Cook book „Seto kitchen through generations, from Meremäe“

Laivi Mesikäpp, chairwoman of Setomaa Turismitalo
Indrek Kivisalu, chairman of FoodStudio

One of the most peculiar areas of Estonia is Setomaa, located on the borderline of Estonia-Russia, where many unique and traditional cultural elements have preserved. In addition to distinctive handicraft, regional architecture, seto leelo AKA local song that is also entered in the list on UNESCO cultural heritage, there is still today knowledge of food traditions. The history of a certain national or regional kitchen runs always with the history of its nation.
Like with every other national kitchen, talking about Estonian kitchen we cannot get pass the influence of other national kitchens, inevitably the representatives of neighbouring nations in border areas get mixed, along with that also their eating habits. Seto kitchen is here a mere example as we find in it the food and eating habits of both Setos and Russians. It is probably already impossible to make sure which side contributed or received what and how much to the development of Seto kitchen.
Nowadays people look more and more towards the food eaten in the old days. After all, it is healthy primarily for its naturality.
Although the fashion trends constantly change we pay different attention to the appearance of the food than hundred years ago. However, based on the old-time food it is possible to develop continuously new modern meals. The display of foods can be always turned more modern and interesting to please the eye. Even the taste can be formed according to the contemporary taste preferences.
In order for the Seto food to endure and be vital, it must be adjusted to the modern conceptions and tastes. It does not mean the rebutment of beliefs or forsaking traditions lasted through the Seto history, but keeping up with the times and development. There is no point to be afraid of improvements, however, the old should not be forgotten either.
The book talks about the Seto food as well beverages. In addition, pieces of the Seto kitchen. The reader can have a glimpse of the essence of the Seto culture food and drinks in the first half of the 20th century. The book is enriched by the recipes of traditional meals characteristic of the first half of the 20th century of Meremäe area of Setomaa. The balance is created by new modern solutions based on the traditional food that encourage retaining the existing traditions from a different angle. So the old and new recipe go side by side and tell their story – what was and what is a chance to maintain the wisdom of ancestors to the following generations. Although the book is in Estonian, it is impossible to get around the colourful and figurative Seto language when expressing the regional culture.

The cook book was awarded Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2012 in category "Best Culinary Travel Guide" as best Estonian cookbook.

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