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Chufi

Estonian Food: cloudberries and curd cheese

64 posts in this topic

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:

For those of you who are not familiar with chamisa, check out this article from the NY Times Chamisa Chrysothamnus nauseosus!


KathyM

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There are cloudberry liqueurs as well (Google). That funky flavor Verjuice described sounds interesting.

I first heard about cloudberries at the liquor store. A woman asked about the liqueur; she saw it on TV and said the program said that cloudberries only grew at the high altitude of the Himalayas. Haha.

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Well, I must be immune to funky then, because I loved the cloudberries!

Full report about dinner at Pille´s house coming up..

oh and btw, Pille has informed me she has limited internet access for a couple of days, but she will join in when she has the opportunity.

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After a very entertaining, and slightly scary, cab ride (with a Russian cabdriver who did not speak a word of English, kept muttering to himself in Estonian and Russian, who could not find Pille´s address so I had to call Pille twice just so she could coach him through the drive to the Tallinn suburb where she lives...) we arrived at the lovely home of the Queen of Estonian foodblogging, Pille!

Pille had promised us a rustic, truly Estonian dinner and she did not disappoint.. we started with a plate of 3 different kinds of cured pork:

gallery_21505_6434_245662.jpg

accompanied by pickled mushrooms (home made, from what I guess will have been hand picked mushrooms, by a family member)

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and pickled sea buckthorn :wub:

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After a week in Estonia, I have had sea buckthorn juice, cocktails, sorbet, creme brulee, pickled sea buckthorn, and I brought home some sea buckthorn marmelade. I am officially in love with sea buckthorn. It´s funny because both Nouf and Dennis commented that it tasted a bit like mango, which I don´t like at all.. but the sea buckthorn has an added tartness which makes it really interesting and (to me!) delicious.

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There was also rye bread with a paté of cod liver, onions and eggs (there´s a recipe for that here on Pille´s blog) and a delicious sweet Estonian apple wine.

And then there was this:

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It´s called Mulgi kapsad, and it´s an Estonian dish of sauerkraut, barley and pork, simmered together for hours. You end up with a rich, sweet, ribsticking kind of dish that is just perfect comfort food on a snowy winter night.

On the plate with sült (head cheese) and Pille´s caraway potatoes:

gallery_21505_6434_174901.jpg

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And then there was dessert.

I had requested a dessert with kama, because I am researching an article about this typical Estonian product (see Wiki for a very brief description of this product, and see Pille´s blog entries here, here and here for more info).

I had never tasted this stuff before but I expected I would love it, and I did! It has a very distinct, slightly nutty, roasted flavor that matches really well with creamy dairy products. Pille made kama mousse (kama mixed with whipped cream) and served it with her wild strawberry refrigerator jam (a special jam that´s made by mixing raw wild strawberries with sugar, because these berries can´t be cooked (or frozen)).

Here´s what happens when you have a gathering of bloggers:

gallery_21505_6434_209461.jpg

Kama mousse:

gallery_21505_6434_244560.jpg

Pille also brought a jar of cloudberries in syrup to the table, which were accompanied by glasses of cloudberry liqeur:

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The berries have a very interesting, creamy texture and a flavor unlike any berry I´ve ever eaten. As I said, I loved them and I think I must head to my local Ikea and see if they stock cloudberry jam there...

Thanks again, Pille and Kristjan for taking such good care of us and introducing us to Estonian foods we never could have found in restaurants. It was also a really nice experience to be in a home again, and eat a home cooked meal after almost a week of dining out!

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And then there was dessert.

I had requested a dessert with kama, because I am researching an article about this typical Estonian product (see Wiki for a very brief description of this product, and see Pille´s blog entries here, here and here for more info).

I had never tasted this stuff before but I expected I would love it, and I did! It has a very distinct, slightly nutty, roasted flavor that matches really well with creamy dairy products. Pille made kama mousse (kama mixed with whipped cream) and served it with her wild strawberry refrigerator jam (a special jam that´s made by mixing raw wild strawberries with sugar, because these berries can´t be cooked (or frozen)).

Here´s what happens when you have a gathering of bloggers:

gallery_21505_6434_209461.jpg

Kama mousse:

gallery_21505_6434_244560.jpg

Pille also brought a jar of cloudberries in syrup to the table, which were accompanied by glasses of cloudberry liqeur:

gallery_21505_6434_99410.jpg

gallery_21505_6434_322255.jpg

The berries have a very interesting, creamy texture and a flavor unlike any berry I´ve ever eaten. As I said, I loved them and I think I must head to my local Ikea and see if they stock cloudberry jam there...

Thanks again, Pille and Kristjan for taking such good care of us and introducing us to Estonian foods we never could have found in restaurants. It was also a really nice experience to be in a home again, and eat a home cooked meal after almost a week of dining out!

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The next day we had time for a final walk around town, some shopping and browsing. This is the Bestseller Cafe, located next to the bookstore in one the main department stores. Again the beautiful table ware and the attention to detail struck me. In a place like this in Amsterdam, no way they would serve you your juice in a glass like that.. (btw, this is sea buckthorn juice...)

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On the way back to the hotel we passed Hesburger, a Finnish fast food restaurant. We did not try any of their food but I though the concept of a minimega burger was pretty funny!

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After arrving in Amsterdam airport at exactly 7:45 pm, we collected out bags, rushed home, left our suitcases, and walked to Pizzeria Yam Yam which is only a couple of blocks from our house. WE sat down at our table at 9 pm sharp! We all had their famous mascarpone/ham/truffle pizza, which has been my favorite for years.. and even though Dennis and I agree that is´s not as good as it used to be, it was still a great and very satisfying dinner.

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You can´t go out to dinner with Nouf and not order dessert..

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The next day was Nouf´s final day in Amsterdam. It was a gorgeous sunny day and I took her to a couple of my favorite places and made her eat a couple of my favorite foods.

We started at the Vondelpark and had coffee at Het Blauwe Theehuis, mentioned with fondness in all my eGullet blogs. Then we went to my favorite market, where Nouf had a broodje haring..

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a broodje paling..

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a gevulde koek that she did not take a picture of,

friet

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and a coffee-caramel stroopwafel

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(all pics by Nouf).


Edited by Chufi (log)

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That night, Mr and Mrs markemorse had invited us over for a taste of something Nouf had never had before: Surinamese pom. (see here and here for more pom info and Mark´s recipe)

broodje pom, served with pitjel (vegetables with peanut sauce) and pickles and hot sauce

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I made kama mousse with blackberry puree for dessert.

And that brings us to the end of a week of food, fun and friendship. We had a fabulous time and I can only say that I hope this isn´t the last of our travels together...

A special thanks to Dennis, who was patient and kind enough to listen to many a food related conversation, and who took this picture:

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I hope that when Nouf and Pille emerge from their various internet predicaments, they will add some comments/pictures. For now, from me, thanks for reading!


Edited by Chufi (log)

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This has been so fun!!!!!  Now, I'm on a mission to see if I can order cloudberry ANYTHING.  Thank you SO much for sharing all of this.

not available online, but if you have an IKEA near you:

cloudberry jam

oops, that´s British IKEA, but I assume US IKEA will have it too?

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This topic is exactly one of those things that makes eGullet so unique and interesting -- thanks to you all for making it happen.

I told Pille in her 2007 eG foodblog:

(one of) my great grandfather(s) came from Kihelkonna, Estonia (250 km SW of Tallinn) to Canada before WWI. I have one photo of him but know very little except his grandfather Peeter Vonalderslaven apparently has a statue in the town square.

Now I have an even better idea what to expect when I eventually get there.

(edited to add: maybe that guy was known as Peeter the eeater)


Edited by Peter the eater (log)

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

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