Here is a typical St. Petersburg meat store, it's signs are entirely in German and it boasts German ownership as well. Graphic pictures of the products inside embellish the outside of the store.
The German traveller Edward Jerrman has given us an excellent account of the foods of petersburg to be seen - and enjoyed - by a traveller. He writes:
"Vienna is celebrated for its epicurism, but in this respect it is far behind St. Petersburg. In the Russian capital people eat much and live well, and, owing to the cheapness of provisions, good living has become a habit. Nothing that the country produces is dear; and what does not that country produce? From potatoes up to the finest grapes, all the products of Southern Germany are, with few exceptions, to be bad. Amongst the exceptions are cherries and plums, which do not grow in northern Russia, and will not, bear carriage from the southern provinces of the empire. They are to be found in hothouses, and there exceed in size and beauty any that I ever saw in Germany. But one must content one's self with their handsome appearance; they are for show, not for use. In Countess Samailow's hothouses near Pawlowsky, three versts from Sarskoje-Selo, I saw whiteheart cherries of such wonderful size and beauty, that I thought I never before had seen fruit deservingly of the name. I gathered a few; they were perfectly soft and ripe; but their flavour! - truly appearances were in their case deceitful. They, were a watery fruit, without flavour or perfume; mere counterfeit cherries. On the other hand, they have beautiful melons at St. Petersburg - in Hungary I never saw them larger and finer; pomegranates of extraordinary beauty, and Crimean grapes, resembling the Cape grapes in form and size, but with some difference in flavour, the Black Sea grapes having a harshness, which doubtless proceeds from their being gathered too early. In order that they may travel without being crushed by their own weight, they taken from the vine before they are ripe. This is certainly also case with the grapes from the Cape; but these have so much natural heat in them, that they ripen in the sawdust in which they are packed, whereas the Crimean grapes cannot do without the sun's rays, and never attain a proper ripeness, but get only soft by keeping. As regards oranges - and these of excellent quality - they so abundant in St. Petersburg, that they are actually squandered.
The purchaser of a whole case, taking his chance of some being spoiled, gets one of the size usual in Germany - for six bank rubles, or about four shillings and sixpence. By retail, you pay, in the orange season, sixty to ninety kopecks for ten, or about a half-penny a-piece. Their cheapness and profusion are, however, surpassed by those of fish and game. Of deer and roebuck there are none, but wild boars and bares are in extraordinary abundance, and one is literally crammed with partridges, heathcocks, capercailzies, and birds of every kind.
The imperial kitchen is good, very delicate, but extraordinarily meagre; for eating goes on so constantly that it is necessary the diet should be easy of digestion, and especially not fat or rich. I had my dinner at Peterhof from the imperial table, and frequently dined with one of the officers of the court, whose meals were supplied from the "second station;" the dessert was always magnificent, but as to the dinner, I confess that the style of cooking at St. George's, a celebrated Petersburg restaurateur, pleased me far better."
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