When you first come to Estonia, there are a few things that everyone tells you. We have a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Old Town, there are a lot of beautiful women and we eat bread that is as black as our winter nights. The beloved Estonian black bread – leib – is made of natural leavening and rye flour, it’s dark and has a flavour that makes you miss it when kept away for too long.
Arguably the most authentic black bread comes from Muhu Island. Muhu is a small island on the way to Saaremaa where traditions are kept in high honor and recipes are passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter. Muhu Leib represents these values, they bake only one kind of bread, that is black bread with seeds. Traditional, made with respect to old ways. On special days, like your grandma would, they also add raisins and chocolate to the bread.
The correct way to, dare I say, experience our rye bread is with spiced baltic herring, hardboiled egg and topped with some spring onions. So get some baltic herring and egg from a deli, head over to Muhu Leib around noon, that is when the first loaves of bread come out of the oven and you can get a warm slice. Make yourself comfortable by sitting down on a sidewalk corner, slather your slice with a generous amount of butter, add your fresh toppings and enjoy the taste of Estonia.