This is what I call “only in Russia” experience. Right in Moscow city center, on Tverskaya street, you can find one of the most stunning pieces of architecture and a beautiful example of neo-baroque style that literally makes your jaw drop. And what is it you ask? A palace? A cathedral? A library, maybe? No, that’s a supermarket! Just your regular Russian supermarket.
Ok, I am exaggerating here, it’s not a regular one, it’s unique and many people who visit Moscow consider it a point of interest, but many other people, who live nearby, consider it a good place to buy their groceries. I have seen both types inside the supermarket: those (like me) with cameras taking pictures and scared to touch anything and others stacking up their trolleys with heaps of goods. Shopping here will definitely cost you a fortune, but hey, so will living in the heart of Russian capital, on Tverskaya street.
Eliseevsky store is more than 100 years old and boasts a rich history. Long before the store was built here, the building served as a house for Ekaterina Kozitskaya, the wife of Grigoriy Kozitskiy who was the State Secretary of Ekaterina II.
The building was inherited by Zinaida Volkonskaya who is said to have had great literary talents and a wonderful voice. She turned the palace into a true temple of arts. Her literary salons were visited by the best artists and writers of the time like A. Pushkin and I. Turgenev.
In 1898 the building was bought by tradesman Grigoriy Eliseev from Saint Petersburg. The former house of E. Kozitskaya was fully renovated by architect Havriil Baranovskiy who united the ground and the first floors which resulted in very high ceilings. During renovations scaffolding was attached to the building causing a lot of rumors about what is going to be inside.
Eliseevsky store was opened in 1901 and named after its owner. By that time Eliseev had already owned the biggest store in Russia on Nevskiy avenue in Saint Petersburg. Having visited Eliseevskiy in Saint Petersburg I can assure you it is just as grand and impressive. During Soviet era the store was renamed “Gastronome №1” but the name didn’t stick and people continued to refer to it by the former name “Eliseevsky”.
The assortment of goods has always been mind-blowing ranging from imported wine and cheese to exotic fruits.
One of the innovations was selling house-made pastries and petit fours that gentlemen would buy for ladies when passing by the store. Today you can still purchase traditional Russian pastries like vatrushka (a pastry with cottage cheese in the middle)…
pirozhok (a patty with filling inside)…
or “kartoshka” (a Soviet pastry made of crumbled cookies, butter and cocoa powder). Kartoshka means potato in Russian and that’s what this pastry usually looks like. But sometimes a chef can get creative and make a hedgehog instead.
You can also find beautiful souvenirs…
And, of course, all kinds of delicacies. The sign here says: “Caviar is always in stock”. I bet it is! Crisis or no crisis, caviar should always be readily available.
In 2003 close to $3 million was spent to do renovations since the deco had deteriorated over time. The interiors were reconstructed using the original blueprints and the store that used to sell goods from behind the counter was turned into supermarket.
Just for the sake of experience grab a box of candies or a freshly made Russian pirozhok so you can brag about shopping in Eliseevsky store of Moscow.
Address: 14, Tverskaya street, Moscow, Russia
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AUTHOR: YULIA DYUKOVA
Yulia is a Russian food and travel blogger who found home first in Sri Lanka for 3 years, then in Brazil for a year and is currently based in Austin, Texas. She is the kind of person who starts a research of the new country by googling “what to eat in…” instead of “what to visit in…” Yulia is a self-proclaimed “food nerd” who will spend hours reading on the origins of pecan pie before trying it and who doesn’t consider waiting in line of 50 people to get a cronut a waste of time. She finds it hard to keep her delicious findings to herself and that is the reason why this blog exists.