Northern exposure, 01

Getting back into normal gear is proving pretty impossible. August in Madrid can be so nice. Nobody´s at work, and the ones who are are just want to stay quiet, and let the dogs sleep til September. And the weather is beautiful, balmy and breezy. We might almost be in Estonia.
J and I agree that this has been our best holiday ever. No contest. It was perfect.
The cottage we rented was even better than the description on the website. The garden was huge, the forest was lush, the wayside was peppered with wild raspberry, the sea right in front was full of swans lazily swimming about, and once a moose ambled out of the forest and over a field, right before our eyes.
Best of all, we´ve had the best times with Pille and Kristjan. I can´t think of anyone who could have shown us Estonia in such a beautiful light. We couldn´t have hoped for better hosts, more fun or more generous.
And of course, being food bloggers, perfectly happy to spend hours talking about food.
As soon as we arrived we had dinner at one of the best places in Tallinn, the famous Old Hansa restaurant in the old town. And that was great. But everything paled to insignificance before the next day, which I think was the perfect Saturday.
It started with Kristjan making a batch of pancakes, light and lacy and golden (J, take note). Later, we met his mother, Vaike, a wonderful lady with the brightest blue eyed and the springiest step I´ve ever seen. We were cautioned against trying to follow her during the mushroom and berry hunt, as there was little hope of us ever catching up. I agreed, wistfully. I can never keep up with anyone, ever, since I´m lazy and easily distracted by any passing insect.
Still and all, let me tell you that with some careful guidance from our hosts, we were able to keep our end up pretty well. I was the first to fill my basket. Sure, it was the smallest, but still, I´m very chuffed.
We found lots of stuff that those of you who follow Pille´s blog will already have seen. Also the goodies made with them. A scroll down her blog is best here, since I can´t do justice to the situation, plus, I have no photos.
I was too taken up with the excitement of it all. Here in Spain we have mushrooms, but in October and November. And no berries, ever, so that the idea of a forest sprouting little red edible beads seems too wonderful. K&P reckon picking a lemon from your backyard tree must beat everything, but I don´t agree. Maybe I´m blasé about citrus, but after all, you don´t hunt down lemons, so how can that be exciting?
Anyway, we came back tired but happy, with heaping baskets and buckets. I very sneakily left the prepping of the mushrooms to the rest, and after making a quick batch of gazpacho, retired to draw the day´s findings, helped by K in the identifying.
More friends came for dinner. We tried the three types of mushrooms, perfectly sauteed by Pille, couldn´t decide which was best, so came back for more and more, and then for a crowning touch, had a pudding consisting of cloudberries with squeaky cheese. An exotic and wonderful end to a wonderful day.
(Thanks so much, again, Pille and Kristjan. I hope we may show you as good a time here in Spain soon.)

11 comentarios:

Pille dijo...

You and J. were such excellent guests, so it was easy to be a good host, dear Ximena! And yes, Spain in spring sounds delicious!

bea at la tartine gourmande dijo...

ah, you make me want to go on a vacation now....we are off to Block Island in RI next weekend, so I should not complain, should I? ;-)
Lovely lovely. Always love your drawings, they always make me smile.

Lydia dijo...

It has been such fun to read both from you and from Pille of your visit together. Wish I'd been there too...

xps dijo...

Los dibujos de este viaje son maravillosos, porque el colorido es tan bonito, y el sitio tan distinto a lo habitual...

joey dijo...

It really does sound like the perfect holiday! Living in Asia, wild forest mushrooms and berries are even further off...just something of my imaginings :) And how nice to hang around and eat with Pille! I'm sure she was a fantastic host :)

Your mushroom and cloudberry drawings are lovely!

lobstersquad dijo...
Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.
lobstersquad dijo...

pille: spain is pretty good in spring, I´m sure we´ll work something out.
bea: blod island sounds a sight better than madrid, I can tell you! I hope you have fun
lydia: well, maybe we´ll all meet up, I have great faith in the sociability of food bloggers
joey: I know what you mean, the exoticness of northern europe is really quite something.

Julie dijo...

That sounds like the most idyllic of vacation spots. And then getting to go mushroom hunting and getting together for cooking sounds like a perfect way to spend time in such an idyllic place. How wonderful!

ann dijo...

Oh, the pictures of those mushrooms are so divine! I have a mushroom theme in my kitchen and these would look so perfect on my walls. you wouldn't mind sending them to New York, no? just kidding.
The travelogue of your adventures are so wonderful, thank you so much for sharing!

vanessa dijo...

foraging wild mushrooms is a great hobby, even if I don't turn out anything substantial. But berries? Never found them. The bears get to them before I do.

Ximena, I do enjoy your posts. Your illustrations tingle a part of my brain that's so bored with work, usually. Thank you for your posts.

Naomi dijo...

Oh I don't know, the minute you say "picking a lemon from your backyard tree" I can smell that golden smell of lemons ... but I live in Australia. There's no berry-beads in our forest so how can I compare?