The Nutcracker: fairytale dinner.

January 19th, 2014Russian Revels

‘I am Krakatuk,
You found me in a nook
To break the Mouse Queen’s hex
Walk backwards eyes closed seven steps!’

And off they went, the glamour of bulbous skirts and masks forgotten, the forty guests in search of the special nut which would break the spell … and take them to a feast inspired by Slavic winter traditions and, how else, nuts, nuts, nuts…

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As nuts were cracked…

The Nutcracker ballet is the ultimate sugar-sweet Russian Christmas story – an epitome of everything we, russkis, feel proud of (our ‘high art’, flamboyant grandeur, convoluted story) but also leaving us somewhat abashed (is this sugar-crystallised tradition the best we can do?).

But what most don’t realise is that the original E.T.A Hoffmann’s story ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ was all together more byzantine, evocative and even darker….

Nutcracker image

The Nutcracker fairytale dinner.

And so a few days before Russian Old New Year’s Eve we invited our guests into so fittingly grandeous Pushkin House to
discover the story within the story.

     To liberate that sugar-craving child within us.

                            To walk and eat the journey with the Nutcracker Prince and his magical toys….

…And so they were met by Kolombina – the mechanical doll – with her milky-nutty-vodkatini cocktails burred in snow that grew by the liquid touch of the Nutcracker…

As they were met with Nutcracker inspired cocktail.

As they were met with Nutcracker inspired cocktail.

Fed by nuts slathered in hogwood spice and grape syrup...

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Nutcracker nibbles.

 

The ‘escaped bacon fat’ from the Mouse Queen – black charcoal biscuits topped with Welsh salo, gherkins and grainy mustard

Pork fat on charcoal biscuits were eaten in seconds.

Pork fat on charcoal biscuits were eaten in seconds.

As the guests proceeded to sit down to their dinner, they were greeted with…

Christmastide breads from Amber Bakery
& organic chicken liver pate with beetroot, dates and walnuts
 & kale and beetroot stalks pesto

As the story geared pace and the Nutcracker was fighting the Mouse King….

The Nutcracker fighting the Mouse King!

The Nutcracker fighting the Mouse King!

We served the ‘sausage’ of venison, chocolate, chestnuts and Kagor stew, served with barley, pistachios and sultanas
(vegetarian version: lentils, mushrooms and truffle oil)

The 'sausage' of venison, Kagor wine and chocolate gravy.

The ‘sausage’ of venison, Kagor wine and chocolate gravy.

And when you think there is no turning back, you’ll enter the Sweetmeatburgh of Sugarplums and real Arab coffee in dzezva pots. Ptschikh!

Special Turkish coffee served in pots by Vadim Granovsky.

Special Turkish coffee served in pots by Vadim Granovsky.

Christmas tree with bubliki in chocolate glaze
Pastry Christmas ‘twigs’
Churchela

and

Pears hidden in a cake

with the real home-made Sugared plums

The sugarplum desserts.

The sugarplum desserts.

The Belly dancer in her sweet parlour...

The Belly dancer in her sweet parlour…

See more pictures in our gallery

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Who helped us with creating the experience:

idea/overall design/menu creation – Katrina Kollegaeva & Karina Baldry

cast – Kirill Burlov, Vernon, Alisa Gutnikova, Jonathan Catherall, Katrina Kollegaeva, Karina Baldry

words – Jonathan Catherall

deco/design – Natasha Meleshkevitsch of NataliaInteriorDesign

costumes – Valentina Vanore

make up/design – Alyona Malakhova

chef – Remi Friendman

all-around-great-help – Dina Reznikova

coffee – Vadim Granovsky

belly dancer – Zhenya Zagoruiko

all photography – Natalia Nestman