estonia: 4 posts

Estonia and Denmark Visits : Tallinn and Copenhagen Book Events

I’m delighted to share that my book The Rooster House was selected among “The Best Books of 2023” by Waterstones. I’m grateful for this recognition and I thank all of my readers for your support.

As I mentioned in my previous newsletter, I will be in Estonia and Denmark to speak about The Rooster House. It’s been such a pleasure to meet my readers on these travels, especially those who have been following Bois de Jasmin for years. Your support throughout my journey has been invaluable.

On this note, many thanks to everyone who gave me recommendations for Munich and Leipzig. I had very little free time in Munich, but your suggestions helped me plan efficiently and I managed to get a sense of the city, visit a couple of churches and Alte Pinakothek, which is one of the most impressive museums I’ve seen.

There have been many book news recently, but next week I will have another exciting announcement, so please stay tuned.

Tallinn, Estonia

30.10.23 17.00
Tallinna Viru Keskuse Rahva Raamat

Presentation of Victoria Belim’s book “The Rooster House”.
We are waiting for you on Monday, October 30 at 17:00 at the presentation of Victoria Belim’s book The Rooster House in Viru Keskus Rahva Raamata!

I will be in conversation with Annikky Lamp, the translator of my book and the author of a wonderful blog Life in a Cold Climate. Anniky wrote a thoughtful article about translating The Rooster House and her decision to take on this project: The Rooster House: A Deeply Personal Love Letter to Ukraine.

“The moving memoir tells the story of one family and the whole of Ukraine from the complicated history to the dangerous present. It tells a fascinating story of parents and children, loyal Bolsheviks and victims of communism, gardens and art, mysteries and long-kept secrets.”

You can find more details via https://www.facebook.com/events/773516434464677 and https://rahvaraamat.ee/event/206/et

Copenhagen, Denmark

I will participate in Bogforum in November. Bogforum is one of the largest book fairs in the region and an important event in Denmark. I will be on stage on Saturday, November 4th at 15.20-16.05.

More details via https://program.bogforum.dk/aktivitet/ukraine-i-fokus-victoria-belim/

The Allure of Estonian Birch Tar

“The allure of Estonian birch tar” isn’t a combination of words one encounters often, but I rather like it. My recent article, The Evocative Allure of Birch Tar Perfumes, appears in the FT magazine and celebrates the delicious darkness and smokiness of birch tar, which can add an interesting undercurrent to fragrances and give them a new dimension. From Chanel Cuir de Russie to Juliette has a Gun’s Midnight Oud, this note plays a special role. Birch tar can mimic leather, smoke or even woods.

Yet, my first experience of birch tar came not from a perfume but from a soap I bought as a curio from Tallinn. I enjoyed its smoky aroma so much that I’ve since sourced a similar pine-tar version (€4.95 for 100g) by an Estonian brand called Nurme, and learnt that tar derived from different trees has been used for skincare in Baltic countries for centuries due to its antibacterial and soothing properties. To continue reading, please click here.

Do you like all things dark and smoky?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Estonian Linens and Scents : Snowbird Family Farm

NB: The Snowbird Family Farm is now called Firera Home.

I met Maria of The Snowbird Family Farm via that sometimes praised and sometimes maligned invention called the Instagram hashtag. One day I decided to search for #kama. Kama is one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast or whenever I want a light but filling snack. It’s a cereal powder of malted and toasted grains that in Estonia finds its way into everything, from kefir shakes to chocolate bars. Kama has a delicately smoky, nutty flavor, and I love it mixed into yogurt and topped with honey. It softens, while retaining its pleasing granular texture.

As I discovered in my #kama search, chocolate and ice cream is not the limit, and kama can even be used in soap. A small artisanal outfit Pääsukese talu, which means the ‘Swallow Farm’ in Estonian, made delicious looking blocks of organic soap with kama. Maria, the genie behind the enterprise, assured me that it will exfoliate the skin, and I placed an order for 10 soaps. Since Maria was at that point trying new directions, she soon stopped making soap and instead focused on traditional Estonian linen weaving, a big passion of her mother’s. Eventually they added ceramics from local studios, and that’s how Snowbird Family Farm was born.

Continue reading →

Estonian Blue Tea

The tea in my cup was bright blue. The friend who gave me a herbal mixture for what she called “Estonian Blue Lagoon Tea” promised lots of color, but I still didn’t expect a shade of aquamarine. The taste was refreshing and minty, perfect as both a cooling summer drink and a morning pick me up. I wondered what the famous devotee of herbal teas, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, would make of it. What was this mysterious blue herb?

blue-mallow-tea

Poirot’s detective skills weren’t needed to discover that Estonian tea, or more properly tisane, since it contains no true tea leaves, is made of blue mallow or hollyhock. It’s the same plant that the Roman scholar Pliny recommended for so many ailments that it became known as an omnimorbia, or cure-all, while the feisty Japanese lady-in-waiting Sei Shonagon found its beautiful flowers most unsuitable if worn in frizzled hair. All of this only added to the appeal of my Estonian discovery, which I loved as much for its gorgeous color as its soft floral taste.

Continue reading →

Latest Comments

  • Annie in What is a Rushnyk?: Beautiful! I love the last photo with different rushnyky together. It must have looked so pretty! June 14, 2024 at 10:37am

  • Camilla in What is a Rushnyk?: I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. I always like how you combine personal stories and broader themes. The same reason I really liked your book. I wish I could buy… June 14, 2024 at 10:10am

  • Tourmaline in One Summer Day in Our Ukrainian Village: Dear Marianne, Thank you for your lovely reply. I do try to be cheerful, and your comment leads me to think that you must have enjoyed and remembered some of… June 13, 2024 at 11:59pm

  • Marianne in One Summer Day in Our Ukrainian Village: Hello Tourmaline, it’s lovely to be in contact with you again. I’m sorry to read of your health difficulties, while at the same time smile at your strength and good… June 13, 2024 at 11:12pm

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