Valentine's DayWhile Valentine's Day is usually known as a romantic holiday and lovers all across the world declare their undying love and care for each other, gift flowers and make romantic gestures etc. Do we have it? Yes, absolutely! If you're dating someone, live together or are married--whichever it is, you will most likely be spending the evening with them. As you can imagine, there are lots of um, romance packets like a romantic weekend at a spa (this was actually offered as a winning prize on one of the radio channels' Valentine's Day game this year) or a luxuriuos dinner somewhere etc.
However, for us, single people (and even the ones who aren't single), Valentine's Day here means the celebration of any kind of love not just romance wise. Whether it's your parents or siblings or friends, especially friends, you let them know how much you care. I used to start a week early with all the card making and baked all kinds of cakes, cupcakes, sweets for my friends and brought them to school and to swimming practice (if you didn't know, I went swimming for 8 years until the end of HS and was on the team for many years) etc. I still do that, but not so excessively. I just let people know that I care and think about them via text, phone call, face to face conversations etc. I still own a big card collection that I have collected over the years and it's so awesome to read these years later. Here are some of them:
This year I'm spending my Valentine's Day evening at work and then I have no plans whatsoever. We'll see how it rolls after I get off from work.
SweetsSo, sweets? I went a little crazy yesterday after my lecture was done at uni by going to the supermarket and finding all sorts of Estonian sweets for you to look at. My favorite Estonian sweets are definitely by Kalev. It's a huge sweets factory that makes all kinds of chocolate, candy and other sweets. I think it's also the oldest here as well. Every time I go somewhere abroad where I know that people will have to host me, I always bring something by Kalev. And people eat them like it's the last food left on Earth lol, because it's so good. You can check out their home page here. They have all their products listed there and even recipes to try at home etc. Anyhow, pictures, right? (Lol! I went to the mall yesterday and took pictures, people looked at me like I was nuts, but whatever! What I wouldn't do for blogging and you guys, right? ;))
There are lots of cakes in the big (and small, if you're lucky) supermarkets and depending on the supermarket, they can be extremely delicious! Some of them are made in the supermarket while some are bought in. One bakery Pagaripoisid (in English meaning Bakery Boys) makes some of the best cakes I have ever tasted and you can never go wrong with theirs. BTW! They have their own shop in the Old Town and when you're a tourist, you'll most likely be visiting the Old Town so be sure to look for their little shop. You won't regret going there!
On the right you can see some of Kalev's sweets. There were just so many that I couldn't have put them to one picture to save my life lol, plus there were so many people in that aisle and I didn't want to bother them, so yes. Imagine it being about 5-6 times bigger just for this brand.
So I made pictures of my favorites. The left one--that's my current favorite. Almond in mint flavoured milk chocolate. They just melt in your mouth and are so so so good! On the right I took a picture of my childhood favorite--the chocolate buttons. They're covered with these sweet little pearls and that's one of the things my grandma used to get me for my birthdays.
Then there is the legendary Maiuspala (which in translation means Sweet Piece). It's a praline candy covered with Indian nuts that have been coloured green with natural food colours. It's one of the most loved sweets here and if you're expecting an Estonian to visit you, you can almost always be certain that this will be one of the sweets that one's going to bring you ;) The picture with the back of the box on it has a story about the product. I hope you can read it when you click on it.
Then there are these--a bit more expensive candies than the ones showcased above. There were lots of others, but far too many to take pictures of and usually there's a wide selection of them so you can choose one to your liking. The Vana Tallinn one is um, with liquor. It's like this, um.. legendary liquor that is put into ice creams and candies in addition to just, you know.. drinking it lol.
Then I took two pictures above. These are the kids' favorites. Draakoni (Dragon) and Mesikäpp (Honey Paw) are extremely popular among kids. The Dragon one is this.. I'm not sure how you call it. Like a mix between a candy and a gum, but you can swallow it, so it's not really a gum.. It's weird, but they're tasty and I loved them when I was a kid. If you know how to call them, tell me below in the comments lol. Then the Honey Paw line includes waffles, candies, chocolate and even oreo-alike cookies with chocolate and vanilla fillings.
And LOL. I took a picture of two of my favorite ice creams. The upper one is vanilla flavour with maple syrup and Greek nuts and the one below as you can guess is chocolate-mint flavoured ice cream with chocolate filling. Yummm!!!! Also, since I bought some bread I took a picture of the black bread. I know that people in UK/US (and elswhere) think that they know what black bread is, but oh, no! You do not, trust me :D There are so many types of bread here--white, brown, black, in all forms and sizes and flavours. Like, when you come here, you must try the black bread because it's most likely not like anything you have tasted before. If you're from Skandinavia or the Baltic region, yes, that's basically the same here and there, but if you're from anywhere else? Try it! :)