It's not all Eurovision, fancy fashion and pancake cafes at Charm Offensive. Sometimes it's nice to have a bit of fun, and explore Estonian-style nostalgia.
Kalev is not the only manufacturer of Estonian confectionary, but it is the most famous. It's been producing the sweets below since the middle of the 20th Century, and although Estonia has been through some tough times, you never forget your first bar of chocolate.
Said by Kalev to be a symbol of feminity, Anneke is one of those sweets where the wrapper has remained pretty much unchanged over the past 50-odd years. A very milky taste, it reminded me of an even meltier Cadbury's Dairy Milk. Perfect for eating with a cup of milky tea, so the tea melts it in your mouth. Or maybe that's just me. This was my favourite bar of those tested; pity I couldn't be seen in public eating girly chocolate!
The bear may have become more svelte, shedding the pounds and gaining a yellow tummy, but the chocolate in Mesi-Käpp remains the medium-milky consistency of old, perfect for a present if you're taking a big bar and don't want it to melt in your bag. The wafer offers a pleasant, crunchy variation, and yet unlike KitKat, the taste is still mostly solid chocolate, and so you never feel like you're being short-changed.
That said, Kalev did come up with the most annoying advert in the history of television for Mesi-Käpp Döps, the biscuit variant not-so-subtly based on Oreo...
"I ate so much of it in Soviet times, because it was the only sweet thing we could have at one point... now, I can't eat it at all." So says a colleague of mine, who experienced the world's only kama (Estonian-style oat flour) bar. As with so many unique foodstuffs, it came about due to necessity and shortage; according to Kalev's website, Kamatahvel was created as a response to the world cocoa crisis at the end of the 1970s.
It's on sale in modern Estonia too, and is considerably cheaper than any other chocolate at your local kiosk. The taste is quite odd at first - like a coffee bar, with the mixture melting almost on contact with the tongue. To chew, it's a little bit chalky and dry compared to conventional bars. But it's not unpleasant, if you can get around the difference between this and your average bar of chocolate.
All of these trips down memory lane are available pretty much anywhere in Estonia. If you have any old-school Estonian food you think we should try, let us know in the comments!