The sweet side of Estonian food

Source: Mariann Liimal

The sweet side of Estonian food

In summer and early autumn, Estonia's forests and fields fill up with fresh, juicy tastes of fruit waiting to be picked and preserved for the winter. Locals often maintain their very own berry bushes and mini backyard apple orchards. If they can't grow it on their own, they head to farmers' markets or the forests and wetlands to pick cranberries, forest blueberries, and wild strawberries. Sweet seasonal berries and fruit combine with creamy local dairy products, making the dessert menu an integral part of Estonian cuisine.

Craving something sweet? Here's what to try and where to get it while in Estonia.

Baked confections

Indulge at Estonia's top restaurants or pop into home restaurants for down-to-earth, locally made baked confections.

Photo by: Piret Saar

Pastries and jam

Estonian grandmothers are world champions in jam-making and cake baking. Head for your local market to purchase blackcurrant, blueberry, or buckthorn jams, and head to a downtown bakery for fluffy cakes, crumbles, and pies. In addition to smaller cafes, you can try out some of the following restaurants known for giving special attention to a visiting sweet tooth:

  • Restaurant Moona cosy place run by a local top chef, combines the best of Estonian and Russian cuisine with great success.
  • Supelsaksad in Estonia's summer capital Pärnu caters to those in need of Vitamin D and divine desserts.
  • Müüriääre Café in Haapsalu has an impressive cake display; be prepared to spend some time making a decision!

Organic cream

La Muu is Estonia's first eco-friendly ice cream. Sample the many tastes at Cafe La Muu in Tallinn.

Photo by: Piret Saar

Butter, cream, and quark

Got milk? You bet! Estonians are big on dairy and there are heaps of sweet dairy products to choose from. One of the most famous dairy products in Estonia is kohupiim, otherwise known as quark. And what is quark? It's a fresh cheese made out of soured milk. This slightly tangy yet creamy dairy product can be found everywhere in Estonia, whether it's dessert menus or dairy aisles at the grocery store. Look for quark pudding and chocolate-covered bars called kohuke, as well as yoghurt and sour cream.

Butter is also an essential ingredient of Estonian cooking, especially when it comes to desserts. It's the secret ingredient to flaky, melt-in-your-mouth pastries, cinnamon rolls, and handheld apple pies. Walk around the Rotterman Quarter of Tallinn, and your nose will guide you to treats fresh out of the oven at RØST and Levier Cafe.  

Head to local farms for pure, creative tastes. At Nopri Farm you can watch the making of cheese from curds, yoghurt, cottage cheese, and other milk products, and shop for and taste different products. It gets truly hands-on at the Estonian Dairy Museum, where visitors can make their own ice cream - yum!

Bon appetit! Or as they say in Estonia—head isu!

Last updated : 07.05.2022

In category: Food & Drink & Nightlife