Veliky Novgorod was known as a merchant city. Although a deep-rooted class of merchants, these people were very wealthy and developed many traditions - including culinary ones - that were preserved for many centuries. Historically, many issues - from important business transactions to wedding agreements - were discussed and resolved around a well-laid table. The dishes weren’t very complex, but filling and varied. With the help of a chef from Dom Berga, a Novgorod restaurant that specialises in merchant cuisine, host Olga Degtyareva prepared a four-course lunch. The menu consisted of cabbage soup with pike perch, stewed rabbit with herbs, pancakes and dusheparka – a strong alcoholic drink.