Traditional Estonian cuisine has substantially been based on meat and potatoes, and on fish in coastal and lakeside areas, but is influenced by many other cuisines by now. In the present day it includes a variety of international foods and dishes, with a number of contributions from the traditions of nearby countries. German, Scandinavian, Russian and other influences have played their part. The most typical foods in Estonia have been rye bread, pork, potatoes and dairy products. Estonian eating habits have historically been closely linked to the seasons. In terms of staples, Estonia belongs firmly to the beer, vodka, rye bread and pork "belt" of Europe.
Bean Soup made with broad beans, smoked meat, potatoes and onion. It is served hot with sour cream.
Estonian Chilled Cucumber Soup
Chopped onion is combined with peeled, seeded and grated cucumbers and dill in chicken stock. Once the soup is pureed sour cream and egg yolks are added. Then the soup is chilled for at least 4 hours.
Boiled pork in jelly (Sült)
The jelly is made by boiling the pork bones, sometimes hooves and heads.It's often made in large batches; so many Estonian families have stories of jars and jars of solidifying sült all over the house.
Fish in Tomato Marinade
Whitefish fillets are cut into pieces and sprinkled with salt and pepper and coated in flour. The fish is browned and put into a marinade for about 6 hours. When ready for serving a sauce is made with vinegar, tomato paste, sugar and spices.
Unleavened barley bread (Karask)
One of our desert items was this cake-like barley bread.
Brown bread with garlic
This dish made from the country’s perfected brown bread recipe, which is rubbed with garlic, deep fried, and served with a very garlicky and refreshing tzatziki-like cucumber sauce.
Black pudding (Verivorst)
Blood and barley sausage, similar to what the English diplomatically call 'black pudding' due to its colour. In Estonia, this is traditional Christmas food and is served with a red, berry jam.
Sauerkraut stew (Mulgikapsad)
Estonian sauerkraut side dish. Sauerkraut stew with pork, served with boiled potatoes. This one also turned out to be popular with the participants, one of whom slyly had the remaining portion wrapped up to take home.
Estonian Ground Meat Patties (Hakkliha kotlet)
Ground veal, beef and pork are combined with eggs and spices. This is made into patties, dipped in bread crumbs and fried. In addition it might be served with braised red cabbage.
Sauerkraut, pork loin, apple, onion, pearl barley and spices are combined and simmered for about 4 hours.
Jellied Veal – veal shoulder, fresh pig's knuckles, onion and carrot are placed in a pot to boil with whole peppercorns and bay leaves for about 3 hours. Then the meat is removed and cut up. The meat is placed into molds. Into each mold the boiled stock is poured in then the mold are placed into the fridge until the stock has jellied.
There's really no equivalent in most other traditions. Basically it's a thick desert drink made with sour milk (keefir), and a mixture of ground grains - rye, oat barley, and pea flour.
Vanaema’s kook, or Grandmother’s Cake
It’s a layer of pastry crust, jam, and some wonderful crumbly topping. We also finagled an iced coffee by ordering espresso with honey, a large milk, and a glass of ice.
Root Beer (Kali)
The Estonian, non-alcoholic beverage called Kali. Referred to as "the Estonian Coca-Cola," Kali is a kind of unfermented beer. It's sweet and has a very light fizz to it.
Vana Tallinn is a dark brown strong liqueur with a mild rum taste. The liqueur has a vanillin, slightly exotic and velvety taste, characterized by several natural ingredients, including citrus oils, cinnamon, vanilla, as well as rum.
Vana Tallinn is recommended to drink straight, without any additional components, with a cup of coffee. Often Vana Tallinn is served straight, adding just crushed ice. The liquor is also an excellent component in cocktails.