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Estonia Cuisine

Historically the cuisine of Estonia has been heavily dependent on seasons and simple peasant food, which today is influenced by many countries. Today it includes many typical international foods. The most typical foods in Estonia are black bread, pork, potatoes and dairy products. Traditionally in summer and spring, Estonians like to eat everything fresh – berries, herbs, vegetables and everything else that comes straight from the garden.

Hunting and fishing have also been very common, although currently hunting and fishing are enjoyed mostly as hobbies. Today it is also very popular to grill outside in summer. Traditionally in winter jams, preserves and pickles are brought to the table. Estonia has been through rough times in the past and thus gathering and conserving fruits, mushrooms and vegetables for winter has always been essential. Today gathering and conserving is not that common because everything can be bought from stores, but preparing food for winter is still very popular in the countryside and still has somewhat ritual significance. Being a country with a large coastal line, fish has also been very important.

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 named Kali. This is a white drink and is actually a beer that has not underwent fermentation. Besides Kali, the Estonians enjoy a great number of wines.

Black rye bread accompanies almost every salty food in Estonia. Instead of wishing "bon appetite" Estonians sometimes say jätku leiba ("may your bread last"). Until the 20th century, the Estonians highly respected their black bread – if a piece of bread was dropped on the floor, it had to be picked up and kissed. If Estonians go abroad they often say that they miss black bread the most.

Cold Dishes

The first course in the traditional Estonian cuisine is cold dishes, selection of meats and sausages served with potato salad or rosolje, one of Estonian signature dishes based on beetroot, meat and herring. Small pies called pirukas filled with either meat, cabbage or carrots are also popular.

Herring is common among other fish as a part of the Estonian Cold Table. Rare smoked or marinated Anguillidae, lobster dishes and imported crabs, shrimps are considered delicacies. Estonia has national fish, räim (Baltic small herring). Sprat, flounder and perch are also popular.


Soups are traditionally eaten before the main course and most often are made of meat or chicken bouillon mixed with variety of vegetables. Soups are also blended with sour cream, milk and yogurt.

Main Dishes

Meat and potatoes variety covered with a rich gravy and often served with sauerkraut has been the traditional Estonian main course. Pork is the most important meat and it's eaten roasted, cured, as bacon, as ham, or in pies and sausages. One the Estonian traditional dishes consists of pork in a sort of jelly, made with gelatine.

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


Specific desserts include kissel, curd snack and kama. Of pastries, rhubarb pies have been popular.




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