About the food of Estonia

After countless shots of pristine forests, glistening lakes, and hug-able medieval buildings, there he was. A nude man. In the snow.

Welcome to Estonia – where the beauty of the outdoors is celebrated and, as I unexpectedly learned this morning, nude men pop up in goofy beer ads. A Le Coq is an Estonian brewery that makes everything from beer, to soda, to juices.  They are the most popular drink company in Estonia, tracing back more than a century. Which, I suppose, is why I happened upon several A Le Coq ads while searching youtube for Estonian food and tourism videos.

Whoops.

While good for a chuckle, the ad gave me the chills. After all, the man is bare-bottomed in the snow. By the looks of it, he’s standing in real snow. I’d like to think his Estonian diet was instrumental in giving him the fortitude to stand there for 30 seconds in a foot of fluffy-white. With that assumption, let’s take a look at the Estonian food that might have sustained him through his cold trial (besides the obvious A le Coq).

Carbs, carbs, and more carbs.

Perhaps this man was able to withstand the trials of snow-streaking thanks to Estonia’s carb-tastic meals. Potatoes are the primary staple – and are served boiled, baked, mashed, and fried. They stick to your ribs in the coldest of times. If  you can’t stand potatoes (does such a person exist?) then you might try barley, a nutty grain served like oatmeal for breakfast, or like rice for lunch or dinner. A third option? Dark rye bread. These satisfying carbs are usually saddled with with meat and gravy. Perfect fuel for snow streaking.

Something fishy.

Estonia juts into the chilly Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, making fish – especially herring – a much loved item. Salted, smoked, or fried, herring is typically served on top of, or under, or swimming in a sour cream sauce. Thinly sliced red onions, dill, lemon juice or vinegar may all be present. A rugged, beer-drinking, weather-braving Estonian could eat tons of herring [Recipe].

Sweet Treats.

As for desserts? Rhubarb is a great springtime treat – adored in pies, tarts [Recipe], and cakes. Estonians also eat cheesecakes which would really be better off called “cheese” cakes – they are not overly sweet like what you’d expect out of NY-style cheesecake. The delicate sweetness is often balanced with a tart spoonful of lingdonberry jam.

When the holidays roll round, don’t forget about gingerbread – a treat as popular in Estonia as it is in nearby Denmark, Sweden and more. Not just for holiday cookies, some Estonians do fun things like use gingerbread [Recipe] as a base for their cheesecakes [Recipe]. Or perhaps to refuel after running around in the snow. The spices are rather warming.

Veski Trahter (windmill tavern in Kuressaare), Käina Martin's Church (16th c.), Tallinn Song Festival Grounds

Photos: CIA World FactbookStuart Yeates, Mannobult, HendrixEesti, ToBreatheAsOne, Claus Ableiter
Estonian A Le Coq Ad (Not suitable for all ages)
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Comments

  1. Brian S. says:

    Geographically, Estonia is far from a backwater, and at one time or another it has been ruled by the Holy Roman Empire, Sweden, and Russia. Most of its upper classes were German people. So it must have a varied culinary history.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I found the food fascinating – I hope I didn’t give the impression I thought it was backwater. Lots of unusual and wonderful dishes. One thing they got from the Germans is a love for sauerkraut. Who can blame them? I love the stuff personally… Mr Picky, not so much.

  2. umm…..excuse me I can’t see to find that picture of that man (JK)…LOL….I am very excited about this country…I wonder why??? haha..the sprinkling of the surrounding European Countries is thrilling..I always loved Sweden, Denmark and Finland..and I never heard of Estonia..if I did I wouldnt of known what or where it was. Excited excitied excited for your menu!!!

    • Jessica Bennett says:

      I was looking for the naked man too :) By the way, your probably haven’t heard of Estonia since it was part of the USSR for so long.

      • Sasha Martin says:

        It’s in the bottom of the post, super small so that little people aren’t so likely to click on it. ;)

  3. Love that “Le Coq Add” video…
    PS How do you translate and what language is this?

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