The key to our recent success lies in the fact that Estonians have started to really appreciate and celebrate our own food and local culinary customs. Making homemade dark sourdough rye bread, foraging for wild mushrooms and berries going fishing and hunting, and growing our own vegetables connect Estonian rural folk and true culinary artists, professional Chefs de Cuisine. An abundant variety of Estonian flavours come to life while making one's own jam, pressing juice, salting and marinating cucumbers and making sauerkraut. Over the recent years making one's own wild garlic pesto has become something of a social media madness, almost a competition.
Estonia's 30 best restaurants are listed in White Guide Nordic
In addition to home grown culinary customs, Estonia has enjoyed recognition on the European high-end gastronomic chart. In late November, 2017 Estonia's 30 best restaurants have been listed in White Guide Nordic. NOA Chef's Hall is named the best restaurant in all of the Baltic states, with Alexander Chef's Table coming in third. The number of Baltic restaurants listed in the White Guide Nordic has increased, including 114 from Estonia, the top thirty of which are:
With its New Nordic approach, Estonia has also claimed its place in the Bocuse d'Or competition and continues to pursue the golden trophy. And the magic culinary destinations such as Pädaste Manor were among the first restaurants to create their own interpretation of traditional Estonian food to the standard of haute cuisine.
Appreciation of the local produce comes hand-in-hand with the collaboration between the chef and the farmer. Estonia's biggest island Saaremaa is booming with new restaurants and a new generation of chefs along with their renewed love for local ingredients. Restaurants proudly offer their own maple and birch juice and you may be welcomed with electric-green spruce shoots and sorrels as topping on your soup.
Food fairs and regional markets, where you can meet the farmers and sample their products have become increasingly popular. The golden autumn brings out the best: the jam and preserves fair in Olustvere, Lindora fair in the Seto region, Paunvere exhibition near Tartu and Bread Day at the Open Air Museum in Tallinn. Onion growing thrives along the Lake Peipus coast where the locals braid onions into golden-yellow chains that look like the rich plaits of Russian tsarinas from fairy-tales.
This is just a glimpse of Estonia's ongoing journey for culinary excellence. Once estonished, you are likely to return for more!
View all of the White Guide Nordic's restaurant recommendations here.