Boyars’ Feasts

Boyars were the highest nobility during the reign of the Russian Tsars.

“Boyars” ranks were granted by Russian princes and tsars only to the best of the best. These were not just rich and noble people, they were involved in making a lot of the most important state decisions.

Later boyar clansbegan to appear, who competed against each other for influence and power within the state.

At the same time, many boyar clans competed with each other in their thirst for money. Boyars often organized luxurious feasts that amazed with their abundance of dishes and ornate decorations of dining tables.

Boyars’ Feasts

Feast for a Russian boyar was nothing more than a way of showing off his influence and wealth. They invited the most distinguished representatives of the Russian society. Guests had to eat and drink a lot, thus showing their respect for the host. Almost all the dishes were eaten with hands, but spoons and knives were always on the tables. Guests drank in one gulp, because drinking in small sips was considered rude. Dishes served at feasts were much more expensive than those consumed by hosts in everyday life. There were always a lot of dishes – at least 50 items. They were served in the likeness of those that got served at the tsar’s table.

Tableware on the Russian Boyars’ Tables

In everyday life boyars used intricately decorated wooden tableware. But for their feasts they always had special silver tableware. During the reign of the Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich many started using tin spoons, forks, and knives. But, the same as plates, they were only served to the most honorable guests. The others ate with their hands from sharedplates. During the reign of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great Russian boyars served banquet tables with gold and silver tableware.

Everyday food of Boyars

Despite the grandeur of holiday feasts, everyday Boyars food was very close to traditional Russian cuisine. Most of boyars preferred simple food – Russian cabbage soup, porridges, meat and fish dishes, pies and buns.


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