Eating rodent for lunch in Estonia

It smelled delicious. My stomach had started its hangry gurgle over an hour ago and I was more than ready for this meal. Our first course was a garden salad topped with shrimp and white fish. My aversion to all seafood (with the exception of canned tuna), had me quickly passing my plate to Chris before our hosts noticed my lack on enthusiasm for the starter. I had managed to enhale most of the bread and garlic butter that was placed on the table and was anxiously awaiting the main course. From the smell alone, I knew it was going to be hearty and delicious. It was also confirmed that it was meat.

Bog Walking in Estonia

When we initially reached this quirky home restaurant in the remote fishing village of Kolga Aabla outside of Tallinn, I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Our group of seven JayWay Travel bloggers had spent the morning walking through Estonia’s Kõnnu Suursoo bog. We sported “bog shoes” or what those of us in the Pacific Northwest would refer to as snow shoes, to prevent us from sinking as we squished and squashed through one of the country’s largest bogs. Our guide pointed out patches of wild cranberries and I happily stopped along our route to pick a handful here and there. And while fresh cranberries are delicious, a hearty meal they are not.

Cranberries in the Estonia bog

Mer Mer, the home restaurant, is perched on a wide piece of countryside overlooking the Juminda peninsula. Our hosts, Jaan and Merritt, greeted us as we cautiously entered their home. They are an older couple, Jaan sporting a furried, wild brow and pair of white pants that had colorful paint stains dripping down the legs. His partner, a smiling blonde, beckoned us in and helped us hang our damp jackets. A quick scan of the room revealed paintings of the couple in various scenarios. The one below had them looking remarkably younger… and darker.

Our quirky lunch hosts in Estonia

We took our seats around a large rectangular table and embraced the setting. Large glass windows revealed a beautiful water view with rippling waves that chased the distant rain clouds. From hidden speakers, soft rock hits from the early nineties were playing. The interior of the house was beautiful. Exposed beams and a flood of natural light made for the perfect ambiance. Perched on the wall opposite the table was a rather large and elaborate painting depicting the couple and their large bulldog, Hummer, on a grassy knoll. The mister was holding a large staff while his lady was nude and screaming. I struggled to grasp what exactly what happening in the painting before I become distracted by the delicious smells wafting from the open kitchen.

The main course from our home restaurant in Estonia. Eating beaver for lunch.

The main course was on its way and was accompanied by personal bowls of butter-drenched mashed potatoes. I peered into the large bowl and saw what appeared to be some sort of meat stew. I greedily scooped spoonful after spoonful onto my plate, looked around to make sure the others had started eating, and then stuffed a hearty helping into my mouth.

It was perfection. The meat had to have been boiling for hours and it practically melted in my mouth. The mashed potatoes? Heavenly. Merritt stood at the head of the table, just in front of the bewildering painting of herself, with a sly grin. “Do you know what you’re eating?” she asked. The seven of us peered up from our plates and silently shook our heads. “Go ahead and take a guess.”

“Elk?”

“Venison!”

“Reindeer?”

We cautiously submitted our guesses. With each one Merritt shook her head. “No, it’s smaller.”

“Well, crap,” I thought. It was clearly red meat… but what is something smaller that is also edible? We couldn’t be eating rat, could we? It was that thought that eventually led me to the correct answer. Something bigger than a rat and clearly more delicious.

“Is it beaver?” I ventured.

Merritt smiled and nodded. “What do you think?”

Well, it was delicious. So delicious that I helped myself to another scoop on the spot. Apparently, beaver meat is one of the cleanest as the mammals, only eating tree bark and foliage. And it tasted it. There wasn’t the game-y flavor that typically accompanies foreign meat.

Of course, inappropriate references and jokes followed all through dessert, but it was definitely an experience that I’ll never forget. Or probably ever replicate. Because as Laura from Travel Addicts stated, “When does one eat beaver to Phil Collins?”

Please don’t answer that.

Dessert at Mer Mer home restaurant in Estonia

 

 

 

This day trip was arranged for us by the Estonian Tourist Board, during our tour of the Baltic States sponsored by JayWay Travel. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post remain our own. Be on the lookout for more posts from our trip and be sure to check out our instagram account (@captainandclark) to keep track of our travels. 

 

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21 Comments

  1. Emily
    May 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    So the real question is– do we get to see the other picture hanging on their wall??
    Emily recently posted…A Broke-Ass Guide To Being Broke. {Look at all the free time you have!}My Profile

    • Captain & Clark
      May 20, 2015 at 9:12 am - Reply

      Emily, we wish! We weren’t brave enough to photograph it but we’ll see if any of the other bloggers captured it. It was EPIC.

  2. Heather @ Ferreting Out the Fun
    May 22, 2015 at 12:45 am - Reply

    Considering how many we saw swimming around Riga, I’m surprised beaver doesn’t feature on more menus here. I’ll have to investigate!
    Heather @ Ferreting Out the Fun recently posted…My Favorite Places in ParisMy Profile

  3. Johannes
    May 25, 2015 at 4:49 am - Reply

    Wow that scary lol well it reminded me of being in Malawi … Driving along the main roads to the Lake Malawi there are people standing on the side of the road selling meat something on sticks witch is field mice been deep fried and stuffed on a stick never had it but if given the chance i might just try it ..
    Johannes recently posted…Safety Tips for Business TravelersMy Profile

    • Captain & Clark
      June 12, 2015 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Eeeek! I don’t know if I could do mice on a stick. I might have to give it a try though. For some reason, I have an aversion to eating things that come in “whole” form.
      Captain & Clark recently posted…Eating rodent for lunch in EstoniaMy Profile

  4. Izy Berry
    June 3, 2015 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    Wow you ate beaver!! for the pictures i saw it looks delicious but i will be afraid to eat beaver i dont know why jajaja 🙂

  5. Kieu
    June 3, 2015 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Wait what?! You have an aversion to ALL seafood??? My twinsie heart just sank. But that’s okay so long as we got that “hangry” thing going for us.. lol. On a serious note, what does beaver really taste like — chicken?
    Kieu recently posted…We ate Madrid, with @MadridFoodTourMy Profile

  6. noel
    June 7, 2015 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Thank god you didn’t mention rat, what a strange thing to capture and serve.Unless they have a big beaver population they are trying to eradicate. Oh well, sounds like it was buttery good.
    noel recently posted…Touring warsawMy Profile

  7. Leo Sigh
    June 8, 2015 at 1:42 am - Reply

    I no longer eat meat so this wouldn’t be an option, but it does sound delicious. And the dessert looks lovely.

    Although, frankly, I don’t understand the aversion to seafood 🙂

    • Captain & Clark
      June 12, 2015 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Haha I don’t even understand my aversion to seafood. I’m still waiting for my big girl tastebuds to come in. Hopefully soon 🙂 But yeah, the beaver was… interesting, to say the least.
      Captain & Clark recently posted…Eating rodent for lunch in EstoniaMy Profile

  8. Caroline Achieng Otieno
    June 9, 2015 at 9:18 am - Reply

    When I saw rodent on your instagram I immediately thought of rat..no can do. I’ve never had beaver and I don’t know if I would have eaten it..maybe, as long as it wasn’t rodent huh..

    • Captain & Clark
      June 12, 2015 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      I know… I really don’t think I could have done rat. I mean, even though it’s kind of a smaller version of beaver. It tasted better than I would have ever thought but I really don’t know if it’s something I would ever order on my own 🙂
      Captain & Clark recently posted…Eating rodent for lunch in EstoniaMy Profile

  9. Muhammad jamshaid
    June 12, 2015 at 5:41 am - Reply

    which meat you like to eat we do not eat. i don’t like this. any way you shared an interesting story.you eat rat oh i don’t like to eat it.
    Muhammad jamshaid recently posted…Happy Birthday Quotes for best FriendMy Profile

  10. hotel around stadium
    July 1, 2015 at 4:23 am - Reply

    Wow, the beaver looks absolutely delicious! Would love to try it. 🙂

  11. Rashedun Nabi
    July 3, 2015 at 4:16 am - Reply

    It is delicious food that create a good sence about different menu about rat. It is prepared by special cook for you, by special spice collected around the world that must satisfy your desire from the resturant.
    Rashedun Nabi recently posted…Hiron Points in SundarbonMy Profile

  12. Padatho
    July 18, 2015 at 5:32 am - Reply

    This is most famous travelers to enjoying their destination and make a beautiful trip to eating rodent for lunch in Estonia place to visit………..Thanks

  13. Budget Hotel in Agra
    November 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Wonderful blog posts!

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