Estonians have always been meat lovers, consuming an average of 65 kilograms of meat products per person in a year. As pigs were grown in almost every Estonian farm for centuries, then pork is the most popular choice.
A pork roast is a must-have of any Estonian festive table, be it a birthday, Christmas, New Year or any other celebration. Before Midsummer’s Day, Estonian shop shelves pile up with meat products and also the fridges of Estonian people are loaded with pork shashlik in vinegar and other tasty marinades. These are roasted on sticks at the bonfire nights. Pork hams, sausages, minced meat, pâté, bacon and more recently different kinds of snacks prepared from the meat and the rind are also popular.
The role of poultry has been on the rise year after year. Poultry, especially broiler and turkey, are popular choices among health-conscious people because of the meat’s lower fat content.
Traditional roasted chicken has been a part of the Estonian daily cooking traditions for several decades, but poultry manufacturers are doing their best to offer more variety to poultrymeat-lovers. This is why the selection of poultry products in different traditional and exotic marinades have been on the rise in the Estonian supermarkets and is also gathering popularity as a Midsummer’s Day and end-of-year traditional party table dish alongside pork. The Estonian food-lovers also make use of local duck, goose, quail and pheasant meat.
Beef has also been always appreciated in Estonia. A well-prepared beef tenderloin is the quality mark of many restaurants. Beef is also enjoyed domestically as ham, sausage, minced meat or other pre-prepared foods.
Larger Estonian supermarkets and popular marketplaces also offer domestic veal, rabbit meat, lamb and game. Although these meats are not often utilised in Estonian homes, their popularity is increasing with the improvement of people’s cooking skills and yearning for exciting tastes.