Imperial Family’s Lenten Meals Recreated in Ekaterinburg

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Julia Evgenievna Mikhalkova and the Tsarsky Center chef Valentina Nikolayevna Ponomareva

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

Russian Lenten dishes prepared for Emperor Nicholas II and his family were recreated this week in the Tsarsky Spiritual and Educational Center in Ekaterinburg. The Center which is located in the Patriarchal Compound, across from the Church on the Blood, was headed by culinary master Julia Evgenievna Mikhalkova and the Tsarsky Center chef Valentina Nikolayevna Ponomareva. Together, they prepared the dishes of the Tsar’s table and shared the secrets of their preparation.

The event is part of the Festival of Lenten Cuisine held annually in Ekaterinburg since 2015 with the blessing of Metropolitan Kirill. This year’s festival is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Nicholas II and it has three very important highlights: first, we want to remind people of our Orthodox traditions – the tradition of observing Lent. Secondly, the historical significance is very important, because I, like many people, wonder what the Imperial Family ate for breakfast and dinner, during Lent. I was curious to learn the recipes, and particularly the favourite dishes enjoyed by the Emperor. Thirdly, we want to show and remind people that a kitchen free of animal products – it’s very simple, healthy and tasty. The time of fasting is a happy time” – said Julia Mikhalkova, who takes part in the Festival of Lenten cuisine with pleasure every year.

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Russian Lenten dishes for Emperor Nicholas II and his family recreated in Ekaterinburg

During the cooking class, Julia and Valentina cooked dishes such as soup with mashed potatoes, Dorogomir porridge with buckwheat, fried mushrooms and onion, salted fruits and vegetables: apples, carrots, cabbage with the addition of herbs in marinade. The presenters also prepared a drink made with oats, honey and cinnamon.

“They always had cinnamon and fruit on the table,” – said Valentina. “There were no cakes on the table at breakfast or dinner – everything was very modest. And according to protocol, a bell sounded, and the entire family gathered at the table and prayed before each meal”.

During the class Julia and Valentina prepared a favourite Lenten delicacy of Emperor Nicholas II – a round biscuit made with oatmeal, nuts and raisins, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

In preparation for this year’s Festival of Lenten Cuisine, Valentina Nikolayevna Ponomareva carefully studied the cookbooks by M.I. Palchuk The Tsar’s Kitchen of the Livadia Palace, in which allowed the chef to recreate the dishes from the Tsarist menu.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 March 2018