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Estonia - Cooking and Food Edit

NORTH ESTONIA Narva stronghold

Courtesy of Giustino

Overview of Estonian Cuisine HistoryEdit

The Estonian cuisine inherited concepts from all the nations that controlled this country. To enumerate the most important nations that once were in the command of Estonian territories there were Danes, Germans, Russians, Swedes and Poles. These nations only controlled parts of the country and never the entire territory. In conclusion, the Estonian cuisine is quite diverse, since it made contact with so many countries.

Estonian presidential flag

Estonia's Presidential Flag (The country flag does not have the crest.)

People usually stay away from the Estonian cuisine, because the name of the dishes intimidates them. Indeed, such dishes as marinated eel, blood sausages or jellied meats might demoralize the foreigners, but if they manage to pass over the name, they will discover some delicacies. It is said that the taste is better than the visual effect, when regarding Estonian foods.

People from this part of Europe seem to have a strange connection with the nature. During the spring and the summer the Estonians display evidences of vivacity, while during the autumn and the winter they have a different behavior. At the end of the summer, all the Estonian families prepare the jams, pickles and preserved vegetables.

The Estonians have imported ingredients, such as potatoes, before starting to crop them locally. Another item that was unknown to people from Estonia until the 17th century, is coffee. Nowadays people consume coffee roasted at home and manually ground only on Sundays and during the holidays.

The most important Estonian dishes are: Silgusoust, Mulgikapsad, Verivorst, Sült, Keel hernestega and Karask. The first five of them are based on meat and are either appetizers or main dishes. The most popular Estonian beverage is Kali. This is a white drink and is actually a beer that has not undergone fermentation. Besides Kali, the Estonians enjoy a great number of wines.

When Estonia became the target of urbanization, dishes such as potatoes and fried meats gained popularity in restaurants and fast-food outlets. Still, Estonia has a cuisine with rural origins and most of the traditional dishes are prepared even nowadays by the Estonians.

Cuisines of Estonia Edit

Estonia's territories have been ruled over time by a great number of invading nations. The country and her people have assimilated cultural concepts from each of these and of course, the Estonian cuisine has been affected by all of them yet as all things Estonian maintained unique signs of autonomy. These adaptations can be seen in certain parts of the country developed into specific cooking styles.

Estonia\'s map

Map of Estonia - Click to enlarge

By Geographic Area and Style:

  • Northern Estonian Cuisine
  • Southern Estonian Cuisine

Preparation Methods for Estonian Cooking Edit

Estonian Pork Fare


The dishes that are prepared in a specific manner are the meat dishes. The complexity and the great number of the foods based on meats have determined the existence of many cooking techniques. For example, one the Estonian traditional dishes consists of Pork in a sort of jelly, made with gelatine. Its called Sült. One must know exactly when is the best moment to add the gelatin in the water and furthermore, when to add the meat. Other dishes, such as the blood sausages require much attention and some accurate knowledge. The dish that results must have a certain taste, and both overcooking and under cooking might create bad effects on the food. Also, there are other dishes that need special methods.

Besides these, the Estonians use the typical cooking techniques that are popular all over Europe. The most important are: boiling, simmering, frying, seasoning, salting, baking and grilling.

Special Equipment for Estonian Cooking Edit

Most Estonian dishes don’t require you to purchase any special tools. However, having a coffee grinder helps with roasting and grinding spices and maximizes their volatile oils, which, in turn, provides your food with more flavor.

As it is an European country, Estonia uses the same equipment as the rest of the continent. The scoops, mills for the spices, pans, pots, trays, knives, forks, teaspoons and tablespoons are the typical tools in an Estonian cuisine. Also, people use bowls when preparing or serving the food. For measuring with a high accuracy the ingredients for a certain recipe, the Estonians have food scales. Also, some foods require to be baked at a specific temperature. The kitchen thermometers are used in order to not overcook the foods.

Estonian Food Traditions and Festivals Edit


Tallinn's old town. Photograph: Timur Nesametdinov/AP

Each year, Tallin, the capital of Estonia, is the host of the Beer Summer Festival. It is the greatest festival of its type in the Northern Europe. Its original name is Õllesummer and it is usually organized in July. Õllesummer and Laulupidu are both at the Laulukaar. Laulupidu means singing-party. Laulupidu is more important for Estonians than Õllesummer. Laulupidu is a tradition that very much people come to sing.

Another important event in Estonia is St. Martin's Day Fair. Usually people expose their handmade tools and ornaments, but this festival proves to also be a good occasion to display the national folk music and the most important dishes that are made in Estonia. St. George's Day Fair is a similar event to the one mentioned before. The only difference is that at St. George's Day Fair, most of the participants are farmers that want to expose their merchandise.

People in Estonian Food Edit

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