The tradition still is practiced, both in Russia (occasionally at weddings) and by descendants of Russians living in other countries (bread and salt is brought to a family member or friend when they move into a new home). It is interesting to note that upon his return to Russia on May 27, 1994, Alexander Solzhenitsyn was greeted with the traditional bread and salt.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, bread and salt were presented to the imperial family. The early platters and cellars and those used by the peasants were predominately carved from wood. Later, the ones used by the nobility were of elaborately gilded silver and enamel.
Bread and salt represented the hospitality of folk isolated far from one another in a large country. This hospitality was legendary in Russia, and very similar to that known in the old West in the United States.
Source: Treasures of the Czars education guide by Janet Root.