Viljandi County

Mulgimaa, a historical and cultural area in Southern Estonia, is known for its farms which have become rich by growing flax, which resulted in local foods spreading all over the country when a remote farm was sold, or a family relocated. For example, dishes like “Mulgi groats” (barley groats with mashed potatoes and fried diced pork), “Mulgi cabbage” (stewed sauerkraut with barley groats) and curd cheese pastries are known all over Estonia. They have been included in the Estonian Cultural heritage List. The Mulgi region is also where so called “mixed kama”, mixed flour made of various grains and legumes, originated.  Moreover, the Liplapischool of home economics, which operated there in early 20th century, was the first educational facility of the kind in Russian Empire. Old Viljandi County as a whole is characterised by welcoming changes and innovations with an open mind while still appreciating and respecting its culinary heritage based on the seasonal principle and sustainable use of produce. Local food manufacturers emphasise their origin to this day, having founded their own regional food network “Viljandi OTT”. Menus in local food establishments also typically list Mulgi dishes separately. There are numerous cooking workshops, for example, bread baking on Olustvere manor. The summer fair during Viljandi Hanseatic days as well as Viljandi Folk Music Festival are the occasions to eagerly expect every year as both are sources of new tastes and experiences for foodies.

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