Yesterday J and I went with some friends to the annual Christmas bazaar held by the International Women’s Club of Tallinn. I wrote about it two years ago when it happened to fall on a day with extremely windy and snowy weather, and when the Estonian community abroad found that post and circulated it this little blog set its record for number of visits in one day. This year’s post probably won’t draw as much attention (even though there was snowy weather for it this year too), but we still had a wonderful time at the bazaar.
The bazaar is great because many of the embassies in Tallinn have tables where they sell food and drink from their country. It’s easy to make your way around the room and have a very multi-cultural lunch, which is exactly what we did.
The first thing I sampled when we got there was actually Chinese flower wine and Chinese vodka, which was offered for tasting in mini shot glasses (don’t worry, it was after noon already). The flower wine was very sweet and reminded me of sake, and the vodka was really unique– super-strong (56%!) and yet the alcohol taste wasn’t too powerful; I sensed a strong fruity taste and my friend said it was like cognac, but clear. J was intrigued enough by it to buy some small bottles to take home. It’s not every day you get to drink Chinese booze, right?
After that J, who hadn’t eaten breakfast, snagged a hot dog from the American embassy’s table (they were selling Starbucks coffee beans as well!), and I got a recommendation to try some of Turkey’s offerings. For less than a euro I got two lentil koftes, which were slightly spicy and had a fresh tang from green onions. Very yummy and they seem simple to make– I may have to try my hand at Turkish cuisine. Our next nibble after that was from the Russian table, where J and I shared a slice of thin pancake (blini) rolled up with cured salmon. Can’t go wrong with salmon, or pancakes for that matter. It was a delicious little snack.
After that I was ready to move onto sweeter things, so I got a glass of warm German glühwein and started looking for dessert. I was very tempted by the scones at the British embassy’s table, but as I just made scones myself recently, I wanted something different. The small Moldovan table was offering squares of a flat yellow cake that they said was “made from corn and cheese” but was still sweet, so I decided to go for that. The cake was only very subtly sweet, made of polenta with a layer of some kind of farmer’s cheese in the middle. It was probably my first-ever experience with Moldovan food! They had also offered us some Moldovan grapes to taste, which were deep purple and so sweet.
On top of all that, we also sampled some cheese at the British and Dutch tables (J took more than just one of the Dutch samples– you know how much he loves his aged Dutch cheese!)
I apologize for the lack of pictures; the bazaar is always so crowded so it’s just too much to try and juggle a purse, plateful of food and camera all at once. But it was a fun couple of hours, and of course it was nice knowing that the money we spent there would go to a good cause this holiday season.