Mornings In: Estonia

What's a typical breakfast + beauty routine for an Estonian woman? Also: what's up with 'kurd snacks'? //

Name: Marilin
Hometown: Tartu, Estonia
Age: 29
Occupation: Scientific Researcher in Tartu Toy Museum (yes, I do play all day long), currently on maternity leave
My alarm is set for: 7:00 or whenever the baby decides


Most mornings I eat:
Usually, I eat plain old sandwiches with coffee or tea. We only call dark (rye) bread “bread” here (light bread and medium-light bread have their own names), so I just slap some butter and cheese with tomato or cucumber slices on that.

When I’m making porridge for my daughter, I also make some for myself – oatmeal or buckwheat is what we are eating at the moment. Porridge is quite common breakfast in Estonia, it fills you up and keeps you going until lunch.

One specific local food I eat almost every morning (and sometimes lunch and dinner and snack time) is kohuke, or curd snack. The basic kohuke is made of curd and covered in chocolate. There are several types, with or without filling, with crackers and different glazes. It’s high in protein and sugar and saturated fat, and by no means healthy, but I’m just weak like that.

A healthier breakfast I eat once a week, usually on weekend mornings, is hard-boiled quail eggs. There are several small quail farms nearby and fresh quail eggs with mayonnaise are a treat that’s also rich in vitamins and minerals (more so than chicken eggs). I also love carrots and apples, so I eat a couple of those almost daily with my breakfast as well, definitely when they are in season.

What's a typical breakfast + beauty routine for an Estonian woman? Also: what's up with 'kurd snacks'? //

estonian-beauty-productsMy beauty routine consists of:
I usually don’t shower in the morning but before bedtime, because I don’t like blow-dryers and then my hair can air-dry. This is important during the winters, because it would be impossible to head out to work with wet hair in -20 C (-4 F). I’ve got long hair, so sometimes I braid my hair when moist and sleep like that, so I have fun waves in the morning. 🙂

I don’t use makeup at all (because I’m lazy) and I moisturize my face every couple of days with Dr. Hauschka Melissa Day Cream. I use coconut oil for sun protection and as a general lotion, and I make my own lip balm with oil and beeswax.

An up and rising popular Estonian cosmetics brand is JOIK, which is (mostly) organic and used by many of my more beauty-conscious friends.

Then, I head to work by:
Tartu is a small-ish university town and I live near the center, so it takes a 20-minute walk for me to get to work. The public transport is city bus and it’s quite widely used, but really you can walk almost everywhere in Tartu.

Of course, it’s different in the winter when it’s freezing and there’s snow everywhere – every winter it seems people forget about the snow, and when it finally comes, chaos ensues. But nowadays, I head out early in the afternoon with my daughter in the stroller and we take a walk to one of the parks.

Thanks so much for sharing, Marilin! Are there any other Estonian readers who can chime in?

P.S. My three-item makeup bag. Yes, really!

photos credits: sara // haylee // lech karol pawlaszek // denna jones // anu wintschalek

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  1. ieva

    Tere (=hello in Estonian) Marilin! 🙂
    I’m Latvian, and until yesterday, I thought that the “curd snacks” were a Baltic thing, but apparently they also have them in Hungary.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      If you’d be interested in doing a ‘Mornings In: Latvia’ I’d love to have you!

      • ieva

        Thank you so much, Sarah, but I live in Sweden now, and I know you’ve had a Swedish morning post already. But thank you!! :)))

  2. Marilin

    Hi Ieva!
    We’re slowly but steadily taking over the world! I didn’t know about Hungary, but good for them! By the way, Latvian Karums curd snacks are my favourite 🙂

    • ieva

      Ahhh, Karums!!! :))) And did you know that there was a radio commercial this summer about how every Estonian knows how to say “ice-cream” in Latvian? :)))

  3. Kaisa

    I don’t think there’s an Estonian out there who doesn’t love kohuke. 🙂 Btw, for those of you living abroad – kohuke can sometimes be found at Russian/Ukrainian/Polish/Slavic shops all over the world. It’s contagious once you’ve had one. 🙂

  4. Peter Mack

    Hello, my name is Peter. I live in the United States. My mother was born in Estonia. I would love to visit one day to see where she came from and see my heritage

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