Private & Small groups guided tour
Description from the guide:
St.Petersburg is not only about art and culture, it could be quite hedonistic. For those who'd prefer to get to the bottom of the soul and the spirit of Russian character, there is no better way than to take a special drink, eat and shop till you drop tour. Granted it would be more of stagger around a bit relaxed walkabout and attraction sightseeing, nevertheless like with any other tour people would leave with much more understanding and knowledge of Russian culture, though may be not so much highbrow type, because it would deal primarily with drinking and eating culture. Whether during carefree, sultry midsummer White Nights season or amidst Prozac necessitating winter Black Days, when sun rises at 10 am and sets in mid afternoon it is no surprise, that eating and drinking are activities of choice at both times for Russian people. And you might even get a glimpse into mysterious Russian soul and learn a lot from your experience of mixing and mingling with locals around the table.
If your day starts with a little hangover, which is normal for St. Petersburg, it is best dealt with dog's hair vodka breakfast at Metropol restaurant, one of oldest establishments, frequented by Rasputin, Soviet leaders and American presidents, which is testified by pictures, hanging on the walls. And if it is not fancy enough for you next stop would be Eliseev brothers food emporium, located in historical art nouveau building on Nevskyi prospect, you would be able to get a little guided tour about the shop and listen to the history of the Eliseev's dynasty, which was started by former serf, who received his freedom and opened a little grocery store, that would to grow into food boutique, importing wholesale harvest of grape and vine from Italy, along with delicatessens from all over the world. After sampling some gourmet food inside the cafe of Eliseev shop, we would continue into Passage shopping mall, complete with concert hall and the theater, which was one of the first of this kind of new trading establishments/entertaining complex of American type, which would to appear during capitalistic development in the second part of 19 th century. If you are curious about development of drinking habits of Russian people there would be a chance to find out about history of strong liqueur drinks in the Russian Empire and taste some of them in the black and gold Art Deco style interior of the Polugar bar. The word Polugar, comes from Russian and means, the kind of quality test, conducted on the spot for demanding customers, during which the drink is set on fire and if exactly half of it is burned out in the process, testifies its authenticity. This drink is produced according to revived by historian Boris Rodionov old technology, which goes back to heyday of Russian Empire during 18−19 th centuries. All the major Russian writers mentioned it in their books. During those times, there was a certain tradition, to drink by words. Every nobleman had a special list of liqueurs in alphabetical order, depending on the first letter of their particular flavour so in this case guests ordered shots, using this alphabet, which spelled out certain words they wanted to consume. And nowadays just for you they have it in English, so if you think of the word you want to drink, it would be served to you in accordance with the alphabet of different flavours on that list. Little lecture about strong liqueur before vodka is a complement from the barman.
And of course, second most important product of Russian cuisine is caviar. We gonna visit just the place where you would be able to taste it and/or buy it for latter consumption, delivered to you directly from outer regions of Volga and Caspian sea. Plus they would explain to you different types of caviar, so you could leave that place satisfied and feeling like a real connoisseur.
Lunch of Russian food of your choosing is also on the menu, whether it would be fancy restaurant or simple canteen it is up to you. You would have a choice of restaurants, serving you various types of Russian soups and salads, bliny with different stuffings, cabbage rolls, little and big pies, herring under fur coat, chilled meat jelly, sliced lard with garlic rye bread etc. For you it may sound a bit confusing, but for a Russian person it is just staple food and I've been eating it for my whole life, so in this case I feel I am uniquely qualified person to give you small commentaries on some particularities of the Russian menu.
But again you do not have to trust my opinion only, you can talk to other Russian people. There's no better way to get to know the local customs and culture of a place you are going to visit than by mingling with real people living in it. So as an alternative to touristy traps and compatriot infested hotels, where you hear only one side of the story about Russia, I suggest you go straight to the horse's mouth and talk to the locals. The first surprise in what you might discover during communications with Russians is that what you see isn't necessarily be what you get. True, that typically Russians do not smile automatically, rather you have to earn their smiles, and it could be just a few words in Russian, which you stumble over, but believe you me sour faced and gruff looking total strangers would go out of their ways to accommodate to your requests and help you out in a tight spot.
I know many Russians who want to speak English, some of them are English-language students and they are always on the lookout for native speakers of English, it is really could be a win-win situation for everyone. So if you want to chitchat over a drink with Russian people, who would wait for your next syllable with the greatest eagerness just let me know and it could be arranged.
I am very flexible, there are lots of places to go and things to see along the way. We can walk, get a taxi or metro ride, visit some attractions or action spots in the vicinity. You set the pace, whether you want to take it easy or paint the town red it's up to you. Anything goes, whatever floats your boat, it is all good, your pleasure is my business and I guarantee that you would not have a dull moment during your tour.
And we polish it off, by visiting vodka museum, conveniently located in the same building as Stroganoff restaurant/vodka room, so again little theory would be put to practice right away. By that time you probably would ready for some entertaining like singing and dancing. The beauty of it, that you do not have to do it yourself, though you might want to, but in that restaurant they have special musician, singers and dancers, who would perform for you right there. And what is the better way to unwind after a long exhaustive tour than to listen to live music and watch a folk show Russian style.