Estonian pure and simple, exciting and novel tastes were so attractive to EXPO visitors that the first interested people have already arrived in Estonia to visit the producers of the food tasted in Italy. Estonia attracted with rye, handmade beer and slow-roasted meat meals.
At EXPO, the story of Estonian food began with the main exposition, a tenth of which was dedicated to food. The Ministry of Rural Affairs had furnished one of the ten exposition columns with a historical overview of rye and its importance in Estonia. Rye bread is likely to be the first root of Estonian food which is demonstrated by acclaiming the year 2015 as the Year of Rye. The permanent exposition naturally gave much attention to pure nature which is the foundation beam of food production here.
Variations with rye
Rye deserved special attention during the three rye days in August when with a joint effort by the Estonian Rye Association and the Estonian Agricultural Museum the Estonian pavilion was filled by genuine smell of bread. The team of the museum headed by the Director Merli Sild demonstrated rye bread making from dried rye leaven and dough to baked bread breaking for three days running.
Genuine typical Estonian tastes were offered with bread: ham from Mooska Farm, smoked using the traditional method entered in the list of UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, sprat, Baltic herring and smoked sprat. Cheese production was represented by alder smoked cheese produced by E-Piim. Sangaste rye village offered unique Estonian food – kama and rye kvass. Estonian Rye King Hans I suggested fish and rye beer to go with bread.
17 July was Bread Day, which covered the whole EXPO. On that day, Hagari and Muhu rye bread was offered in the pavilion of Estonia, Taigo Lepik, the Chef to the President of the Republic of Estonia, baked bread in several neighbouring pavilions. The Chef to the President also participated in the Italian TV popular midday hour to demonstrate the birth of modern Estonian tastes.
Exquisite Restoration of Independence Day
In the pavilion of Estonia, the Day of Restoration of Independence was celebrated with the introduction of slow and organic way of meat roasting. This way of meat cooking also originates from smoke sauna where meat ripens in approximately two days. Jaan Habicht who has secured for Estonian grilling traditions high places at international competitions, made Italians and other visitors very happy with slow-roasted rib and choice beef, lightly dipped into black currant mixture. Slow-roasting was done in an ancient food chest shaped baking oven especially made for the Estonian National Museum. In EXPO Milan, it was probably the most delicious meat baked on the spot.
Visitors could also be pleased about handmade beers. It is known that rye beer was only available in the pavilion of Estonia. 10 September was the day of Estonian spirituous liquors where a broader range of beers including Pöide, Õllenaudi, Seasoni, Muddise and A. Le Coq were displayed. Vana Tallinn and Moe organic vodka were not missing either.
Polite choice and appetizing TV
On 23 October, directly before the end of EXPO, the sum up introduction of Estonian food was organised by the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce. Kadi Raudsepp, Deputy Head of the Trade and Agro-Food Department of the Ministry of Rural Affairs, gave an overview of Estonian food and thereafter it was time to start tasting. This time, the rye bread baked on the spot by the masters of the Agricultural Museum was the core of the food offering. People broke the bread just like that, putting spiced sprats (DGM Shipping) and smoked sprats (Maseko) on Eurobread taken along. The black seed bread made by Eesti Pagar was offered with Mooska ham, the alder smoked cheese produced by E-Piim was eaten with Salvest blackberry jam and Muhu seed bread was served with Linnamäe elk sausage.
Although the start was somewhat awkward and the efforts to find an Estonian food supplier for the whole period using a procurement process came to nothing, in the pavilion of Estonia food was nevertheless available from the middle of EXPO at least. Food was offered by the Milan local catering company Kitchen Mood. The menu was composed by Estonian chefs but the raw material was local for what reason one could nag a bit at characteristically Estonian tastes but the range of handmade beers was wide and Estonian organic vodka was also offered for sale. In the pavilion souvenir shop, Estonian food products like game meat preserves, biltong etc. could be bought from refrigerated display.
The basic message transmitted by Estonian genuine and interesting tastes was that for feeling the same tastes again the best thing to do would be to visit Estonia. The story of Mooska ham confirms that such an arrival may easily come true. After introducing Mooska ham in August a short introduction was also made in Italian TV. Four local persons who happened to see this broadcast, immediately contacted the Mooska Tourist Farm and arrived in a week. And they did not have to feel disappointed. Let us cross our fingers and hope that there will be more serious, entrepreneurship-minded and interested people in the future.
Korduma kippuvad küsimused
The current refugee crisis that is testing the unity and resolve of Europe, along with combatting international terrorism and security – these were the key words at the meeting of the presidents of the Baltic states in Palanga.
The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, will be in Palanga today to participate in the work meeting of the heads of state of the Baltic states.
"In times when religion, extremism, refugees and terrorism form a weight of negative information, schools will be required to become involved in the level-headed explaining of events and phenomena. All of these things do not happen somewhere at a safe distance, such as France or Syria. This is all Europe; these are issues and problems to be handled here, as the fate and welfare of today's students will depend on the outcomes," said President Toomas Hendrik Ilves who presented the Educational Awards for 2015 and the special Physical Sciences Award at the Office of the President.
In Kadriorg today, the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, accepted credentials from the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium, Philippe Beke, who resides in Helsinki, the Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Daw Yin Yin Myint, who resides in Berlin and the Ambassador of the Republic of Angola, Isaías Jaime Vilinga, who resides in Stockholm.
Europe is at the crossroads of change, in a transformational crisis, and yet we have come through worse, conceded President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in his address at Churchill's Europe Symposium in Zurich last night.
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves will today begin a working visit to Zurich. In the evening, he will give a presentation as an invited guest to influential decision makers in Switzerland and speak about the challenges faced by the future of the European Union, focusing on our security after the terrorist attacks in Paris and the refugee crisis.
In a greeting delivered on the anniversary of the Defence Forces of the Republic of Estonia, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves invited those present to reflect about France and our allies, the French people: "The co-ordinated terrorist attacks in Paris represent an example of attempts to scare Europe and make us afraid enough to become inefficient in standing up to violence and evil, to make us withdraw within the borders of our respective countries and not reach out a helping hand to friends. We will not be scared. We will enhance our security, strengthen our guard on the external borders of the European Union, carry out controls on the background of refugees, and improve domestic and military defence. But we will not be scared."