When people around me ask what Estonian food is like I often have to pause a moment until it all floods out of me: rosolje, dark rye bread, potato salad, all kinds of smoked, pickled and marinated fish, pickles, barley and not to forget pork roast, blood sausages, sauerkraut and headcheese… If I go about Estonian food this way in most cases I can see faces between ‘you have to be kidding me’ and ‘you guys are weird’. Trying to explain that many of these dishes are actually very tasty I’m usually encountered with disbelief…
So how did we, Estonians, end up with such a variety of foods?
Estonian cuisine is largely based around the seasons of the year. We are probably closer to nature than most European countries. Another aspect that sets Estonian cuisine apart is the dependence on the forest, in summer people will often gather all day to come home with basketfuls of berries and mushrooms. During the august months much of the food is made into jams, preserves and pickles to stock up the cellar for winter.
The most notable Estonian food found throughout the country is a black leavened rye bread, even Estonians who have left the country do not forget its characteristic taste.
On the coastal regions of Estonia potatoes and salted, dried or smoked fish where the staples of a normal diet, which also included things like porridge and barley on weekdays.
Inland farmers raised cattle, chickens and pigs, meat based dishes were very popular here. In the winter roasts where set upon the table along with dark stew, blood pudding and sauerkraut followed by gingerbread, while in summer light snacks like meat pastries, rosolje, headcheese and open faced sandwiches were sufficient.
Where drinks are involved ale brewing has been popular throughout history, light ales are the traditional beverages for all occasions. Vodka is also a staple drink in the country, due to a high dependence on potatoes and the ability to grow them very easily in the rocky soils.
So this year, why not come out and try some of these amazing dishes at Suvihari rESTOran. Our host and head chef Leena Kimsto is cooking up a storm offering many mouthwatering Estonian favourites. rESTOran will be open from lunch time on Friday July 1st till midday on Sunday July 3rd, breakfast will be served on Saturday and Sunday morning.
Jum, Esto food at Seedrioru