PHOTO: Traditional Butter Making at Open Air Museum in Tallinn, Estonia

Traditional butter making at Estonian Open Air Museum in Tallinn, Estonia

Good fortune was with me during my visit to the capital city of Estonia. It coincided with the Day of Estonian Bread and Autumn Fair at the Estonian Open Air Museum in Tallinn. With its authentic collection of farms, windmills, watermills, houses, and chapels from all geographic regions of Estonia, the outdoor museum is well worth a visit any time of the year. Eight workshops in the center allow visitors to witness traditional means of producing ethnographic and polychromic wood, furniture, painting, leather, textile, ceramics, metal, and paper restoration.

During the Autumn Fair, the focus was on bread making, with a very competitive contest to choose the best traditional black bread. Of course, no bread competition would be complete without a generous dollop of butter. Women in one of the traditional farmhouses demonstrated traditional methods of butter making. I was exhausted just from watching the manual labor involved in churning and folding cream into butter. But when the last bit of liquid had been squeezed from the daffodil-hued butter, we were encouraged to dip into it with our crusty bread. It was definitely worth the wait. The Estonian Open Air Museum in Tallinn is located a short distance outside the historic center and is open year-round. It offers a full schedule of family-friendly events, seminars, and exhibitions throughout the year.

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