Pädaste Manor, Muhu island
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New Flavours of Nordic Islands’ Cuisine

Traditional Estonian cuisine has its roots in German culinary traditions and reflections of their influence are readily apparent. The Baltic Germans brought their food-related customs to Estonia, where they spread through the country from their manors. And now, history is repeating itself at Pädaste Manor. However this time it is almost the other way around. Head chef Stefan Berwanger, who moved to Muhu island from a German metropolis, immediately took to the local lifestyle and (culinary) traditions. His take on Nordic Islands’ cuisine (the cuisine restaurant Alexander has offered throughout the years), could be considered translating the local traditions into foreign languages. Because the manor and the restaurant are almost as well-known outside Estonia as they are in the country. For the eater, this starts with a particularly successful ‘translation’: slightly sour of taste and a tad sticky of texture, the white sourdough bread, made of spelt and sour cream, reminds us that besides the cult status of black bread, white bread has always been a part of a proper Estonian celebration. Always. And at Pädaste, every meal is a celebration. The Manor shows the islanders and everyone who has come to visit that life on a small island, at the mercy of the surrounding sea, can be (must be!) comfortable and elegant. Local dishes at the other eateries of the island remain earthly and robust. To fully understand what Pädaste is actually doing, you should at least once dine somewhere else on the island, as that will give you a superb experience of how simple local produce (garfish, for instance) can be robustly rich on one plate and delicately exquisite on another. While generally in Estonian restaurants desserts are hardly the highlight of the meal, Pädaste bucks the trend. The early summer Muhu forest with its rich diversity of trees and the oats and caramel of the Muhu beach with its foamy waves are the new Estonian flavours that also enrich Nordic Islands’ cuisine. Yet, they have not been brought here from elsewhere. On the contrary, they are taken from here to the rest of the world.