Every person who lives in Russia most likely knows such a delicacy as Tula pryanik and tasted it at least once in their life. Pryanik is made in many cities of Russia, but only Tula pryanik is widely popular. In this article, we’ll tell about the history of Tula pryanik, and find out why it has won the love of all Russians.
According to some Chronicles Tula pryanik appeared more than 300 years ago, since the time when people had just started to learn the basics of baking. In the 17th century, people of Tula were rather poor. Therefore, they had to somehow earn money. As a result, many people were engaged in various crafts, for example, trade, and they also sold pryaniki.
In those days, there were a lot of craftsmen who were involved in pryanik business. Each of the bakers had their own unique recipe, which they kept in the strictest confidence and passed down from generation to generation only through the male line. Bakers never wrote down their recipes, because they were afraid that they would be stolen, and when mixing all the ingredients, they were guided by the stones, which meant the weight of a certain product.
In the 19th century in Tula there were bakers who invented the recipes of pryaniki and knew all secret details of their baking. Grechihin brother, M. Belolipetsky, and P. Kozlov were these bakers. Year after year, bakers demonstrated their talents at various trade fairs in Russia and abroad. At that time, there was a huge range of pryaniki, which differed in their forms and names.
Forms for baking pryaniki were made of wooden planks; they were cut from birch or pear, then dried. After that, a pattern was cut out on the planks in a mirror image. After it got dry completely, a pattern that depicted Tula attractions or festive events was also applied. Also, Tula pryaniki always had a text about historical event or dates on them.
In Russia, pryaniki were associated with many customs, traditions, and rituals. A special pryanik was baked specially for every occasion, for example, a birthday or a wedding. For example, the wedding pryanik contained a lot of nuts and berries. This pryanik was always given to the newlyweds with the wishes of a prosperous family life. Each pryanik had its own symbol, for example, a “pryanik-heart” symbolized attraction and love, but a “pryanik-deer” symbolized the strength and courage of a man.
In the old days Tula pryanik was considered an expensive gift, which was given only to the closest people. It was believed that it had special medicinal properties and was able to help with some diseases. To make such pryaniki, bakers cut out the initials of the archangels on the wooden plated, so that they protect people from adversity and help cope with illness.
Today at shops in Russia you can still find stamped pryaniki – classical Tula pryaniki of the round, oval, or rectangular form with a pattern and a text. Up to today at various bakeries, bakers keep traditions inherited from the past and follow them. Thanks to the original design and Tula symbols such pryaniki have become known throughout Europe as a special souvenir.
To fully understand and feel the history of Tula pryanik you should see and taste it. During all time of its existence, which is 300 years, Tula pryanik embodied all the best Russian bakery traditions!
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