The most important tip I can give you on Estonia local food, and the only one that will make you elevate from being a tourist to becoming a real traveler immersed in the local culture, is “Stay away from McDonalds“. When visiting Estonia, there is awesome local food to try. Head to the local eateries too, and go where the locals go. For me, the food, wine and and even the water is part of the travel experience.
What to Eat in Estonia
Estonian food draws heavily from German and Scandinavian cuisine. The closest thing to a national dish is verivorst, black pudding, served with mulgikapsad, which is basically sauerkraut stew. Many types of food are close to Russian and have their equivalents almost exclusively in the former USSR, such as sour cream hapukoor, smetana in Russian, a sour 20%-fat milk dressing for salads, especially “kartulisalat” or “potato salad”, which isn’t that rare anywhere else either, really.
As Estonia used to be a food mass-production powerhouse in the times of the USSR, some of its foods, unknown to Westerners, are still well-recognized in the lands of the CIS. Among other everyday food, some game products are offered in food stores in Estonia, mostly wild boar, elk sausages and deer grill. Some restaurants also offer bear meat. For those with a sweet tooth, the national chocolate manufacturer is “Kalev”, with many specialist stores around the country as well as supermarkets retailing the product. The more adventurous may want to try “kohuke”, a flavoured milk-curd sweet covered with chocolate and available at every supermarket.
What to Drink in Estonia
Like their neighbours the Finns and the Russians, the Estonians know their alcohol. Favorite tipples include the local beer Saku or A. Le Coq , the local vodka Viru Valge (Vironian White) and the surprisingly smooth and tasty rum-like herbal liquor Vana Tallinn (Old Tallinn) , famous in the countries of former USSR. A local soft drink is “Kali” (the Estonian equivalent of “kvass”), made from fermented brown bread. It can be described as an acquired taste. Many locals also swear by “keefir”, a fermented milk concoction.
Other local foods, or drinks that you recommend? Please add and comment.