Whereas Moscow boasts its soviet era architecture, St. Petersburg is all about imperial grandeur! You’ll notice quite quickly how a lot of the city was influenced by French design as you venture around. I found that nearly every building along Nevsky Prospect had a hint of the renaissance and were so bright and colourful you couldn’t help but fall in love with each and every one! You almost feel like you’ve been transported back in time as the buildings look unscathed from when they were first built.
One of the most interesting buildings on the main high street was the Eliseyev Emporium with its green art-deco shop front and vintage puppet display in the shop window to intrigue you. I will guarantee your curiosity will have to be sated and you will just have to venture inside. What’s more, you certainly won’t regret it when you do!
On entering, the first thing you’ll notice is the alluring pineapple shaped palm tree in the middle of the floor. The walls are painted a beautiful green and complimented by gold gilt. Underneath the palm are patrons sitting on red velvet brocade, chatting, sipping coffee and treating themselves to some of the many dainties on offer. A piano player fills the room with music.
Along the walls are all different types of treats to take away. Pastries, macaroons, cakes, dainties, bonbons, truffles, turkish delight, chocolates and many more sugary morsels to try and are really cheap. I overheard a tour guide say that ” throughout time the Emporium has been for all, anyone can afford a treat at Eliseyevs!”, which was so lovely.
If you are after some souvenirs, you have come to the right place for a haul! Everywhere around you there are chocolates, box sets, bottles, the many types of tea they have to sell, including the Russian Caravan which comes in a lovely tea caddy in the Eliseyev design, and pretty much anything you could think of. Premium vodka is sold in Matryoshka dolls and cheese, fish and meat are sold at the different counters.
If you do wish to take a seat under the palm court, they serve coffee, tea and cocktails all at very reasonable prices. You can also order any of the sweet treats from around the shop to have at your table.
I personally treated myself to the Chocolate Royale (bottom right) which came with all three types of chocolate, milk, white and dark. Not only did it arrive with a Eliseyev’s designed chocolate but it had gold shavings on top! I have always had an extremely sweet tooth and a weakness for anything gold and shiny so for me this was the perfect afternoon treat.
The cake at the top left was a Triple Chocolate which was like a mousse and equally as scrumptious. They also had lemon, raspberry, white chocolate – all just as grand in design and ready to eat. Whichever you choose, I really don’t think you can go wrong with the cakes at Eliseyev’s. They are just wonderful.
Plus, the prices are also reasonable – I paid around 600 Roubles for a cake and a coffee which is pretty good for the quality you receive and the surroundings you dine in.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a massive fan of the Laduree bakery in Paris. There’s a lavishness in the cakes and an elegance which cannot be beat, until now of course! Eliseyev’s has definitely been inspired by French cuisine and this shines through in their bakery and confectionary creations.
Similar to Laduree, Eliseyevs’ do sell the Macaron which you can buy in boxes and they had a super-sized macaron which I was eager to try out but after my Chocolate Royale; my eyes were too big for my belly!
Overall, I found the Emporium a heavenly respite. The day we visited, it was grey skies and heavy rain in St. Petes so to visit such a beautiful cafe and forget the wet for an hour or so really made the most of a less than ideal situation.
I would recommend visiting early or late afternoon for a good chance at getting s seat under the palm, places are limited! Or, ask a waitress to get you the next seat and have a look around for souvenirs.
If you do find yourself wondering along Nevsky Prospect, pop in for a little bit of a time warp and treat yourself to their amazing cakes!