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Estonian food in focus

What do elk meat sausages taste like? Are blueberry chips as addictive as potato chips? Can kama, a traditional Estonian dessert, compete with crème brulée? One way to experience Estonian cuisine at first hand would be to go to the 79th International Green Week in Berlin. This year, the northernmost Baltic state is a partner country for the fair.

Rye is a key ingredient

Rye is one of the most important raw ingredients in the Estonian national cuisine. In particular rye bread has traditionally had a great significance. This is the reason why Estonians wish each other “bon appétit” by saying “jätku leibe” – literally translated as “may the bread last”. Rye is also an ingredient in the centuries-old dessert called kama. This sweet is basically sour milk combined with kama flour, a mix of roasted barley, rye, oat and pea flour. It’s often served with honey sauce. Last but not least, rye is found in drinks like in the fermented bread drink, kali, probably better known by its Russian name, kvass.

Elk and bear meat on the menu

Traditionally, Estonian food has always been very simple and modest. Meat was eaten mostly in autumn and winter. Nowadays, oven-roasted black pudding or brawn with sauerkraut are very popular. In Estonia, you can find not only elk, but also bear meat on the table, something which people from other cultures may find quite shocking. Although the Brown Bear is considered a potentially endangered species, according to CITES, the species is thriving in Estonia where there are about 600 animals. This is why a certain quota is allowed to be culled annually. Fish is mostly fresh, but it can also be eaten dried, salted or smoked. Dishes based on herring – the Estonian national fish – as well as sprat and river lamprey are popular. Dairy products like cottage cheese and sour milk were and still are very well-liked. Mushrooms and berries from the forests have always enriched Estonian food. Nowadays, the Baltic state produces and exports gooseberries, currants, bilberries and raspberries.

Source: Stiftung Warentest