Estonia is a beautiful country with a deep history, and that history has created a delicious breed of cuisine. Estonian foods is as diverse and beautiful as the sea that surrounds it. Here you find unique dishes influenced by the coastal landscape, and the strong people that live there.
Foods in Estonia bear the mark of its history as part of the Soviet Union, but also take influence from its other neighboring countries, and its lush forested terrain.
The food of Estonia is really simply put, beautiful comforting dishes. Their cuisine focuses on satisfying and hearty foods that you are sure to delight in!
What Is Special About Estonian Foods?
Estonia has so much beautiful coast and diverse terrain, it’s no wonder the food in Estonia should be so hearty and interesting. In Estonia, you will find rich foods that remind you of the farm, in a warm and grateful way.
Estonian cuisine utilizes a lot of rich meats, hearty grains, and full flavors. Herring and other fish are also prominent features of their food. This castle-studded country is a meat eater’s fairy tale!
While meat and grains may be an Estonia staple, their cuisine has plenty for your sweet tooth! Estonian foods use a lot of sweet flavors, even in their savory dishes. There are so many baked treasures to discover in Estonia.
Estonia has long cold winters, so a lot of the foods that you’ll find in the capital city of Tallinn, are designed to keep you warm and bring you cheer through the cold. Estonian food is all about simple comforts and local ingredients.
Most Famous Food Of Estonia
Verivorst (Estonian Blood Sausage)
Possibly the most famous of all Estonian foods is the verivorst. This sausage is a holiday staple, and even makes up half of the national dish. Verivorst is pork and blood sausage made with rich spices and barley. It is often served atop another Estonian favorite mulgipuder.
This dish is so beloved in Estonia because it embodies the country’s cuisine so perfectly. It has pork, barley, and spices that are sure to warm you and fill you with gratitude for this rich culinary tradition.
It is the perfect holiday dish, and you will see verivorst in just about every house in Estonia around Christmastime.
Traditional Foods In Estonia
Leib (Black Bread or Rye)
Rye bread is a cornerstone of Estonian culture. Foods in Estonia focus heavily on rich grains because they grow so abundantly there. Estonian bakers have been crafting the perfect rye bread for literal centuries, and their hard work has certainly paid off.
Estonian black bread is backed with rye, carraway, and oat flavors. This staple of Estonian food is used in sandwiches, soups, topped with local cheeses, or other local treats like sprat. Rye really is baked into Estonian culture.
Kringle (Braided Loaf)
The delicious Kringle is a traditional food of Estonia, and it is sure to win you over. It is a braided bread traditionally layered with a sweet filling, like cinnamon sugar. This gorgeous bread has been reinvented by many Estonian chefs over the years. Today you can find Kringles with a wide variety of fillings, including some savory.
Sprat (Estonian Fish)
Sprat is a small schooling fish that lives in abundance in the Baltic Sea. These tiny fish are a classic Estonian food. The sprat’s flavor profile is similar to that of herring or sardines. These little fish are typically smoked and then canned in oil, giving them a smoky and fatty fish flavor.
There are so many ways to enjoy these tasty little fish, like on some local rye bread or incorporated into a tasty beet salad. Sprats are the perfect way to celebrate the bounty of the Baltic Coast.
Breakfast Foods In Estonia
Kama (Grain Porridge)
Kama is a porridge or oatmeal-like Estonian dish. It is made from toasted flour, typically rye and/or barley that is mixed with a dairy, like sour cream or keifer. This delicious porridge is warm, toasty, and creamy on its own, but when topped with fruit it is outstanding.
Eating like an Estonian means plenty of hearty grains, so there is no better way to start an Estonian day than with Kama.
Side Dishes and Snack Foods in Estonia
Sült/Aspic (Meat Jelly)
This is a traditional Estonian food consisting of a jelly made from various types of meat. It is a great dish because it utilizes a lot of underused parts of the animal. A typically Estonian meat jelly may have a mixture of meats rendered for hours and then cooled into a chunky meat jelly.
This rich savory dish is great for eating on rye bread or with fresh Estonian cheeses.
Rosolje (Estonian Beet and Potato Salad)
Every country puts its own spin on potato salad, and this is Estonia’s take. Rosolje is a complex and interesting cold salad, similar to a potato salad, but with more sweetness thanks to the beets.
This bright and delicious food in Estonia consists of cooked beets and potatoes tossed with herring in a creamy dressing, garnished with hard-boiled eggs. Thanks to the beautiful beets, rosolje is as bright in color as it is tasty!
Pirukas (Savory Hand Pies)
Around the world, chefs make handheld pies. It is an accessible and appetizing way to showcase their country’s cuisine. Estonia of course has its version, the Piruka.
Pirukas have a crispy pastry crust with amazing savory fillings, like cabbage, pork, and eggs. The fillings usually focus on simple locally available meats and vegetables. This yummy food of Estonia is perfect to enjoy as you walk the streets of Tallinn.
Mulgipuder (Mashed Potatoes and Barley)
Mulgipuder is fused with Estonian culture. It is the other half of the national dish of verivorst and mulgipuder, and an absolute mainstay of Estonian cuisine.
This hearty side dish is made up of mashed potatoes and barley. The grains and potatoes are boiled and mashed together to make a satisfying and flavorful dish that pairs well with salty meats or roasted vegetables.
Sõir (Soft Estonian Cheese)
Estonia has a rich cheesemaking tradition. A wonderful Estonian cheese is Sõir. It is a soft whole milk cheese made with cottage cheese and the flavors of caraway seeds.
This mouthwatering soft cheese is great for crackers or rye bread. Sõir pairs beautifully with potatoes for a decadent cheesy side dish. An absolute Estonian delicacy for the cheese lover.
Hakklihakotlet (Meat Patties)
The delicious Estonian appetizer of Hakklihakotlet consists of three simple but mouthwatering meat patties. The patties are made like meatballs with eggs as binders and breadcrumbs for texture, but the special meat blend is what makes these meat patties unmissable.
Hakklihakotlet calls for ground veal, pork, and beef creating a well-rounded meaty flavor. This dish celebrates what is so great about Estonian cuisine – simple foods made really well!
FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD
Dinner Foods In Estonia
Kiluvõileib (Open-Faced Sprat Sandwich)
This satisfying sandwich has many of Estonia’s signature flavors. Kiluvõileib is an open-faced sandwich on rye bread with marinated sprat and a spread made from butter and eggs. The sandwich is finished with herbs and green onions. One bite of this rich and salty food in Estonia and you will fall in love with simple Baltic flavors!
Leivasupp (Estonian Bread Soup)
This is a uniquely Estonian take on a dish that exists in many cultures, bread soup. The Estonian version of this soup naturally features rye bread, but that is not what makes this Estonian food so different.
Leivasupp uses a broth that has sweet flavors like cinnamon, fruits, and raisins. All these fun sweet flavors pair so well with the rye bread, that this different-sounding soup is actually quite delicious!
Mulgikapsad (Pork with Sauerkraut and Barley)
Barley and pork are true Estonian staple foods, so a dish celebrating them both is the perfect embodiment of Estonian cuisine.
Mulgikapsad is a blend of pork, barley, and sauerkraut. With salt from the pork, sourness from the kraut, and sweetness from the barley this dish really has it all! The combination of diverse flavors makes this Estonian dish a popular choice.
Dessert Foods In Estonia
Küpsetatud Õunad (Baked Apples)
This amazing baked dish is a jewel in the crown of Estonian foods. Küpsetatud Õunad is a beautiful dish of baked apples. Warm spices round out this bright and comforting fruit dish. This dish is a visual delight as well, the apples look so appetizing when baked!
Mouthwatering and rich baked apples pair well with ice cream or sweet cheeses. Great as a snack of dessert in Estonia.
Kohuke (Chocolate Covered Curds)
Some people may be put off by this snack, but it really is delicious! Kohuke is a tasty sweet made up of chocolate-covered curds. Dairy is so important to Estonian cuisine, it’s no wonder that one of their favorite desserts is made from curds!
Although this delicacy may sound strange to some, the curd used in kohuke is sweetened and goes perfectly with the chocolate coating. Some foods just have to be tasted to be believed, and kohuke is definitely one!
Kirju Koer (“Spotted Dog”)
One of the most confusing dishes in Estonian cuisine may be the Kirju Koer or “spotted dog.” Don’t let the name fool you, though, this dish is actually a delightfully sweet dessert! This great treat takes its funny name from its colorful appearance.
Kirju Koer consists of crushed bits of fruit, chocolate, and cookies all rolled together into a log using butter and cocoa then set up in the refrigerator. The resulting dessert has a speckled look that earned this dish the somewhat goofy name of “spotted dog.”
Vastlakukkel/Semla (Estonian Cream Puff)
There are so many sweet things to love about the foods of Estonia. This country has truly mastered the art of simple and beautiful baked goods! One sweet treat that the Estonians have perfected is the Vastlakukkel or Semla; it is a tasty cardamom-flavored sweet roll that is filled with jam and whipped cream.
These tasty sweets have ties to the Christian holiday of Shrove Tuesday, but they are a sweet indulgence no matter what day of the year you enjoy them!
Biskviitkattega Rabarberikook (Rhubarb Biscuit Cake)
So much of the food in Estonia focuses on local ingredients and traditions, and one plant that grows in abundance in Estonia is rhubarb.
For many people living in Estonia, the taste of rhubarb is a reminder of the lush summer season, and this cake is a beautiful callback to that nostalgic summer feeling.
Rhubarb Biscuit Cake is a light and flakey hybrid of a cake and a shortbread. The bottom is shortbread, the middle is more cake-like, and there are layers of rhubarb added in for a delicious fruity flavor.
Kissel (Fruit Soup)
Kissel is a sweet and tasty dish from the northern part of Estonia. It is a sweet fruit soup; sometimes the kissel is thicker and other variations make it thin enough to sip. The best part about kissel is its versatility. It can be served hot or cold, as a sauce, or as the main event.
The featured fruits in this tasty puree range from blueberry, to currant, to cranberry, but no matter the featured fruit this sweet soup is sure to please your taste buds!
Discovering Traditional Foods In Estonia
Estonia looks like a country out of a dream, with its beautiful castles and forests that teem with life, but the most charming thing here is the food! Experience the culture through their straightforward, but always delicious cuisine.
Estonian food has something for everyone to love. The Estonians have mastered the art of preparing humble ingredients into something beautiful. What better way could you ask for to learn about a country than through a delicious plate of food!?