Well, what did the Spanish king eat on that illustrious bear hunting in Vologda?
He must have tasted the obligatory plates of Russian cuisine, beginning with the zakuski of pickled mushrooms, salted fish, soaked vegetables and caviar – so one should not drink the vodka of the first toast on an empty stomach – through the dried and smoked fishes to be broken by hand, the pirozhki filled with meat, cabbage or mushroom, the pelmeni made with minced lamb or pork meat or the vareniki stuffed with cheese and potatoes to the cold okroshka soup made of kvas and milk, the shchi cooked of cabbage and pork, or the borshch whose strong taste of tomato may have reminded the king of his native gazpacho. He could have taken shashlyk, very fitting to hunting, or kholodets which had been cooked for hours and then slowly cooled down until it formed a jelly mass. And as a dessert, doughnuts with forest fruits or jam: syrniki or vatrushki.
But at a bear hunting one item there was for sure, either as an hors d’oeuvre or as a dessert, or even for being picked in between from time to time: the “Hunter” olives of caliber 12.
The name of the olive is more exactly translated as “To the chase!” which sounds much more promising than a simple “Hunting”. The bear whose head serves as an advert face to the hunter’s delicacy does not really appear to be enchanted of the appeal, but in fact on his side of the gun the whole idea does not seem that great for sure.
The cartridge cases arranged under the bear’s head display the representation of some more prey animals, deers and roes from a 19th-century Russian engraving.
And the cartridges in the cases are nothing else but attractive black olives which, as you see in the photo, perfectly fit to the cases of caliber 12. On the other side of the tin box you see the same cartridges discharged in a shining black heap.
The king certainly found tasty the Russian hunters’ olives. It reminded him of the tastes of his homeland. And with a reason.
This hunters’ olive can be also purchased in Hungary in the Russian food chain “Arbat”. A month ago I also brought of it to Spain for a test. I have no news yet whether it tastes differently from the Spanish olives of peaceful use.
But what did the king use to eating all these delicacies? We exactly know the answer to this question as well.
This “Bear Hunters’ Kit” is offered by Подарка-Академия or “Gift Academy” for those of high standards, for only 22 700 rubles, that is for 530 euros. I imagine as the Russian manager nonchalantly closes on Friday afternoon his attaché case with combination lock, which out there in the dacha reveals to be a survival kit for bear hunters.
As an invitation to the chase – and thus also to the purchase of the kit – the site gives a detailed list of the content of the case.
A “Bear” cutlass of steel blade and wooden grasp in a leather scabbard to flay the prey.
A steel chopper in leather scabbard masculinized with a wild boar, to cut up the meat.
A steel hunter’s knife to cut up the vegetables and a lighter decorated with an eagle to light a fire.
Steel shashlik spits and manfully puritan steel plates for preparing the hunters’ banquet, and a vacuum flask to keep the chef warm. With its content of only half liter it is not enough for more in a kit for six, as nobody would get more than one small glass of tea of it.
Spoons and forks in a traditional Russian style, with titanium decoration.
A steel corkscrew, just in case.
And a flat bottle in a leather cover decorated with a bear, with gilded shots of vodka.
And when you have all that, when the shashlik is being roasted on the fire, when the glasses are filled and zakuski are distributed on the steel plates, then who needs the bear any more? He would only drink the hunters’ share of vodka.