Estonian Food Delights Copenhagen
Copenhagen Cooking Festival is the largest food-related event in the Nordic Countries. This year’s festival was the sixth in the series and lasted for ten days.
The festival was very diverse. The participants included the best gourmet restaurants side by side with dining establishments offering the simplest local food. However, all the restaurants involved were appreciative of good food and had a willingness to further improve themselves.
Estonian restaurants which made their first appearance at the festival experienced the extremes of the large event. On one day, restaurant Ribe took part in the food street event named Taste of the World (shown in picture), which was probably the most hectic part of the festival. Restaurant Mekk, on the other hand, experienced one of the most intimate events of the festival.
In fact, it was not difficult to get to the restaurant street, but also to move around at the festival. Admittedly, that within the whole festival area, probably the busiest spot was just at our restaurant Ribe.
From the very first minutes, the Estonian Baltic herring sandwich and etnoburger attracted a large crowd of aficionados, which dissolved only after the last piece was sold. It was surprising to see Danish people, who have been spoilt with good food, patiently waiting in line for their turn (even if the wait was as long as half an hour).
One of the favourite dishes was the “etnoburger“, served with smoked lamb cutlet. As the hours went by, Ribe staff was growing more and more worried. It was only half-way through the event when the last cutlets were placed in the oven. And for the last three hours, Ribe counter was sold empty.
Although the staff had been practicing in Tallinn, they were working hard under pressure to prepare and serve food at a much faster pace than expected. Yet, there were no shortcuts made in quality, the food was as good as it gets.
One could literally “taste the world” at the festival, since there was a wide selection of world cuisines. Restaurant Ribe restaurant demonstrated successfully that Estonia is indeed a “delicious” country!
Whilst on the Taste the World street elbowing through crowds is the only way, small Studie Street in the old town enjoyed a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. There is a little chance one would just happen to wander off onto this road.
However, there is a certain reason to visit this street: the very same small yellow building. There is an art gallery located in the back yard and a restaurant with the entrance towards the street, both of them with the same name, Krebsegaarden. They both attempt to mix visual arts with culinary art so that the food served at the restaurant is inspired by the current exhibition at the art gallery.
It may sound complicated but it is working successfully! Krebsegaarden is at the top of the list of Tripadvisor’s Copenhagen restaurants.
Estonian modern art and MEKK’s Modern Estonian Cuisine were out on display to see and to enjoy at Krebsegaarden during the whole festival. Musicians Tuule Kann and Jaak Sooäär also joined in one day to spice up the emotions.
It was crowded here too, but in a completely different way. As soon as the doors opened in the evenings, the restaurant quickly filled up. Rene Uusmees, chef of MEKK, was surprised to see how much people travel around for culinary experiences.
People also travel to Estonia. Many people who came to Krebsegaarden for Estonian cuisine, had either just returned from a trip to Estonia or were about to visit this country.
In this photograph, Martin Saar who recently opened an exhibition of three Estonian artists (Meru, Navitrolla and himself) is seeking inspiration from the appetisers prepared by Rene Uusmaa.
It is not easy to be a culinary artist. In addition to the visual aspect, one also has to master the flavours and tastes.
The Copenhagen festival was a positive experience for all Estonian participants. The next festival will be held already in the next year and the first ideas on what and how should be done have been created!