Ever since the 17th century, the Russian city of Tula has been known for its elaborately-stamped spice cookies called Tula pryanik. The dessert’s original designs were the work of local gunsmiths who carved increasingly-complex, wooden cookie presses in their free time. Today, pryaniki are distributed worldwide, often bearing Tula’s name and coat of arms in honor of their origin story.
In 1996, the city dedicated a museum to all things pryanik. Here, visitors are invited to digest the history of this beloved Russian confection, both literally and figuratively. Exhibits highlight historical and modern methods of production, sweet rituals, and unique pryaniki baked for birthdays, weddings, and wakes. Notable cookies are also on display, including a giant one that weighs a pood (a Russian measurement equalling about 36 pounds) and a collection that depicts moments in Russian history.
The tour culminates in the most festive of finales: a tea party featuring cookies made on-site. After soaking up the knowledge and savoring the crumbs, guests can peruse the gift shop for pryaniki to take home with them. If you’re flying back, consider this: You’ll probably have an easier time transporting a keepsake from Tula’s cookie collection than from its weaponry gallery or samovar museum.
Know Before You Go
Call +8 (4872) 34-70-70 (two to three weeks in advance) to schedule a visit. The museum is open by appointment and closed on Monday and Tuesday.