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Chufi

Estonian Food: cloudberries and curd cheese

64 posts in this topic

I think it's wonderful that eGers are getting together like this. How did you first break the ice and ask Pille and Verjuice if you could come visit? Are you staying with them or do you have a hotel?

breaking the ice is really not that hard.. for instance if you were visiting Amsterdam, you could send me a PM and ask me if I wanted to meet for a drink or dinner.. It's easy!

We stayed in a hotel in Tallinn, and to answer your question Shelby, I have no picture of the room.. we stayed at Hotel Shnelli which was, for me, an excellent choice.. really cheap, sparse and efficient, clean, no frills, very close to Old Town.

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Another day, another walk in the snow. I'm posting this picture to show you how riduculously bundled up I was.. In Amsterdam, I NEVER wear a hat and I'm never cold.. But Estonia in January really requires multiple layers of clothing, warm socks, and lots of scarves!

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we walked all the way to Kadriorg park, where the KUMU art museum is located. Fortunately, before you reach the museum, you pass this beautiful little cafe: Park Cafe

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so you can have coffee and pastries before immersing yourself in Estonian art.

Excellent pastries! I had a nut and cinnamon version, Dennis an apricot one. I also bought a curd cheese pastry to bring back to Nouf who had stayed back at the hotel to get some work done.

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Thank you both for sharing your photos and stories. The photo of the potato gratin made me want to jump up from the computer and start making one!


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Apologies for things being slightly out of order on my end. 'Keeping Up with Klary' is an aspiration, not a sitcom.

Klary and Pille go in search of chocolate:

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At Chocolats de Pierre after our Russian lunch, I did eat one of these:

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And one of these, too. Someone had eaten too many pelmeni to make much of a dent in dessert, and that someone wasn't me.

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I saw these jellies at the market (Stockmann). They intrigued me so of course I had to have them. The Finnish brand Fazer produces two lines of fruit gels; these are the less common ones, in an irresistibly weird kelly-green box that betrays nary a hint of its contents' contents.

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Imagine my delight when I tasted one and saw the insert stating that they are pear-flavored. I can totally imagine Roald Dahl eating these as a boy on summer holiday in Finland. They were good in a funky banana sort of way.

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There was also licorice, including a 'Perry' Panda bar, also Finnish and tasting of "pear".

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I also bought a handful of chocolate-covered curd cheese bars and Klary and I tasted them on the way home. Well, okay, she saved hers like a good blogger while I sampled everything.

I didn't like the caramel ones, which I had guessed would be covered with chocolate and filled with curd cheese and a layer of caramel, like the ones with jam or whatever. Instead, these were just plain curd cheese with a butterscotch candy coating in place of chocolate.

The plain chocolate ones were pretty good. No pic as it was dark and we were walking.


Edited by Verjuice (log)

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...

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We had dinner at Ö on Tuesday night. Their mission statement:

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Note that they don't use foes grass. In case you worry about that sort of thing.

The space:

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Semi-open kitchen:

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Menu of signature drinks:

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To start, I had the gooseberry bellini and Klary had the sea buckthorn mimosa. After that, I tried the Põltsamaa martini made with Estonia apple wine from Põltsamaa (Jõgeva County). With dinner, I had yet another cocktail while Klary had a glass of Montepulciano. I wasn't in the mood for wine, but my 'Apple Fresh' was really light; sparkling water and sparkling cider with fresh apple and cinnamon.

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We were served butter. On the rocks with salt.

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And were given a choice of breads ("May I have one of each, please?"). Walnut, sour rye with lingonberries an caraway, and dark rye crisps:

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I won't post near-duplicate photos of our food, but here is the pic of my steamed powan with cream cheese tortellini and crayfish bouillon:

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My dinner date:

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...

The day I had to stay in and work, Klary brought me not one but TWO pastries from Park Cafe. I ate both in about fourteen seconds. The first contained curd cheese:

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The second had spices, brown sugar and black aronia berries:

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And yes, I did eat them off a notebook. What, you wanted porcelain? I travel light.


Edited by Verjuice (log)

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steamed powan with cream cheese tortellini and crayfish bouillon

That does it!

I have to find my skates so I can cross the Atlantic, get across the North Sea and over to you guys, for that, and all the other Estonian dishes, pastry and chocolate. Save me a seat: I'll be there by... um, morning.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I'll just add to the chorus of those who now feel a need to visit Estonia. We'll be sure to bring our woollies.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I loved this travelblog. One of my obsessions is lesser-known cuisines and now I am proud to say I have some vague idea of What They Eat in Estonia. The pastries look scrumptious. Was it incredibly cold? It sure looks that way.

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WTH is a wild dogberry shot?! Verjuice - I expect more from you - how could you pass up a drink with that name?!

These Estonians - they are hearty people (actually we haven't seen any Estonians have we - so Verjuice and Chufi are the pastry hounds! :rolleyes: )

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Is Estonian cuisine similar to Finnish and Baltic?

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WTH is a wild dogberry shot?!  Verjuice - I expect more from you - how could you pass up a drink with that name?!

These Estonians - they are hearty people (actually we haven't seen any Estonians have we - so Verjuice and Chufi are the pastry hounds!  :rolleyes: )

You underestimate me, Rob.

Of course I had the other two cocktails... two nights later.

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Is Estonian cuisine similar to Finnish and Baltic?

Similar. Dark, sour rye bread, smoked and cured meats and fish, various berries... and then you have sea buckthorn, curd cheese and kama... I'm sure Klary will have a thing or two to say about kama.

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I loved this travelblog. One of my obsessions is lesser-known cuisines and now I am proud to say I have some vague idea of What They Eat in Estonia. The pastries look scrumptious. Was it incredibly cold? It sure looks that way.

It wasn't as cold as we'd expected. That said, I wore four pairs of socks every day and griped about frozen toes, while Klary usually had to pause for a few moments after we'd begun walking in order to tear off her leg warmers. So I guess it depends on how tolerant you are... :biggrin:

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steamed powan with cream cheese tortellini and crayfish bouillon

That does it!

I have to find my skates so I can cross the Atlantic, get across the North Sea and over to you guys, for that, and all the other Estonian dishes, pastry and chocolate. Save me a seat: I'll be there by... um, morning.

Well, I'm in Transylvania now and K is in Amsterdam, so make sure you stop and say hi to us on your way to Estonia! :laugh:

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That evening brought us back to Ö, this time with Dennis, and this time we went all the way with the tasting menu.

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Here´s the wild dogberry shoot mentioned above. Nouf ordered it, didn´t like it, and gave it to me.

Did I mention she´s a great travel companion?

We started with the same amuse of beetroot consomme and Baltic herring. Then we moved on to what the tasting menu had to offer us.

Jerusalem artichoke cappucino soup

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Apple wine poached eel with herb emulsion and cucumber

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Wild goat tartar with fresh horseradish and pickled mushrooms

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The fish course and meat course on the tasting menu were the courses Nouf and I had already tasted 2 days earlier, so we asked for substitutions for those.

Here´s the fish we got. I´m sorry to say I don´t remember much about it, and it´s no longer on their online menu. Nouf, help???? I think it was pike, on a pumpkin puree, with lightly pickled cabbage...

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Venison with onion marmalade tartlet and celeriac pure with blueberry sauce

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Oh this was so good. The green stuff in the background were soy beans. In the little tartlet were 2 types of onion marmalade, one of onion marinated in sea buckthorn, one of onion marinated in red wine.

We also ordered another intriguing dish: Rabbit with pear strudel and savoy cabbage

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Cheese course: Delicate goat cheese with cloudberry jam

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dessert: Blueberry cheesecake with vanilla ice cream and hazelnuts

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The cheesecake was amazing, with a beautiful gingersnappy crust. It was served with some sort of apple foam and vanilla ice cream.

An extra dessert we ordered, Curd cheese brulée with wild strawberry sorbet

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This was a really good dinner, and at 990 EEK (63 EUR) I thought it was really good value.

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Another day, another walk, another pastry.

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The Cafe Bonaparte

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Chocolate cherry cake.

When digging into it, it revealed a smooth layer of the omnipresent Estonian curd cheese. it worked really well - the tangy curd cheese and the soft sweet chocolate.

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steamed powan with cream cheese tortellini and crayfish bouillon

That does it!

I have to find my skates so I can cross the Atlantic, get across the North Sea and over to you guys, for that, and all the other Estonian dishes, pastry and chocolate. Save me a seat: I'll be there by... um, morning.

Well, I'm in Transylvania now and K is in Amsterdam, so make sure you stop and say hi to us on your way to Estonia! :laugh:

Care to share any impressions of Romania? May I ask where you are traveling--and what you are eating? Have you had any tuica yet? :biggrin:

(I hope this is not too off-topic!)

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Based solely on your pictures it appears that the pastries are very crudely finished - by that I only mean the presentation. They all have rough edges, thick chocolate, etc. Not sure if there is a question here but I'm finding it interesting. Are there more refined pastries that you're just not ordering?

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Well, I'm in Transylvania now and K is in Amsterdam, so make sure you stop and say hi to us on your way to Estonia!  :laugh:

Transylvania! Langos from a street cart would be my favourite memory from there. The restaurant food. . . not so much.

I'm terribly jealous of both Verjuice and Chufi. They get to travel with each other! That's just as good as the Chufi/Abra/Lucy combination!

More food, please. I think everyone wants to go to Estonia now (though I really wanted to go after Pille did her food blog), but isn't Pille moving to the US soon? If so, people had better go fast! Where else would we get our insider foodie-info from?

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That night we first set out on another cocktail quest. Nouf had read about a cocktail bar located above a gay bar called Angel, in an alley called Sauna. We found a bar in Sauna alright, but when we perused the cocktail menu Nouf kept muttering "I can't find that cocktail everyone was raving about" and in the edn we found out we had ended up in the wrong bar. We weren't too happy with our drinks and left after a while to get to our dinner at Bocca

Bocca is an Italian restaurant under the same general ownership as Ö, so our expectations were high. The decor is beautiful, serveice very friendly and halpful. When Dennis and I had orderedn a glass of red wine, the waiter cam by after 5 minutes (when we had already taken a couple of sips) and poured us another glass of the same wine from a different bottle, and said that he apologized, he had realized the first glass was not good (possibly been open too long?) and that we deserved another glass. Since we had not complained at all I thought this a nice touch (and the second glass did, indeed, taste better.)

However, the food was a bit disapppointing. Maybe I had had my mind set for true Italian food, which this really wasn't: I would call it European food, with Italian influences. Our pastas were all swimming in pools of very heavy, creamy sauce, and the mains were very complicated with lots of things going on on the plate and again, a LOT of sauce. There were some great ingredients (wilde dove, wild duck, lamb sweetbreads, a whole grilled seabream) but instead of letting them speak, they were drowned in sauces that were (to my taste) too heavy.

Anyway, here's what we had:

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Despite the fact that there was too much rich creamy sauce, this was a really good dish and my favorite of the evening: raviolo with rabbit, in a mushroom walnut sauce.

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This was on the menu as "Gratinated goat cheese with cognac and acacia flavoured red onion", which made it sound much more intriguing and delicious than it was.

Dennis had a salad with fried sweetbreads that I seem to have no picture of.

Nouf had another starter, ravioli with smoked salmon:

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mains:

Wild duck breast with savoy cabbage stuffed with foie gras and goat cheese in a Nebbiolo wine sauce

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The meat was delcious and very well cooked, but the cabbage parcel with goats cheese and foie gras was just wrong. The strong tangy cheese completely overwhelmed the foie gras.

Dennis had "Oven roasted wild dove, potatoes topped with Gorgonzola and vegetables in a black truffle sauce" and Nouf "Grilled royal seabream with red chilli in mushroom sauce"... no pics.

Dessert: tiramisu

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We spent the next morning at the Open Air museum located just east of Tallinn, and came back to Old Town cold and hungry. As we were looking for the restaurant we wanted to go to for lunch, we passed this place:

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I was kind of sorry we did not have another day to go here for lunch or dinner, because it would have been interesting how the supposedly real Italian food would have compared to Bocca's.

Anyway, we went to a place called AED. I can't seem to find the address right now, maybe Nouf can help here. It's a (mostly) organic restaurant that serves lunch and dinner, with a very elegant atmosphere. Speaking of that, on the whole I was very impressed with the way even small, unpretentious places are decorated. There is beautiful glass ware and table ware everywhere, white table cloths, even in paces where you'll only go for a cup of soup or a salad. There seems to a great attention to detail, and a great deal of care about the little things, which made dining out a very agreeabel experience.

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Lovely dark sour rye bread

A salad with wild pigeon and my beloved seabuckthorn, in the form of a sorbet that served as a kind of dressing for the salad.

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I also had a salad with something called 'milk caps sauteed in butter' (mushrooms), don't you just have to order that?

Seabuckthorn creme brulee, that no one liked but me, ah well, that meant I could eat it all :smile:

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Edited by Chufi (log)

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So when is Nouf going to share her, mmm...evocative description of what cloudberries taste like?

ETA: explicitness.

Okay, I said it, and I'll say it again. To me, cloudberries taste like the smell of chamisa, or like a kindergarten classroom full of sniffly, coughing kids; a funky smell like sweet little animal kisses.

From the Wikipediaentry for cloudberries:

When eaten fresh, cloudberries have a distinctive tart taste. When over-ripe, they have a creamy texture and flavor somewhat like yogurt.

They're very creamy. I don't get yogurt, but I do get fermented. Definitely an acquired taste, but I was very grateful and touched by Pille's generosity when sharing her supply of these notoriously elusive delicacies. What a privilege.

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