The 5 important things to know about Estonian food are:
#1 Estonia’s food culture originates from the countries around the Baltic Sea
The Danes, the Finns, the Germans and the Russians have all contributed to the traditional cuisine – and the Swedish most of all. Have the Estonians really found a way to pair øllebrød, blood sausage, sauerkraut and Russian potato salad with pickled herring?
In Riisa Village in the Soomaa National Park, Tareq eats well-known Estonian dishes with centuries-long history, the ingredients of which the neighboring countries can recognize from their own traditional home cooking. But neither mulgipuder made with barley, potato, pork and butter, nor kama, a typical dessert made with coarsely ground cereals and fermented milk, is daily fare in our times.
#2 Meat lovers find their paradise in the Estonian cuisine
Tareq visits a ‘lifestyle restaurant’ outside Tallinn where he makes an exquisitely tasty tartar of lamb cut by himself. Meat such as pork, chicken, boar, roe deer and fowl is the basic ingredient in most of the traditional dishes.
Estonians always keep their minds open to new culinary ideas, so be prepared to expect the unexpected!
#3 Enjoy what the nature around you has to offer
At the Soomaa National Park, Tareq tries his hand on pike burgers with pickled vegetables and guelder rose fruit – berries that taste like lingonberries. One of the secrets of good Estonian food is simplicity albeit with an abundance of ideas – using everything that the surrounding land can provide.
You’ll find locally produced fresh vegetables, fruit and berries everywhere and they are frequently used in cooking.
#4 The traditional is combined with the modern at the best taverns
Tareq cooks at the restaurant Leib Resto ja Aed in Tallinn’s Old Town. Leib means ‘rye bread’ in Estonian, and the black home-baked bread has a profound significance for every Estonian. It embodies everything pure, warm, simple and honest – precisely the feeling that the creators at Leib Resto & Aed want to convey by cooking creative, seasonal dishes with great passion and simple Estonian ingredients. The guests should definitely taste the crème brûlée with roast leib and the leib ice cream!
If you enjoy hefty portions of pork and cabbage in all its forms, Kuldse Notsu Kõrts (The Golden Piglet Inn) is the place to visit. Handmade sausages, boar meat dishes, grilled piglet, sauerkraut and fried potatoes in every manner possible are served in the cosy, rustic environment. The recipes go back to the Middle Ages and the friendly serving staff wear traditional folk costumes.
See which are the 10 best restaurants in Tallinn.
#5 The food revolution lives throughout Estonia
The new generation of chefs is leading an emerging food revolution in the capital Tallinn and further across the country. The same delicious recipes and excellent ingredients that are used by the chefs at the best restaurants in Tallinn, Pärnu and Haapsalu can be enjoyed at food festivals and trade fairs held throughout the year:
You can also taste Estonia at any of the 30 best restaurants in the country.
The visit of Tareq Taylor's Nordic Cookery in the Soomaa National Park became a unique experience for the master chef and his team.