Vastlapäev, known as Shrove Tuesday in much of the English-speaking world, the Estonians celebrate this day a little differently.
Instead of pancakes, we eat split pea soup and the delicious Vastlakukkel cream cake.
Traditionally children will sled down any available hill of snow, to get “long linens”. And not only children. Tomorrow, after meeting I am going with my colleges to sled, as well.
And later we have pea soup and Vastlakukkel!
Today, of course nobody care about linen, this is just for fun:)
The name Vastlapaev is taken from the German word “fasten” (to fast). And after Vastlapäev started fast, because meat was ran out.
Traditional pea soup takes time, so this is reasonable to cook more soup and leftovers freeze or store in clean airtight jar.
Estonian Black Bread is fermented Rye Bread.
For this bread, we have even the own word: LEIB.
“white wheat bread” we call “Sai”.
Of course, shops are full of different loaves of bread, even with nuts and chocolate.
But some years ago, our first lady Evelin Ilves promoted the homemade bread. So, today, I believe, all Estonian woman has their own home-made bread recipe.
Each Estonian eat ca 10 kg white wheat bread and 30 kg black rye bread per year, so Rye bread is very popular and I can say, that this is something very “Estonian”.
24th February is Estonian Independence Day, our republic become 99 years old 🙂
so this is the best day to bake the Estonian traditional rye Leib.
I do not eat and like too many cookies and pies, but twice in the year: gingerbread and Shrove Tuesday Buns… I can eat without shame and limit 🙂
It seems easy stuff, but in Estonia, we have two parties. One camp says that Vastlakukkel must be only with whipped cream. And others are sure, that it must contain whipped cream and jam. So, the choice is yours.
Estonian Style Sauerkraut with Pork and Barley is called ” Mulgikapsad”. Kapsad- means Cabbage and
Mulgi- Mulgimaa is an area in South-Estonia, with own culture, traditions, food and dialect.
This area and culture is a perfect example of the globalisation already in 19th of the century. During the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865 was the lack of cotton and price was very high.
So, as demand for alternatives. South Estonia, Mulgimaa has perfect conditions for the cultivation of linen. Bondage was in Estonia abolished 1816, but still, farmers were very poor and the land was owned by landlords. But because of America and demand for linen, farmers get enough money to buy from landlords land and farms. And this area becomes rich and successful. This made others little bit jealous and they started to call people and this area Mulgimaa 🙂
In Latvia means word- Mulk- ” silly” and in Estonia it means “hole”- in meaning that all richness went into the one hole…:)
I am Mulk ( person, who is living and born in Mulgimaa), as well. My mother’s ancestry has been lived in Mulgimaa more than 400 years. Maybe more, but we have first written documents from 1630 of the year 🙂
Mulgikapsad can be served as a meal unto itself, usually with boiled potato and certainly with some fermented milk for a drink. You may cook this as a vegan, without meat.
Barley has been cultivated in Estonia longer than any other crops – for over 4,000 years. And pearl barley has been a staple food for Estonians through the ages; it has even been a food fit for celebrations. In the olden days, the tradition in Estonian villages was to make sauerkraut soup with pork and barley groats on Thursdays and Sundays.
Kohuke- chocolate glazed quark snack is very popular dessert for children breakfast.
Kohuke is basically freshly pressed sweet curd covered in chocolate or caramel. There are plain as well as flavoured varieties filled with things like berries, chocolate, coconut and kiwifruit.
Kohuke is popular throughout the Baltic countries and can be found in Russia and other Eastern-European states as well. These little things actually don’t have much of a history – they’re about 70 years old and were something of a cult food during the Soviet regime. They disappeared as soon as they hit the shelves of Soviet stores in the 50s due to the constant shortage,
Because of quark, Kohuke is rich with protein and because of chocolate, it is energy bar:)
t’s impossible to write a blog about Estonian food without talking about quark. To be honest, I’m not quite sure whether should I say ”quark”, ”curd” or ”Fromage blanc”.
The quark in every country has a different acidity, texture and consistency due to the processing of the product.
Quark is not
.. ricotta. ricotta. Ricotta is made from whey, which gives the cheese its specific taste and texture.
… cream cheese. Cream cheese is usually a salty soft product made from cream and milk. It has a different consistency, texture and acidity. Usually in cream cheese has added salt
… mascarpone. Mascarpone is not a fermented product. Protein is curdled with acid.
Estonian quark is fat-free, made from skimmed milk and mesophilic starter. The latter means that the quark is fermented at a low temperature.
If you have children, don’t hesitate to ask them to join the process. Making quark is fun and educating. You can learn a lot about food chemistry, cooking, health and fermentation!
As You probably know, Estonians are the least religious nation.
The Estonian wordjõulud (Christmas) is of ancient Scandinavian origin and comes directly from the word Jul/ Hjul which means “cycle”, and has no real connection with Christianity.
In 22th of December the Sun rises in Estonia at 9. 17 a clock and sets at 15.22. So, we do not need any fairy tales. We have very practical reason to celebrate 🙂
Jõulud as the winter solstice , when the day is the shortest and the night the longest, is celebrated between December 21 and 25. According to folk-tradition, “the sun was laying in the nest” and the day was celebrated as the Sun’s birthday. From that day on, the Sun started to rise and move slowly to the north again.