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Putin and Xi dine on fish soup, venison and pavlova dessert as Chinese leader visits Russia

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Putin and Xi dine on fish soup, venison in cherry sauce and pavlova dessert – washed down with wine from vineyard next to Vladimir’s palace – as Chinese leader visits Russia

  • After a morning of talks, Putin and Xi sat down to tuck into some Russian classics
  • They enjoyed soup, Atlantic fish, venison, pomegranate sorbet, and pavlova

What do the two most dangerous world leaders have for lunch? No, that’s not the start of a joke. Here’s what was on the menu for the tyrants who came to tea.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin held one-on-one talks in Moscow on Monday before dining with their entourage of officials.

After a long morning of talks in which they discussed relations between their two countries and their ‘no-limits friendship’, it appears the two sat down for a rather decadent meal.

Putin – who appeared shaky-looking as he continually clenched the armrest of his chair – sat down with Xi to dine over some old Russian classics.

From fish caught in the Black Sea, to venison, pomegranate sorbet, and pavlova, the two despots might need a short lie down before resuming their talks.

Putin sat down with Xi and the two country's officials to dine over some old Russian classics

Putin sat down with Xi and the two country’s officials to dine over some old Russian classics

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin held one-on-one talks in Moscow on Monday before dining with their entourage of officials

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin held one-on-one talks in Moscow on Monday before dining with their entourage of officials

The menu started with a blini with quail and mushrooms. A blini is a traditional eastern European savory pancake made from either buckwheat flour or wheat.

It appears blinis might be a go-to for the Kremlin kitchen. The dish frequently appears on the menu for state events. Both Putin and Xi even made the traditional Russian pancakes together at the Eastern Economic Forum in eastern Russia in 2018.

Next up was a sterlet fish soup. The small sturgeon is another favorite of the Russians, fished from the Black Sea and the rivers of Siberia. It is known for its tender flesh and is even frequently noted as the best producer of caviar.

The sterlet was said to be a favourite of 16th century tsar Ivan the Terrible. The fish would be prepared to look as though it was a dragon or flamboyant bird before being placed on his table. It’s unclear if the preparation of today’s sterlet soup was as impressive though.

A pomegranate sorbet came next in a much needed palate cleanser. The frozen dish is generally made using lime and mint.

More fish was on the menu next. Given speculation about his health, it’s possible the Kremlin chose to limit the red meat at lunch in favour of a healthier omega-3-packed menu.

Nelma – a giant Arctic whitefish – is another favourite of the Russians. The silver fish which can weigh up to 60lbs (27kg) has a flakey flesh and can be rather oily. It was served with a side of vegetables.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with China's President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow today

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with China’s President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow today

For those perhaps not so concerned about their health, venison was on the menu. It was served with a cherry sauce.

But rather devastatingly for Australians and New Zealanders, pavlova appeared to be on offer for dessert. The two countries down under have fought over the egg-white and sugar dessert for decades. But the pudding was said to be named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who toured the two countries in the 1920s. It seems as though a recipe made its way back to Moscow where the Russians have now adopted it as their own.

And what would a state dinner be between two world leaders without wine? Today’s bottles came from Russia’s southern Krasnodar region. There is a vast 30,000 hectares of vineyards in the region and is the source of around 40 per cent of Russia’s wine.

Putin also happens to have one of his palaces in the region. It had been something of a secret hideaway for the Russian leader before its construction was exposed to the world by a whistleblower in 2010.

With two more days of talks between Xi and Putin, it appears the two leaders will be eating well no matter the outcome of the talks.

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