Cuisine in Russia in the XIX century was largely classed, like other aspects of the way of life. Good food was expensive, which in many ways limited the spread of gastronomic delights.
The nobility and the adjacent strata in the 19th century largely adopted the elements of French culture. The cuisine of this country became very fashionable, and French chefs were considered to be unquestioned authorities. It was from France to Russia that the concept of haute cuisine came – a haute cuisine, equating cooking with art. Distribution was given to such French dishes as salads, pâtés, various types of sauces, which were not widely distributed in the Russian culinary tradition. A typical dinner in a noble family consisted of at least five or six courses. At the same time, typical French dishes, such as fresh oysters, could easily co-exist with traditionally Russian soups like soup, as well as pies with fillings. The meal was usually accompanied by wines, mostly French. The most popular in Russia of that time enjoyed their sweet varieties – sotern or semisweet champagne. Wines were also used in the Russian Empire, for example, in Georgia.
The merchant`s table was fundamentally different from the noble family. It was abundant, and in the merchant community they gave preference to traditional Russian dishes. Of soups, special love was enjoyed by the cabbage soup. Also on the everyday, and on the festive table often appeared various pies, and with fillings, which are used in modern kitchens rarely – with porridge, with vyazigoy and so on. Often pies were baked not from wheat, but from buckwheat or rye flour. Dairy products were widely used sour cream, cream, yogurt – now popular yogurt and kefir were almost unknown. Element of the festive table was a fish of expensive varieties, for example, sterlet, as well as beluga, sterlet or sturgeon caviar.
Peasant cuisine was simple. The main dishes were all kinds of soup, soup, and porridge. The kitchen was based on subsistence farming and gathering – the daily table was well complemented by forest mushrooms and berries. In the second half of the 19th century, potatoes began to grow in popularity. It began to be cultivated even under Peter the Great, but until the 1860s, it was difficult to take root. Thanks to the wide distribution of potatoes, yielding and simple in cultivation, many peasants were saved from hunger.
It is necessary to note one more important aspect in the nineteenth century nutrition – religious. Most of the population belonged to the Orthodox faith and observed fasts, which limited the use of animal products. Against this background, developed a special kitchen, which was based on mushroom dishes, lean soup and porridge.