Hot Sauce a Chili were recently in Estonia (Officially the Republic of Estonia). Estonia is divided into 15 counties and operates as a democratic parliamentary republic, if you are interested to find out more check out the Wikipedia related information. With a population of only 1.34 million, Estonia is one of the least-populous members of the European Union. The country is blessed with a temperate season climate. Estonia’s language is very close to Finnish. The capital and largest city is Tallinn, with a beautifully preserved old city. One of UNESCOs World Heritage Sites, is Bergen’s Old Quay. From Hot Sauce directly, “I have never seen so many church spires!”
Nutmeg was curious, what exactly is UNESCO and how many sites are there? UNESCO is the acronym for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. This is a web site that you could spend days reviewing. There are currently 890 Properties world wide (689 Cultural, 176 Natural and 25 mixed). Canada boasts an impressive 15 sites and Alberta has 5 of those. The process to have a site nominated is not surprisingly very lengthy, there are 10 base criteria and 53 page document describing the process for submission of nominations. Clearly this is the purview of career diplomats. There is a very cool interactive map (for big and little kids) that can be found on the UNESCO web site. Try it out, you can “travel” around the globe and learn all about the very interesting sites.
So here is the concern, Nutmeg thinks that Hot Sauce and Chili are traveling a bit blind. They are fully equipped with GPS, iPhones, laptops and iPads, yet they seem never to have heard of Zagat or Michelin food rating guides. One afternoon in Helsinki, they stumble across a restaurant called Ravintola Nokka, here is the story from Chili:
“We park and walk there to find one of those places that Saffron surely has in her book, and if she does not, she will the next time she visits Helsinki. First, even though there is but one other patron in the place, the maitre’d is only too delighted to provide us with a table and, shortly, a chef and two sous-chefs appear in the ultra modern kitchen which is glass enclosed from the seating area. We are provided with menus and starched napkins the size of small blankets. It turns out that we have arrived at The Place that specializes in the best of Finn cuisine. Only deals with farmers that live up to it’s norm of organic and ecologic standards, which Nutmeg would think of highly, and gives them a royal stamp of approval. Anyway, in for a penny in for a pound, we decide to order the five course special menu de degustation. Hot Sauce has nettle soup, I have something strange that I thought was going to be prawns but looked like a tiny bit of mush with a tiny bit of arugula on top. Lamb for the main course was fine, but Hot Sauce, having asked for hers to be cooked medium well, resulted in both dishes being pretty much dry. Then, this was followed by a cheese course and a dessert combination. The good thing was that I ordered some Chardonnay and a glass of Torres’s ‘Celeste’, both quite outstanding. The whole thing cost more than our stay at the hotel but, as they say, it was an experience and we laughed a lot.”
So the morale of the story no matter where your travels take you, make sure to check the following:
- Are there UNESCO World Heritage sites nearby?
- Are there restaurants that are listed on Zagat or Michelin?
- Buyer beware…
[tfb username=’GingerandNutmeg’ count=’true’ lang=’en’ theme=’light’]