novospassky Monastery, where a delicious meal had been prepared for our international group.
We were to dine in one of the towers that sit on every corner of the wall surrounding the monastery.
The entrance was through a low door in the inside wall, up some long and narrow steps to the gallery, and again ducking through low doors and into the tower room.
It was a lovely sight: tables already set with lots of delicious food, old cupboards against the walls holding beautiful pots and crockery, traditional costumes on display, along with various crafted items, – and everything lit only by candles and the natural light coming through the small windows, filtered through blue and white glass.
Many old and newer samovars were displayed around the room and on the steps to the upper room:
We were told that we were going to have a traditional Russian meal, – as in a feast, – and our guide inside the monastery described each course as they were served: what they were, a little about tradition and production, how they should be eaten, etc.
I think there were more than ten different courses, – I lost count somewhere during the meal, – and all of it was delicious; the pumpkin soup, chicken and mushroom pie, pancakes with caviar, fish, pork, cucumber rolls and everything else.
We had sweetened mint flavoured juice to drink, – very good after a long and warm day out in the streets. Then there was cake and desserts along with hot tea made from lots of different sour fruits and berries, and sweetened with comb honey.
What a treat!
A week later we went into another monastery, in Suzdal, and inside one of the churches there, we laid eyes on another feast.
22 year old Xenia Shlyakova had single-handedly provided a full table of yummy food, – all made from fabric and set onto a large, handmade, table cloth.
There were all kinds of food: fish with both red and black caviar, mushrooms, and chicken…..
……. pelmeni, cucumbers, roasted pig with vegetables, goose and apples, prawns with lemon and strands of dill……
….. breads in a basket with an embroidered napkin, and decorated bread or cake.
Bearing in mind the topic of the festival was Love, and Wedding, this would probably be the kind of decorated bread made especially for weddings. Note the poppy seeds on the braided loaf, – they are all tiny french knots.
Of course there were desserts too, – fruit, berries, cake, and cookies.
No feast is complete without something to drink. In the bottle there is moonshine, and my guess is tea in the teapots and the samovar.
I wondered a bit about the boot on the top of the samovar, but Mr. Google informs me that it is used instead of a bellow to fan the fire inside the samovar.
And then the tea is sweetened with comb honey, – everything so neatly made, down to the last detail.
One the artist’s beautiful quilts was overlooking the table.
Both feasts were amazing experiences, and even though the last one was for the eyes only, it is remembered just as well as the one which we could also taste and smell.