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eGfoodblog: Pille

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#31 Eden

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 05:13 PM

I'm so excited that you're blogging here Pille!
A friend brought me back cloudberry Jam from his trip to Estonia (along with Vana Tallin liqueur :wub: ) so any suggestions of traditional uses for the Jam would be fun - although right now I'm thinking it might be just fine with apple-cake :biggrin:

More Moomin Mug shots always welcome, you just can't get Moomin stuff here...
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#32 MarketStEl

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 07:34 PM

This is all completely new to me. All I knew about Estonia is that it was forcibly annexed to the USSR in 1940 after a brief period of independence, then regained independence with the breakup of the USSR. So I'm just going to sit back, listen and learn, with only a few questions.

One is: Is a dollop of sour cream (or is that yogurt?) a standard garnish on soups in Estonia?

The other is a trademark:

We left house 8.15am this morning. Kristjan drops me off at work in the mornings, and it's usually a 20-minute drive to the city centre. As as we ended up in a traffic jam, it took us 35 minutes. The route is very scenic - we drive along the coast a lot of the time, and the teaser photo of Tallinn skyline is taken on the way. We both have quite flexible schedules, so we usually leave home a bit later, around 9ish, to avoid being stuck in traffic.

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No tram or metro?

So far, everything's very pretty, that parking field excluded.

Edited by MarketStEl, 17 September 2007 - 07:35 PM.

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#33 mizducky

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 08:26 PM

Great blog, about a country I too know too little about. The "sprat can skyline" concept is still cracking me up. And those soups sound wonderful. I'm always up for a good bowl of borscht. I'd like to hear a little more about those other soup varieties. My only exposure to something called "solyanka" has been a recipe out of the original Moosewood cookbook, and I have no idea how far it strayed from authenticity.

Edited to add: oh yeah--and that rye bread looked fabulous! Really good dense chewy bread is something I continue to yearn for in this land of squishy wimpy bread where I currently live. :laugh:

Edited by mizducky, 17 September 2007 - 08:30 PM.


#34 Jen Keenan

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 08:26 PM

Will we see some dumplings?  I'm not even certain of the naming for them in Estonia.  This is exciting, as it's a part of the world we hear so little about.
But, whatever you cove, I know it'll look good (as good as it tastes!).
Cheers,
peter

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Mmmm. Dumplings. I'm afraid that's more Eastern/Southern European thing. We've got something called pontšikud, which are deep-fried curd cheese 'dumplings', but I doubt I'll be eating them this week. I promise lots of nice looking cakes and pastries, however! :cool:

Ooo! Then I have a question, please. My mother's family is Latvian and one of the only things we were allowed to know about (we're Americans now, we will eat American food) were pierogs. They are heavenly, crescent-shaped savory buns with pork, bacon and onions baked inside. Do Estonians do something similar? And if so, any chance of seeing and/or hearing about it this week? :biggrin: Good luck blogging Pille!
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#35 Pierogi

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 11:06 PM

Let me add to the chorus of "YAYs" that you're blogging. Like so many others, this is an area of the world I have absolutely no exposure to, and I am so looking forward to learning about.

And now....the tacky request after the compliments (sorry, she says, trying to act somewhat innocent.... :rolleyes:) Is there any possibility that you could share the recipe for the sauerkraut soup you made in your class? That looked SO amazing, and I so love sauerkraut.
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#36 Pille

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 12:01 AM

Tere hommikust, everyone!

I had breakfast on my own this morning, as Kristjan left at some ungodly hour (6am?), and I couldn't possibly be expected to get up so early. Instead I slept till after 8, and had a leisurely breakfast while reading the morning paper. I've also checked my eGullet foodblog, of course - so many exciting questions :rolleyes: . Let me just promise you that there will be pictures of pierogi, recipes for sauerkraut soup, information about soup garnishes, and photos of trams - and trolleys. But later..

Today's breakfast was dairy-heavy. I asked Kristjan to bring some yogurt from the supermarket on the way home last night, and he brought a whole selection:

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The large one on the left is ahjuõunajogurt alias baked apple yogurt with cinnamon. The small tube in the middle is juustumaitseline murakajogurt alias cream cheese and cloudberry jam yogurt. The top round tube is pohla-müslijogurt alias lingonberry and muesli yogurt, and the one on the right is rabarberi-kaerajogurt alias rhubarb and oat yogurt.

My breakfast today: a bowl of baked apple yogurt (my absolute favourite), a slice of last night's apple cake, a small bowl of tiny sweet grapes (they're sold as Kiš-miš grapes at the market) and a cup of rooibos tea:

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Kristjan also brought couple of glasuurkohuke alias chocolate-glazed curd cheese bars last night and insisted I blog about them :raz: :

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These are very popular here, especially among kids (and their parents), come in many different flavours nowadays (I'm quite partial to the ones with cranberry jam inside). I remember eating them as a kid, and still have one every now and then. Here's a close-up:

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The label says it's 56% curd cheese, 20% chocolate glaze, plus sugar and vanillin. They're quite high in calories - 320kcal/100 grams, but have (apparently) a good ratio of carbs to proteins, so are better for sugar cravings than plain chocolate. I think :)

Anyway. Time to get dressed and head to work. I think I'll skip lunch today, as I'm already meeting a friend for a coffee and a cake or two in a very nice old town cafe at 4pm. Afterwards we'll be checking out a new jazz bar that's throwing an end-of-summer-party with drinks and nibbles between 5-7pm.

Dinner tonight will be Scottish :laugh:

Edited by Pille, 18 September 2007 - 12:32 PM.


#37 Abra

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 12:03 AM

When I was in Tampere to see the Moomin museum, which was about 15 years ago (yikes!) I also went to hear an Estonian opera performance at the beautiful Tampere opera house. It was in Estonian, with Finnish supertitles, so of course I couldn't understand a word, but I was surprised at how the Finns seemed to understand much more than the supertitles translated. Now I understand why.

Now that it's getting to be mushroom season, do mushrooms figure in Estonian cuisine?

We were posting at the same time - wow, those yogurts look fantastic! I want all of those flavors, and apple yogurt with apple cake sounds like a dream breakfast to me. Now the cheese curd bars....that's really...unusual. I think I need to try one to find out if it's an acquired taste.

Edited by Abra, 18 September 2007 - 12:06 AM.


#38 Adam Balic

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 12:33 AM

The food looks really lovely, I especially like the look of the apple cake. All the images of curds and rye bread is reminding me of the food I say in Lithuania (although the Estonians I spoke to there told me that they thought that the Lithuanian food had more Polish influence).

I'll look forward to seeing the Scottish food also. :smile:

#39 Pille

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 12:34 AM

I'm ready to dash off (I'm taking my time this morning - the joys of working in academia :cool: ). Before I go, I'll post you pictures of my 'foodblogger's corner', so you'd know where I'm blogging from :biggrin: . It's in the upstairs lobby (just next to our bedroom), which was empty until last week. Kristjan bought me two high bookshelves to fit all my cookbooks and food magazines (he's a good boyfriend :wub: ):

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And then I also needed a study desk, as it would have been unconvenient to walk upstairs whenever I needed to check something from a cookbook or another (there's a study/home office on the ground floor, too). The desk and chair arrived last week, and they're just across the room from the bookshelves:

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I love that little corner of mine :rolleyes:

Edited by Pille, 18 September 2007 - 09:18 AM.


#40 Pille

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 02:56 AM

Polish Barscz is usually made with sour cream and accented with dill. Yours looks absolutely beautiful and I bet it tastes just as good!

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Thank you for clarifying this, Monavano! I think I've seen photos of Polish beetroot soup on this lovely foodblog by a Polish girl living in Sweden. Are you familiar with that blog?

Pille, great to see that you are blogging on eG this week.
That borsch looks amazing. Looking forward to some good eats !!
Cheers
Percy

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Thank you, Percy! I'm hoping to have plenty of good eats myself :biggrin:

I guessed Denmark but hey - those spires are to blame - I always think of spires when I think of Copenhagen.
That apple cake looks very appetizing.
Thank you for blogging.

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Thank you for reading, Anna N!

I was in Tallinn several years ago, wow what a beautiful place, my brother in law is british and this is where we went for the stag party.  I know nothing of estonia, except that some of my family is from the area.  The most beautiful women I have ever seen were everywhere there.  It was a trip I would never forget.  I ate at a wonderful very upscale restaurant between old town and port I think.  Anyway it was basically a tasting menu that was several courses, very avant garde for estonia in 2003, in my opinion.  Everything was very local, mostly french technique, there was a nightclub upstairs, thats about what I remember.  Quite trendy though, curious if its still there.

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Oh, the British stag parties. They're everywhere.. :wacko: Re: the upscale restaurant - I could think of many restaurants located between old town and the harbour that do a tasting menu - Stenhus, Egoist, for example, but I cannot think of any with a nightclub upstairs. Let me think about it, Mr Delicious..

A friend brought me back cloudberry Jam from his trip to Estonia (along with Vana Tallin liqueur :wub: ) so any suggestions of traditional uses for the Jam would be fun - although right now I'm thinking it might be just fine with apple-cake  :biggrin:
More Moomin Mug shots always welcome, you just can't get Moomin stuff here...

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Did you spot the Moomin 'Kärlek/Love' spoon on the breakfast spread photo today, Eden?
Re: Vana Tallinn liqueur - it's an acquired taste, and although I didn't like it for ages, I now happily drink it. There is also a cream liqueur version now that I always prefer to the most common cream liqueur (Bailey's that is). I find it has much more character and isn't as cloyingly sweet. Cloudberry jam could be used on toast, it'd be nice with cheese, and there are several desserts you can incorporate it into. I'll show you one soon :wink:

This is all completely new to me.  All I knew about Estonia is that it was forcibly annexed to the USSR in 1940 after a brief period of independence, then regained independence with the breakup of the USSR.  So I'm just going to sit back, listen and learn, with only a few questions.
One is:  Is a dollop of sour cream (or is that yogurt?) a standard garnish on soups in Estonia?

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MarketStEl - you've obviously paid attention in your history class - that's more than many other people I've met! And yes - a dollop of hapukoor or sour cream is a standard soup garnish over here, at least in domestic cooking. You can get three versions in shop nowadays - 10%, 20%, 30% fat content, with 20% one being the 'traditional'.
I'll return to your trademark question later on :cool:

Great blog, about a country I too know too little about. The "sprat can skyline" concept is still cracking me up. And those soups sound wonderful. I'm always up for a good bowl of borscht. I'd like to hear a little more about those other soup varieties. My only exposure to something called "solyanka" has been a recipe out of the original Moosewood cookbook, and I have no idea how far it strayed from authenticity.
Edited to add: oh yeah--and that rye bread looked fabulous! Really good dense chewy bread is something I continue to yearn for in this land of squishy wimpy bread where I currently live. :laugh:

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There are many versions of solyanka - it can be made with beef, pork, fish and mushrooms. The Estonian version is somewhat meat-light and onion-heavy, and I love it that way (I've written about it here).
I haven't stopped looking for the sprat can skyline proof, so keep your fingers crossed, Mizducky :laugh:

Ooo!  Then I have a question, please.  My mother's family is Latvian and one of the only things we were allowed to know about (we're Americans now, we will eat American food) were pierogs.  They are heavenly, crescent-shaped savory buns with pork, bacon and onions baked inside.  Do Estonians do something similar?  And if so, any chance of seeing and/or hearing about it this week?

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Yes, we do, Jen! I've written about mushroom pierogis - seenepirukad - here, but they can be made with rice, pork, beef, cabbage, etc filling. They're wonderful! And I'll make sure you'll hear and see about them this week :rolleyes:

And now....the tacky request after the compliments (sorry, she says, trying to act somewhat innocent.... :rolleyes:)  Is there any possibility that you could share the recipe for the sauerkraut soup you made in your class?  That looked SO amazing, and I so love sauerkraut.

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Happy to oblige - I'll add it to RecipeGullet during the week and let you know!

darlin' for some people around here vension is considered "exotic".  bring on the boar, the caribou, and the fish.  and the pork, please.  i love my pork.
your apple cake sounds a lot like john's german grandmother's .  i still make it but use toast dope on top instead of the pearl sugar which is hard to find around these parts.

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I'll add the apple cake recipe to RecipeGullet at some point during the week, so you can make it and see how it compares with John's granny's version! And there will be meat, Suzi, I promise!

#41 Pille

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 03:02 AM

Now that it's getting to be mushroom season, do mushrooms figure in Estonian cuisine?
We were posting at the same time - wow, those yogurts look fantastic!  I want all of those flavors, and apple yogurt with apple cake sounds like a dream breakfast to me.  Now the cheese curd bars....that's really...unusual.  I think I need to try one to find out if it's an acquired taste.

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Abra - we're huge mushroom lovers, too, and eat quite a large variety of wild mushrooms, both in their pickled, salted, dried and fresh state. I picked up some kitsemamplid or gypsy mushrooms (Rozites caperata) at the market last weekend, and will show you pictures on my market posting. During July-August we consumed wild chantarelles several times a week.

In 'normal' circumstances we'd go to forage for wild mushrooms coming weekend and share photos with you. However, I've got a work meeting on Saturday and Kristjan is wrapping up a large project at work, too, so his schedule is hectic, and it's unlikely we'll make it to the wilderness. However, I'm happy to introduce you to this lovely Boletus rufus we picked few weeks ago:

Posted Image

and show off this wild mushroom basket picked by yours truly last October :cool: :

Posted Image

(mushroom photos are taken by Kristjan)

The food looks really lovely, I especially like the look of the apple cake. All the images of curds and rye bread is reminding me of the food I say in Lithuania (although the Estonians I spoke to there told me that they thought that the Lithuanian food had more Polish influence).
I'll look forward to seeing the Scottish food also. :smile:

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I guess when you look from further afield, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian cuisines seem pretty similar, but once you're here, you'll notice the subtle differences. Traditional Estonian cuisine is a mixture of Nordic, Russian and German elements, and the Scandinavian influences in Lithuania would be negligent, whereas Polish influences in Estonia are non-existent. By the way, Adam, I loved your Vilnius food images thread!

#42 MelissaH

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 05:19 AM

In 'normal' circumstances we'd go to forage for wild mushrooms coming weekend and share photos with you. However, I've got a work meeting on Saturday and Kristjan is wrapping up a large project at work, too, so his schedule is hectic, and it's unlikely we'll make it to the wilderness.

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Is it normal for you to have work meetings on what Americans consider the weekend? I've only heard of one such regularly occurring meeting, and that (surprise!) was also in the academic world, and had been happening every Saturday for the last 40 years or so.

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#43 Pille

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 05:27 AM

In 'normal' circumstances we'd go to forage for wild mushrooms coming weekend and share photos with you. However, I've got a work meeting on Saturday and Kristjan is wrapping up a large project at work, too, so his schedule is hectic, and it's unlikely we'll make it to the wilderness.

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Is it normal for you to have work meetings on what Americans consider the weekend? I've only heard of one such regularly occurring meeting, and that (surprise!) was also in the academic world, and had been happening every Saturday for the last 40 years or so.
MelissaH

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Not for me, really :) But we are about to launch a new research project in October (my first proper research grant :rolleyes:), and we're meeting in a very nice cafe on Saturday afternoon. Saturday was the best option, as one of the researchers is due to return to Scotland on Sunday, another is only arriving from Japan on Thursday night, and third is popping over for the weekend from Paris, where he's seconded at the moment, so we agreed 'somewhere' in the middle.. We may come and go as we want and don't have the 9-5 schedule, but then occasionally we have to work at nights or even weekends :shock: However, we've got 6 weeks of summer holiday, so I cannot really complain about an occasional working weekend :biggrin: In any case, we're seven people aged in our 20s/early 30s (3 Estonians, 2 Americans, 1 Romanian, 1 Portuguese), so it's more like a cup of coffee in a cafe on Saturday with some work-related discussions thrown in :wink:

Kristjan is an entrepreneur in salvaging business, and as they've got a big project going on at the moment, he's had no free weekends throughout August. Luckily the project is about to end, so we'll get our 'normal routine' (i.e. weekends off) soon!

Edited by Pille, 18 September 2007 - 09:20 AM.


#44 Pille

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 05:31 AM

Ok, time to talk about the market. There are few markets in Tallinn, Kristjan and I shop at Tallinna Keskturg or Tallinn Central Market at least once a week. While still living in Edinburgh, I frequented the farmers' market that took place on Saturday's on Castlehill Terrace. That was a neat little market selling local produce and I loved it. The concept of farmers market is still unknown here in Estonia, and markets tend to sell stuff - both food and non-food - from near and far. A bit chaotic, and bits of it don't appeal to me at all, but I've discovered several wonderful stalls selling great produce, and enjoy our weekly trips a lot.

Again, as we've both quite busy this week, and because of Kristjan's work we cannot be sure we'd have time to go to the market this coming weekend, we went to the market last Saturday and took some photos for you. To start with, here's a typical autumnal market stall:
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Note the jars of home-pickled mushrooms, grated horseradish, and adjika on the left, and containers with salted tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in the the front. You can choose between 1-day, 2-day, 3-day or very sour cucumbers - I love the 1-day ones, which are still very mildly salted.

Pumpkins everywhere:

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and here:

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Here's one of my favourite stalls - Uus-Kongo Farm. They sold fresh Estonian asparagus earlier this year, which pleased me enormously. I didn't even know we grew asparagus as a vegetable in Estonia, so I was extra excited. As the market is just 15 minute walk from the University, I asked Kristjan to drop me off at the market instead every other day, and bought a new batch of asparagus :biggrin: It's a highly seasonal stall - asparagus and salad leaves during spring, various wonderfully crisp salad leaves and spinach during summer, and now sauerkraut in various disguises - sour, mild, with apples, with garlic, with horseradish, red and white - you name it. Here's a view of the stall:

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and here's a close-up of sauerkraut:

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Their sauerkraut is really popular, and is the sauerkraut of choice for many of Tallinn's restaurants appearently. They definitely have long queues all the time!

Here's my other favourite stall - I don't know the name of the lady, but she's Russian, and she speaks very poor Estonian. My Russian isn't good either, but yet we understand each other perfectly. In early spring, she sold me beautiful and fresh morel mushrooms and Ptychoverpa bohemica mushrooms (considered delicious eating mushrooms by Estonian, Finnish, and Swedish mushroom experts, and inedible by US sources. Go figure!) this spring, and wonderful French apricots earlier this summer (yep, the ones I used for Dave Hatfield's apricot tart). But her main secret is her adjika, a spicy Georgian red pepper condiment. There are several stalls selling it at the market, but hers is the best. She often runs out of it, but tends to keep one jar 'under the counter' for us (just like in the good old Soviet days :biggrin: ). Here's me returning the empty adjika jars for her (note the huge porcini mushrooms and yellow chantarelles!):

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And here's me buying those tiny sweet Kiš-miš grapes from her:

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Although we prefer forageing for our own wild mushrooms, it's not always an option. 'Our mushroom forests' are about 80 kilometres from Tallinn, and it's not always easy to find the half or full day to venture there. Luckily, there are plenty of stalls selling wild mushrooms at the market, mostly Estonian Russian women (although we use a wide variety of wild mushrooms compared to an 'average' western consumer, then Russians use yet much, much wider variety and are much better mushroom consumers and foragers than Estonians are).

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I discovered this old Russian lady above few weeks ago - she sells both fresh gypsy mushrooms, as well as extremely delicious salted mushrooms. Here are the salted mushrooms - note the neat Estonian signs:

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A jar of salted gypsy mushrooms (Rozites caperata) on the left and a jar of salted rufous milkcaps (Lactarius rufus) on the right. I love the gypsy mushrooms - they've got such a distinct mushroom fragrance and flavour, and the salted ones are wonderful just eaten au naturel, or mixed with chopped onion and sour cream as a sakuska.

The market is also a great place for buying various wild berries, if you cannot make it to the forests/bogs/fields. I managed to pick wild strawberries, cloudberries, bog bilberries, bilberries and lingonberries myself this summer, but all these would be widely available at the market, too. Last weekend there were plenty of stalls offering lingonberries and really large wild cranberries. Also, astelpajumarjad or sea buckthorn berries are ripe now, and there were several stalls offering them:

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Here's a picture of a guy selling various local apple varieties. We didn't buy any, as we get way more than we are able to eat from my mum, but we did buy plums, broad beans, and wild bilberries from the guy earlier this year:

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And finally, here's the bounty we brought back home:

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On the right you can see some beetroots, carrots and cabbage I used for borsch (Kristjan's dinner last night), some turnips (for tonight's Scottish dinner), and a bottle of 100% pure unsweetened Azerbaijan pomegranate juice. There are also some green tomatoes, as I re-watched the film again recently and am keen to try the famous fried green tomatoes (if anybody has got a good recipe, I'm happy to listen!). In the basket there are some fresh gypsy mushrooms (and underneath are hiding salted ones you saw above), sweet tiny Kiš-miš grapes, fresh parsley & coriander/cilantro, potatoes, garlic, a jar of Georgian adjika condiment, a bag of red sauerkraut (and underneath is a bag of 'usual' sauerkraut), as well as some sea buckthorn berries that I hope to use for a dessert during the week.

I'm off to meet a friend in a lovely cafe in the middle of old town now. Nägemiseni!

Edited to add that the exchange rates for EEK (Eesti kroon or Estonian crown) are following:
1 USD - 11.3 EEK
1 Canadian dollar - 11.1 EEK
1 GBP - 22.6 EEK
1 EURO - 15.7 EEK

Edited by Pille, 18 September 2007 - 05:35 AM.


#45 rooftop1000

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 05:56 AM

Pilli
All the different mushrooms and berries are beautiful, but I think the average American would be afraid of red mushrooms, or picking mushrooms. At least ones from the suburbs of New Jersey. Around here if you see a mushroom there is something wrong with your lawn. :rolleyes:
Keep going maybe you can convince me to try cooking beets or turnips

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#46 Shelby

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 06:04 AM

Now that it's getting to be mushroom season, do mushrooms figure in Estonian cuisine?
We were posting at the same time - wow, those yogurts look fantastic!  I want all of those flavors, and apple yogurt with apple cake sounds like a dream breakfast to me.  Now the cheese curd bars....that's really...unusual.  I think I need to try one to find out if it's an acquired taste.

View Post


Abra - we're huge mushroom lovers, too, and eat quite a large variety of wild mushrooms, both in their pickled, salted, dried and fresh state. I picked up some kitsemamplid or gypsy mushrooms (Rozites caperata) at the market last weekend, and will show you pictures on my market posting. During July-August we consumed wild chantarelles several times a week.

In 'normal' circumstances we'd go to forage for wild mushrooms coming weekend and share photos with you. However, I've got a work meeting on Saturday and Kristjan is wrapping up a large project at work, too, so his schedule is hectic, and it's unlikely we'll make it to the wilderness. However, I'm happy to introduce you to this lovely Boletus rufus we picked few weeks ago:

Posted Image

and show off this wild mushroom basket picked by yours truly last October :cool: :

Posted Image

(mushroom photos are taken by Kristjan)

The food looks really lovely, I especially like the look of the apple cake. All the images of curds and rye bread is reminding me of the food I say in Lithuania (although the Estonians I spoke to there told me that they thought that the Lithuanian food had more Polish influence).
I'll look forward to seeing the Scottish food also. :smile:

View Post


I guess when you look from further afield, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian cuisines seem pretty similar, but once you're here, you'll notice the subtle differences. Traditional Estonian cuisine is a mixture of Nordic, Russian and German elements, and the Scandinavian influences in Lithuania would be negligent, whereas Polish influences in Estonia are non-existent. By the way, Adam, I loved your Vilnius food images thread!

View Post


OMG that mushroom pick is just gorgeous!!

#47 monavano

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 06:09 AM

All this talk of mushrooms made me remember that I have a package of dried Borowik mushrooms (Polish "king of mushrooms") in my cupboard. I'm going to make my mom some mushroom soup today.
I love farmers markets and enjoyed the pics. Here, apples are pumpkins are everywhere too. We are very big on corn in the summer, as well as tomatoes and peaches. They are the real highlights in August and into September.
I do wish we had sauerkraut barrels, though. :wink:

#48 Kouign Aman

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 06:54 AM

Whew! I finally found my passport and can join the party. Thanks for blogging!

Those red mushrooms are gorgeous (your basket from last fall). what are they?
I love the idea of mushrooming but dont have the nerve. Southern California isnt prime territory because of being so dry, however we do have a variety of the little fungi springing up. My friend's family who are experienced mushroomers in Venezuela came to visit, went mushrooming, and ended up in hospital for the best part of a week (2 of them). That kinda ended any ideas I had of learning to forage from a book.

After seeing your market photos, we'll definitely have to schedule any trip to Estonia for early September. Oh my! :biggrin:
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#49 Peter Green

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 08:16 AM

That basket of wild mushrooms is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

#50 Peter the eater

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 09:55 AM

Cheese curd and chocolate?!? Why didn't I think of that . . . I will be in my "test kitchen" later this week.

Your photos are magnificent - and too I am in awe of the mushroom bounty - foraged no less - by you. Clearly, you have put the fun back in fungus.

Like lots of North Americans I haven't known or heard much about Estonia, although I am 1/8 Estonian as I mentioned before. I do remember hearing about a bronze soldier statue earlier this year, was that Taalinn? I am thrilled to be seeing such a skilled report on a place that's near the top of my "visit before I die" list. And I am compelled to do some more learning about the "old country" for myself and my kids. If they were to ask me about Estonia (2 yr old twins therefore hypothetically) I'd probably say "Baltic State, small Northern European country across from Finland, bullied by Germany and Russia last century".

Since I am also 5/8 Scottish I cannot wait to see your dinner!
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#51 Dasha

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 11:15 AM

What a fabulous blog, Pille! I'm glad I'm eating my lunch right now or I'd be going crazy from your pictures and descriptions.

I spent a semester studying in Moscow in 1992, just as the Soviet Union was breaking up. While I made it as far as Lithuania, I never got to Estonia and now I regret it, especially after seeing the pictures of the wild mushrooms! :smile:

I'm interested in hearing about how food has changed since Estonia became independent. When I was living in Moscow, I was really struck by how there was very little packaged food on the market and what little variety of fresh food was available, except for the wonderful (but overpriced) produce and dairy products available at farmer's markets. There were also very few restaurants back then, and not much ethnic variety, besides the fabulous Georgian restaurants and a few Central Asian places. We were dying for Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese food. All this has changed in Moscow, of course. What was shopping/eating at home/eating in restaurants like during the Soviet years and how has it changed?

Edited by Dasha, 18 September 2007 - 11:19 AM.


#52 Gruzia

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 11:17 AM

i
Kristjan also brought couple of glasuurkohuke alias chocolate-glazed curd cheese bars last night and insisted I blog about them  :raz: :

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Ah! I love those! We get a similar thing from the russian stores in Philly - interestingly enough they were never available when I actually lived in Ukraine, but that was the USSR era, so there ya go! I am assuming farmer's cheese is the same as the russian tvorog?

#53 Dejah

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 11:50 AM

This is another wonderful and informative blog! I am enjoying the read on different kinds of foods, scenery, everything! Thank you. :biggrin:

I will look forward to your dessert with the sea buckthorn berries. These are just starting to be commercially grown on the prairies, I think. I've only heard about their use in "health food" extracts, etc, but never used as dessert.
Dejah
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#54 Pille

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 11:59 AM

I met a friend of mine (called Hille, coincidentally) for a coffee in Old Town (Vanalinn) at 4pm. We went to Chocolats de Pierre, an enchanted little cafe hidden in a courtyard on Vene street. (You can read more about it here and here.) Here's how it looks from outside (this photo is taken last Sunday):
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The old derelict building on the far back is from the 12th century and is being refurbished at the moment..

Unfortunately I forgot to change the camera setting from landscape to 'normal' when I got to the cafe, so all the pictures I took there today were extremely fuzzy :sad: However, I did get some more or less satisfactory snapshots, too. The cafe specialices in chocolates, as its name indicates:

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The interior is very luscious and decadent - dark heavy textured textiles, old lamp shades, etc taking you back to the beginning of last century. Here are some lovely tea glasses:

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I had a cup of coffee and shared a chocolate cake with Hille:

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Not sure where all that garish garnish came from - they've never topped my cake with cocktail cherry there before!? :unsure:

If you're ever in Tallinn, then this is an ideal place to pop for a cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate and a slice of cake, and spend some time reading a good book..

(Vene street 6, in the courtyard)

#55 Pille

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 12:15 PM

After Chocolats de Pierre we headed to a newish place around the corner, called Clazz (I believe it's supposed to mean a Classy Jazz cafe or something like that), with another friend of mine, Liina, joining us. I hadn't been there before, but they were throwing an end-of-summer-party to attract new people, and they served free wine and fingerfood. It's a basement lounge, and they claim to serve 'the classical European kitchen with the fresh Scandinavian touch and strong smooth tastes of raw materials' (a quote from their promotion leaflet). I don't know about that, as we didn't sample their regular menu, but I liked the vibe of the place and will happily go back. Those of you who know Tallinn and the medieval restaurant Olde Hansa will easily find the place - it's exactly opposite Olde Hansa and has actually the same proprietors. (It's open and serving food until 3am, and the address is Vana turg 2).

Tonight they served rolls with salted beef, chicken confit and smoked salmon rolls:

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For dessert, there were small raspberry parfait cones:

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Small shot glasses of caramel & pear panna cotta:

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I managed to pile all desserts onto one plate :rolleyes: :

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I stayed for about an hour and half, and then got a lift home with Kristjan..

#56 Pille

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 12:56 PM

Finally, tonight's dinner. While we were waiting for the main meal to cook, we nibbled on salted mushrooms salad zakuska. I chopped those salted gypsy mushrooms I bought from the market (see above) into small cubes, mixed with finely chopped raw onion and fresh parsley, dressed all with sour cream and seasoned with salt and pepper:

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The salad was spooned on top of thin rye bread slices, and voila! - you've got a delicious little something:

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Here are all the ingredients for our Scottish meal:

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That's haggis, neeps (turnips), tatties (potatoes), onions (not traditional, but I love my haggis with caramelised onion gravy). I was in Scotland in early September for a conference, and brought back a packet of my favourite haggis - MacSween of Edinburgh:

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Many of the haggises I tried over my seven years in Edinburgh were too greasy or too bland. I like this particular one as it's well seasoned and has a nice texture. Haggis comes pre-cooked, so all you need is to heat it through thoroughly. I removed the outer packaging and wrapped it in foil, after which I placed it in the 200C oven for about 45 minutes. Here's a photo of a piping hot and thoroughly cooked haggis, really keen to 'jump out' of its packaging:

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:biggrin:

While haggis was baking, I peeled the potatoes and turnips and cut them into large chunks, after which I boiled them separately in slightly salted water. When ready, I drained the vegetables, added some milk, butter and salt to both and freshly grated nutmeg to turnips and mashed them until smooth. I don't usually 'do' towers in my kitchen, but I liked the way one of my favourite deli-cafes in Edinburgh, Peckhams, serves haggis, so I tried it at home. And it worked :biggrin: :

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The sauce is a simple caramelised onion gravy. I chopped three onions finely and slowly sauteed them in some oil on a heavy frying pan, then I added some demerara sugar and water and Marigold stock powder, later some Marmite for flavour and colour (yep, my secret gravy colouring :unsure: ), and finally thickened the sauce with a bit of flour.

We didn't make any extra dessert, as there's still some apple cake left. So apologies to all of you who were expecting a gorgeous Scottish cranachan to finish off the meal!!!

Now, Suzi was asking about my relationship to Scottish food:

what do you miss most about scots food that you can't get where you are now?

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Well, I do miss a good haggis occasionally, but then I've had it thrice already in Estonia this year - in January for Burns Supper a friend brought back some, and I brought some haggis back from my trips to Scotland in June and in September. Apart from that it's hard to say what I miss. There's no particular Scottish product that I long for, but I do miss the great range of 'ethnic grocery stores' available in Edinburgh.. And those pork sausages from Puddledub Pork & Fifeshire Bacon Co that I used to buy from the Farmers Market :smile:

Edited by Pille, 18 September 2007 - 11:56 PM.


#57 Pille

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 01:19 PM

Pilli
All the different mushrooms and berries are beautiful, but I think the average American would be afraid of red mushrooms, or picking mushrooms. At least ones from the suburbs of New Jersey. Around here if you see a mushroom there is something wrong with your lawn.    :rolleyes:
Keep going maybe you can convince me to try cooking beets or turnips
tracey

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I'd probably think there's something wrong with my lawn when it'd be mushrooming, too, Tracey :biggrin: Forageing for mushrooms is a hard job - you need to be properly dressed to keep you safe from elements (wind, rain, ticks, snakes, mosquitos etc), and you need to know all those secret mushroom-rich hidden forests... We drive 80 km to the countryside to find our mushrooms :wink:

OMG that mushroom pick is just gorgeous!!

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Thank you, Shelby!

All this talk of mushrooms made me remember that I have a package of dried Borowik mushrooms (Polish "king of mushrooms") in my cupboard. I'm going to make my mom some mushroom soup today.
I love farmers markets and enjoyed the pics. Here, apples are pumpkins are everywhere too. We are very big on corn in the summer, as well as tomatoes and peaches. They are the real highlights in August and into September.
I do wish we had sauerkraut barrels, though. :wink:

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I suspect Borowik is a Polish name for porcini/cep mushrooms, Monovano, no? Wonderful! I'm sure you'll make a great soup with them (and you've just reminded that we bought a packet of dried porcini on our skiing trip in Italy in February. Need to look that up soon!).
We don't get corn here in Estonia. Or rather, I've seen husks at the market, but as I know they have travelled a very long distance and that corn is best soon after harvesting, I've ignored them more or less..

Whew! I finally found my passport and can join the party. Thanks for blogging!
Those red mushrooms are gorgeous (your basket from last fall). what are they?
I love the idea of mushrooming but dont have the nerve. Southern California isnt prime territory because of being so dry, however we do have a variety of the little fungi springing up. My friend's family who are experienced mushroomers in Venezuela came to visit, went mushrooming, and ended up in hospital for the best part of a week (2 of them). That kinda ended any ideas I had of learning to forage from a book.
After seeing your market photos, we'll definitely have to schedule any trip to Estonia for early September. Oh my! :biggrin:

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Welcome, Michelle! First of all, let me tell you that I'm sorry to hear about your Venezuelan friends :unsure: - hope they recovered from their hospitalisation quickly!
The red mushrooms in the basket are of the Russula family. They're great, as they have a nice somewhat 'crispy' texture that makes them ideal for mushroom salads (I hate mushy mushroom salads!). Some of them can be cooked straight away, some have to be blanched for 20-30 minutes, maybe changing water twice. If you're unsure, leave them on the ground :smile:

That basket of wild mushrooms is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

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Aitäh, Peter! :rolleyes:

Cheese curd and chocolate?!? Why didn't I think of that . . . I will be in my "test kitchen" later this week.
Your photos are magnificent - and too I am in awe of the mushroom bounty - foraged no less - by you. Clearly, you have put the fun back in fungus.
Like lots of North Americans I haven't known or heard much about Estonia, although I am 1/8 Estonian as I mentioned before. I do remember hearing about a bronze soldier statue earlier this year, was that Taalinn? I am thrilled to be seeing such a skilled report on a place that's near the top of my "visit before I die" list. And I am compelled to do some more learning about the "old country" for myself and my kids. If they were to ask me about Estonia (2 yr old twins therefore hypothetically) I'd probably say "Baltic State, small Northern European country across from Finland, bullied by Germany and Russia last century".
Since I am also 5/8 Scottish I cannot wait to see your dinner!

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Well, I've posted my Scottish dinner photos now. And yes, the riots triggered by the relocation of a Bronze Soldier monument from the town centre to a military cemetery in the city did take place in Tallinn (however, Snowangel has warned me strictly not to discuss politics, so I won't :cool: ) Hope you, Peter - and your twins! - will have a chance to visit Tallinn & the rest of Estonia before, well, too long :wink:

Ah! I love those!  We get a similar thing from the russian stores in Philly - interestingly enough they were never available when I actually lived in Ukraine, but that was the USSR era, so there ya go!  I am assuming farmer's cheese is the same as the russian tvorog?

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Have you checked where these are from, Gruzia? Might be from Estonia or Latvia - it'd be fun to know :rolleyes:

This is another wonderful and informative blog! I am enjoying the read on different kinds of foods, scenery, everything! Thank you. :biggrin:
I will look forward to your dessert with the sea buckthorn berries. These are just starting to be commercially grown on the prairies, I think. I've only heard about their use in "health food" extracts, etc, but never used as dessert.

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Hi Dejah! I made a sea buckthorn cheesecake last Christmas (thrice, actually, as it was so nice), so I might be making that - or something totally different. We'll see..

Edited by Pille, 18 September 2007 - 01:36 PM.


#58 Kouign Aman

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 01:24 PM

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Extremely interesting lighting in this photograph. Beautiful.
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#59 lucylou95816

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 07:48 PM

Pille

I am anxious to learn more about your country, because unlike Sandy, I didn't pay attention too much in school. :raz: Your pictures are absolutely lovely! Thanks for sharing your week.

#60 Pille

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 10:43 PM

Good morning! It's wet and windy outside, so I opted for a heavy and filling breakfast that would keep me warm :biggrin: Having open sandwiches for breakfast is typical in Estonia, too, and that's exactly what I had today:

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A cup of black coffee, a large bowl of baked apple yogurt with some home-grown Alpine strawberries, a small bowl of home-grown tiny sweet cherry tomatoes (we've got a cherry tomato and alpine strawberry containers on the windowsill, and they're growing well. Until a fortnight ago they were outside, but as there's danger of night frost already, we moved them inside), and three sandwiches. The large oval one on the left is a shop-bought rye bread slice with Eesti juust or 'Estonian cheese', the other two slices are 100% rye bread I baked last night :rolleyes: - one topped with beef, the other with Vene juust alias 'Russian cheese'.

Here are few pictures of the cheese I used:

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Top row is 'Estonian cheese' which has been made locally since 1959. The recipe and technology were developed in a small town called Vändra, and it's a young cheese- ripened only for a month. A 1978 book on cheese (called 'Juust') claims that the cheese can be ripened so quickly because they use a special activated cheese starter culture that is unique to Estonian cheese making tradition. I don't know if that's true or still holds :biggrin: The cheese comes in cylinder shape and weighs 2-3 kg. Fat content is 45% in dry matter and 25.2% in the ready-made cheese.

The bottom row is 'Russian cheese' that was first made in a Russian town Uglich, and has been made locally since the Soviet time. It has a mildly sour taste, and a 'lacy' texture, which you can see on the cut slice. It feels quite fragile, if you can say that about cheese :unsure: The cheese's fat content is 50% and 28.5% respectively.

Edited by Pille, 19 September 2007 - 01:39 AM.






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