Tul’sky Pryanik – a Sweet Souvenir From Russia

by Elena on October 26, 2018

They say that the so-called pryanik , or a localized version of gingerbread, is the most desirable and popular gift from Tula city, 200 km South from Moscow.

It is a delicious treat for the people with sweet tooth of all ages and nations. The tasty souvenir is a must for all travelers bringing gifts outside Tula.

Russian believe that presenting friends with such a gift is a jest of kindness and openness. For the first time in history the word “pryanik” (a spicy cake—from a word “pryannost” which means “spice”) was mentioned in culinary books in 1685. It was in Tula, where they invented the unique method of baking pryaniks in the special wooden forms with the words, pictures and symbolic patterns.

The recipes were strictly kept in households and were not allowed to become known to non-family members. The main ingredient of any pryanik is honey. The whole point is that the honey has been used for making a pryanik for 3 reasons: to make it sweet by taste, to add special aroma to this treat and the last, but not least, to preserve its freshness and expand expiry date. By the end of the 19th century pryaniks became internationally recognized.

They were presented as exhibits at the Food Fairs in Italy, Holland, Bulgaria and France. Two times in a row, in 1899 and 1990 the sweet masterpieces of the bakers Grechihins from Tula got Gold Medals and the Grand Prix Awards at the International Fair in Paris. Until today they still bake honey flavored pryaniks in Tula using the ancient secret recipes.

Like some post cards they are made for special occasions and anniversaries, as gifts and just a sign of friendship. An interesting collection can be seen at the museum of pryaniks. The smallest pryanik ever which is presented there is as small as a coin!

The International Pryanik Museum is also located in the city of Tula. It is a unique and original project implemented by a group of designers and confectioners from Tula, aimed at promoting the pryanik making traditions. Different workshops dedicated to the pryaniks history and manufacturing technology are organized in the museum. A participant will be able to make and decorate a pryanik or a Tula-designed gingerbread by himself.

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