Our pre-Christmas-Nutcracker-trip this year took us to Tallinn, Estonia. I landed with a 5 hour delay (thank you, Xaver!). Apart from that, the weekend was absolutely marvelous!
Walking through the old town feels like walking through an advent calendar with all the coble stones, churches and restored houses.
Yet I highly recommend walking around in the parts of town outside the old city walls, where Tallinn feels a lot more Soviet than in the old town. One highlight definitely was the Balti Jaama Turg, the market near the main train station. Oh how I wished I did not only fly with hand luggage but had a suitcase with me to buy some of the jam, pickled pumpkin or golden honey that old farmers sold! There are also other, quite bizarre second hand things on sale, as well as Tomati Pasta by the spoon (gotta love Estonian - a language full of vowels!)
We almost only had excellent food. For lunch, we went to Till ya Kummel (dill and caraway). We shared the appetizers for two, a variety of typical Estonian dishes: Cod liver with egg salad, mushroom and onion salad, cucumber with dill, caraway cheese, deer sausage, smoked cheese and rye bread.
We also had chicken liver crème brûlée with apples and onions and toasted brioche. It was impeccable and just the right amount for lunch, except I couldn't have had a main course I think.
For dessert we shared a warm almond lingonberry tartelette with cardamom icecream and even though I really don't like cardamom, I even liked the ice cream! Till ya Kummel should definitely be on your list of restaurants to visit when in Tallinn!
For dinner, we followed nami-nami's recommendation and had made reservations for Leib, which was a smart thing because the place was packed! I had slowly cooked beef which was so tender, it almost fell apart just by looking at it! The attentive waiter told me to not miss the bone marrow, which I thought was a nice gesture because I knew that that was one of the best things on the plate, but other people might not be aware of the kind of delicacy they have on their plate. Leib means bread in Estonian and the rye bread they serve is absolutely delicious! I couldn't stop eating it and they gladly brought a second serving. My sister's quaile was also really tender! For dessert, we both had pain perdu with vanilla ice cream and cranberries, again, a really great choice! Sorry, no photos, as I was too busy enjoying the food!
On Sunday, apart from watching the Nutcracker ballett (not the worst we've seen, Kopenhagen wins that award, but not the best we've seen either), we walked through Kalamaja, where next time I will visit Tallinn, I would like to go to the toy museum!
Finally, we walked through the incredibly elegant Christmas market on the main square in the old town. I guess it's fair to say it's one of the nicest Christmas markets I've been to, very subtle and not too kitschy.
copyright of all photos j.