As we drove towards Voru through the flat birch wood countryside the snow started to fall, lightly at first and then more thickly. By the time we reached our destination it was a foot deep. In
The workshops were held in a log cabin, well equipped technically and cosy – they do know how to do cold. It perched above a freezing lake, the ice growing as we watched. We had about sixteen participants, all involved in local tourism and interested in food.
It’s hard to know what to tell such people. In this part of the world we are all eschewing processed foods and buying locally. Even, heaven forbid, actually growing some of our own vegetables. Local food festivals are multiplying, there are farm shops everywhere, and each town has its own farmers’ market. But isn’t that what they have been doing for centuries in
Well, no, surprisingly. Which is when you realise what being under the heel of the Russians, then the Nazis, then the Soviets does to the character of a nation.
We ate good black bread, made locally from rye, and sometimes it had raisins in it. Main courses were invariably pork and potatoes. The local supermarkets were well stocked, with oranges from
We took with us the pride of
In return they gave us goats’ cheese, a multiplicity of grains including spelt, and some wonderful berry products, juiced and dried, from the virgin woods and forests of Estonia. Had it not been for the whiteout we would have foraged further.
As the bargain airlines fly planeloads of hen and stag parties ever further into foreign territory, places like Voru – quiet oases of peace and solitude – will have their chance to bid for tourists who don’t want to party all night. I’m just not quite sure how you tell the difference between all these new arrivals on our eastern horizons.