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Estonia - Food and Drink
Rye Bread And Open Sandwiches
Just like in Copenhagen, Estonian sandwiches are missing the top layer of bread. Rye bread with a variety of toppings, from fish to sausage, is absolutely delicious. In 2014, Tallinn Day was celebrated by creating the world’s longest sprat (which is a type of fish) sandwich, measuring about 20 meters long. It’s safe to say that this is the national sandwich of Estonia. Rye bread is popular on its own as well; many people eat it as an accompaniment to soup.
Whilst we’re on the subject of fish, you can find this delicacy in Estonia fresh, smoked, pickled, breaded, dried and any other way imaginable. The nation’s favourites are salmon and Baltic herring. If you fancy some trying some of the local produce, the best place to go would be a turg, which is an open-air market. There are three major markets in Tallinn, in the City Centre (Kesklinn), Baltic station (Balti Jaam) and Lasnamäe Turg. The first two are farmers’ markets – if you are after locally sourced food, those are the places to find it.
Estonian people do love their pickled food. In addition to traditional pickled gherkins and tomatoes you can find wild leek, baby sweetcorn, mushrooms, squash and many other foods in pickled form. Some are rather unexpected, so you have to try it to believe it.
This is a popular old-school dish in Estonia and no party table is complete without it. It must be said, it doesn’t look very appetising, being pieces of meat suspended in savoury jelly, but it is absolutely delusions. You would normally have it with horse radish or spicy mustard. Most families have their own recipes, and nothing beats the home-made version, but since it is a bit fiddly to make, it’s worth knowing that some of the supermarket versions are not bad either.
This treat will bring up a lot of fond childhood memories for many Estonian people. These little batons of cottage cheese, covered in dark or milk chocolate, are some of the most popular snacks in Estonia, for children and adults alike. Some come with a jam filling, but the classic version is plain.
Estonian people do love their beer, and if you are over the legal drinking age of 18 then you should try it. The most famous brand of local beer would be Saku. An annual beer festival (Õllesummer – meaning summer of beer) is held in in July and attracts more than 60,000 visitors. The local factory known as Liviko has been in the liquor and spirits manufacturing business since the end of the 19th century, so they must be doing something right. Their most well-known product is Viru Valge vodka. Another famous beverage is Vana Tallinn, aka Old Tallinn liquor – it’s a must buy for every tourist.
The English translation of this dish is kvass, also known as bread kvass. The best way to describe the taste of this fermented non-alcoholic drink is that it is a mixture of a soft drink and beer. Served ice cold, it makes a great refreshment on those hot summer days. It is also used in a dish called okroshka, which has no English translation. This is a cold soup consisting mainly of raw vegetables, egg, potatoes and sausages.
Kalev’s Chocolate Creations
Founded in 1806, Kalev is the longest running sweets and chocolate factory in the country. Their products include every type of chocolate you can think of and their products are sold in almost every food shop in the country. Many come in absolutely beautiful packages and are popular with tourists looking for gifts and souvenirs.
This chocolate bar produced by Kalev deserves its own entry. It is absolutely unique, meaning it’s hard to describe the taste; you just have to try it. After an almost 20-year hiatus, the bar was brought back in the early noughties and became increasingly popular.
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