Intimate Lyrics

Zakat Branch

Unusual in theme dinner on the outskirts of Moscow and history. Vasily Aksyonov's house, lost in the woods of the Peredelkino writers' village. Here great works were created and denunciations were made. The literary struggle for the exact succinct word was conducted under the watchful eye of the KGB and applicants for state dachas. It was in such conditions that both the subtle, personal, hidden soul of a true poet and the conformist officialism of the ruling course were manifested.
 The theme of the dinner is inspired by Yevgeny Yevtushenko's collection of poems "Intimate Lyrics", whose house-museum is located in the neighbourhood. The dishes, in which the energy of romantic love and hidden meanings are dissolved, confront the ideological horizons of the sixties poet. 

The word "love" is discredited by its excessive circulation. It piles up from all possible doors and windows, sometimes carrying a draught of false meanings. "Cooked with love", "we do it because we love it" - slogans next to which tables of nutritional value, fibre counts and markers of environmental responsibility sit side by side. Coaches and personal growth coaches say that "love" is self-discipline, while philosophers say that it is an active energy that allows us to accept phenomena and people as they are.

The feeling of romantic love and its lyrical expression is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the world of ideas and intellectual concepts. Of course, we can be fooled by reflection and say that we love something or someone based on social approval or personal beliefs. It is also true that the mastery of expressing the sensual is inconceivable without mental effort. But for those of us who have trembled with frenzied desire, been in love, enchanted, passionately captivated by a feeling, the difference between the two worlds is obvious. And it is the same with food: it is, unlike other arts, extremely close to the senses. So our dinner is about sensuality and intimacy. 

A heart of salted bread wrapped in jamon. It's a raw pork ham. It, unlike prosciutto, is cooked dry cured, covered in salt, drawing out all the juices. Red torn meat without a drop of moisture on chains swings in the middle of the room, giving each guest a chance to tear off a piece. By the end of the evening, the naked heart breaks under the onslaught of the eaters. The dish serves as a metaphor for the writer's position in Peredelkino, giving all their talent to this place. 

The inclusion of shellfish and sea delicacies in the dinner: anchovies, snails, crabs is associated with Florian Ellias' book "The Age of Love and Hate". The author describes one of the most vivid and strange intimacies of the 20th century - Gala and Dali at the very beginning of their relationship in a seaside villa. "Only a few fishermen turn up there, with the prettiest of them Gala sometimes takes a boat out to sea - when her sexual needs are heightened. Dali is always greatly relieved when she goes out to sea with one of the fishermen, he wishes her well and sits down at his easel to escape into his fantasy world and paint Gala's arse. The sun is high in the sky, time melts and flows with the heat. When Gala returns, they are eating freshly caught lobsters. And Dali says, "Beauty has to be edible or it shouldn't be."
Wine pear with whipped cream and mascarpone. The pear is a symbol of feminine, musical, sensual harmonies. The outline of this fruit has served as a metaphor for the silhouette of female forms since antiquity. Its appearance on the table is musical, because many stringed instruments have a similar structure of the "body". In Chinese mythology, the pear is a symbol of immortality and longevity, which seems a logical final accent of the evening - establishing the boundlessness of the sensual, intimate sphere. Prepared with red wine, warm notes of cinnamon and the cool aftertaste of cardiac with whipped cream and mascarpone, this rich, full-bodied, yet light and airy dish is a dedication to an unparalleled, intimate experience and its subtle expressiveness. 

The dinner was held in the writers' village of Peredelkino, the dacha of Vasily Aksyonov, author of many works, including the novel Mysterious Passion


Rosehip, apricots and honey tea/Eggnog with ginger biscuits/Marzipan figures  

First course 

Butter candles, bread with walnuts/Lamb kebabs on laurel branch (with rosehip sauce)/Bok choy, sun-dried tomato tartare, feijoa salsa./Platter with anchovies, roasted peppers, tarragon and goat cheese./Snails with garlic butter 

Hamon heart

Fondue: Gruyere, Emmental, Reblochon


Second course

Gnocchi with crab and pike caviar/"Boiled" meat with porcini mushrooms and narcharabam


Feijoa, persimmon, grapes /Wine pear with badian and mascarpone cream.