Estonian Christmas Traditions (and where to taste them in Tallinn)
05. December 2013
A Modern Menu
Chef Rene Uusmees bases his menus on seasonal ingredients and dishes inspired by Estonian culinary traditions. This holiday season you can enjoy a three-course Estonian Christmas menu for 35€.
To start, choose between a fish course and a meat course. Both dishes come with a selection of five types of fish or meat prepared in different ways. “When Estonians sit down to eat their Christmas meal, everything is on the table. I wanted to express this in the appetiser by offering smaller portions and a little bit of everything,” explains Uusmees.
For the main course, the chef offers a choice between duck leg, braised wild boar, or lamb. The wild boar was tender and juicy, and served with braised cabbage and carrots. For dessert, choose between chocolate cheesecake with cherries and sour cream mousse or warm Christmas pudding with mulled wine sorbet and caramelised hazelnuts.
Something more traditional
It doesn’t get more central than a meal at Liisu Juures in the Town Hall Square. Located in a warm and inviting cellar in Tallinn’s Old Town, this is the place to come for good food, and good Estonian hospitality.
If you want to try Estonian Christmas food, look for blood sausage and roasted pork. As a main, the selection of sausages may seem daunting, but the sausages themselves are very small, allowing a proper sampling of three different kinds. Included on the platter were blood sausages, pork sausages, and a larger German style wiener. They are served with a generous portion of sauerkraut and roasted potatoes, as well as lingonberry sauce to go with the blood sausage. For another traditional Estonian Christmas dish, try the roasted pork and boiled potatoes.
Kuldse Notsu Kõrts
On a cold winter’s night, step into this cosy little inn, in the heart of Tallinn’s Old Town. At Kuldse Notsu Kõrts, they offer a Christmas menu, so you can try the food without putting in all of the work that goes into its preparation. On offer this year will be an assortment of Estonian Christmas favourites, including blood sausage. Or, if you are extra hungry, try the sausage feast with five different kinds of sausages, including blood sausages that come served with sauerkraut, lingonberry sauce and mustard.
What was truly great about the dishes at Eesti Söögituba, was that they came in manageable sized portions, meaning you will have room to try a few different dishes, or have room for dessert. The Christmas menu had not yet been published at the time this article went to print, but you can certainly expect to see some traditional favourites on this menu too.
Suur-Karja 17/19, Tallinn Old Town
Kuldse Notsu Kõrts
TEXT KRISTINA LUPP, PHOTOS ANDREI CHERTKOV