A TASTE OF ESTONIA
A few ramblings on the subject of Estonian food as experienced on a recent trip to Tallinn the medieval capital and the very beautiful Pärnu on the silvery Baltic coast. We didn’t experience much traditional Estonian food borne of the time when food was scarce and there was a need to preserve and ‘stretch’ what was available. These dishes are not for the faint hearted: marinated eels (served cold for breakfast), boiled tongue with horseradish, blood and barley sausage and boiled pork in jelly.
We did eat some great ‘modern’ Estonian cooking and experienced the whole newness of a modern cuisine developing without being tied down to the old ways.
Unusual ingredients included Kefir -) a sort of fermented cereal. To the uninitiated it did taste like hot milk on ‘Weetabix but it made a lovely ice cream!
Fantastic breads featured in most restaurants with various twists on the staple rye bread. Rich and dark with the faint tang or a sourdough base it was served with all meals and with this herring dish as ice cream! Rye is a dense bread with an earthy nutty flavour. We tried various types with additions such as cracked rye, sunflower, and poppy seeds.
Sea buckthorn featured in many dishes –its astringent orange berries used to decorate the many delicious pastries and cakes or as a cooking ingredient. We did bring back some vivid orange sea buckthorn juice…an acquired taste and although it seemed not too bad sipping it looking out over the many beautiful parks….I suspect it will be sitting in my fridge for sometime!
This is a ‘new’ country, very IT literate, lots of modern design especially with textiles, and many cool and beautiful cafes. We loved it!