Posh nosh It's hard to think of a more decadent and luxurious snack than the blini, at least if the yeasted buckwheat pancakes are topped with sturgeon caviar. Even when eaten with less expensive toppings, blinis are still delicious.

In her book A La Russe - A Cookbook of Russian Hospitality, Darra Goldstein suggests serving them with either salmon roe, smoked salmon, chopped pickled herring, jam (for a dessert version) or simply melted butter.

Goldstein writes, "Traditionally, one is expected to gorge oneself on blini … the downfall of the 19th-century gourmand Lyapin was in the two dozen blini he once consumed before dinner."

Two dozen doesn't sound excessive if the blini are about 5cm in diameter, such as the ones sold in supermarkets. But it's a lot (especially before dinner) if they're 12cm in diameter, as Goldstein advises.

If you're eating caviar-topped blini at a posh party, the chances are you'll also be served a glass of champagne. Actually, though, caviar can make champagne taste fishy, so the traditional Russian ice-cold vodka shots are a much better choice.