Food in Estonia

Traditional Estonian cuisine has substantially been based on meat and potatoes, and on fish in coastal and lakeside areas, but now bears influence from many other cuisines, including a variety of international foods and dishes, with a number of contributions from the traditions of nearby countries. Scandinavian, German, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian and other influences have played their part. The most typical foods in Estonia have been rye bread, pork, potatoes and dairy products. Estonian eating habits have historically been closely linked to the seasons. In terms of staples, Estonia belongs firmly to the beer, vodka, rye bread and pork “belt” of Europe.

Estonian National Dishes

Verivorst

Blood sausages (often called black pudding in British English and sometimes blood pudding; although these recipes normally include oats or barley), are sausages filled with blood that is cooked or dried and mixed with a filler until it’s thick enough to solidify when cooled. Variants are found worldwide. Pig, cow, sheep, duck, and goat blood can be used, varying by country.

In Europe and the Americas, typical fillers include meat, fat, suet, bread, cornmeal, onion, chestnuts, barley, and oatmeal. On the Iberian Peninsula and in Asia, rice is often used instead of other cereals.

In many languages, there is a general term such as blood sausage (American English) and blood pudding (British English) that is used for all sausages that are made from blood, whether or not they include non-animal material such as bread, cereal, and nuts. Sausages that include such material are often, in addition, referred to with more specific terms, for example, black pudding in English.

Country Food - Estonia - Verivorst
Country Food – Estonia – Verivorst

Mulgikapsad (sauerkraut stew)

Sauerkraut is finely cut raw cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid formed when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage leaves.

Country Food - Estonia - Mulgikapsad (sauerkraut stew)
Country Food – Estonia – Mulgikapsad (sauerkraut stew)

Sources