Estonia is a country that loves different flavors in their food. They like to eat good food that has an abundance of natural seasonal flavors, and they are curious about new cuisines and tastes. The Estonian food have traces of traditional cuisines of countries like Russia, Germany, Scandinavia and France.
The Estonian Bread
Estonia has an abundance of farms and forests, with one third being covered with farmlands and half of the country being covered by forests. The bread has been considered as a symbol of food in the Estonian farms for a long time.
The importance of bread can be easily understood by the fact that there are a number of myths surrounding it. One of them is that if a piece of bread is dropped, you need to pick it up and kiss it, then eat that piece of bread. There are three different breads in Estonia, black, white and wholemeal. The most popular being the black rye bread, that people give it as souvenir.
Shashlik – The national dish of Estonia
The midsummer eve, on the 23rd of June is the day when the Eesti rahvustoit Shashlik becomes a part of traditional cuisine. Shashlik comes in many types, it could be made from chicken, lamb, pork or turkey with a variety of marinades. It’s skewered and slowly grilled on fire. The Shashlik is a part of a number of bonfires across Estonia, where it’s enjoyed with a heathy dose of beer, dancing, singing and merry making.
The delicacies of blood
Being a farming community, the Estonian has learnt from the beginning to utilize every part of a slaughtered animal, whether for food or as forage. This practice lead to the creation of delicacies of blood. Blood is used to make a number of delicacies such as blood sausages with Lingonberry jam that is sour, blood dumplings with sour cream, blood cakes and blood pancakes.
The Estonian element
There is a strong influence of international cuisines on the Estonian cuisine, but the presence of local, pure elements provide the Estonian signature character to all the dishes. These local components like buckwheat, beetroot, blackcurrant and blueberries come from the abundant forest and farmland of Estonia, and are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and colors. These tasty food items can be tasted during their seasonal growths, or as jams and juices round the year.
There are a number of dishes that are found only in Estonia and are considered as exotic delicacies.
- Sprat Sandwich/ Kilovoileib – It’s made using black bread, fish(sprat), egg and sauce and its accompanied by boiled eggs. It’s not much to look at but tastes delicious.
- Potato goat porridge/ Mulgipuder – It’s a pure Estonian dish usually served with bacon.
- Kohuke- It’s chocolate or caramel covered pressed curd that may not have a filling. The filling could be berries, kiwis, chocolate etc.
The Estonian food is simple, nourishing and healthy, and it’s made from local ingredients. The most popular Estonian dishes apart from the black bread are Jellied meat, blood sausages and Sauerkraut. A number of popular restaurants like Maikrahv serve traditional Estonian cuisine where one can enjoy the blast of flavors and colors that is Estonian food.
This Guest Post has been written by Arthur Cooper. Maikrahv is a restaurant that offers traditional Estonian dishes like the national dish of Estonia or Eesti rahvustoit. The restaurant is located at the town hall square of the old town of Tallinn and it’s known for its authentic Estonian cuisine, excellent service and medieval atmosphere. Please go to their website to learn more about Estonian cuisine and to book a table.