TALLINN – The French restaurant guide The Michelin Guide announced on Thursday that it is about to start covering Estonia, and on May 25 the names of the first Estonian restaurants that have made it to the Michelin guide will be announced.
"Set within the Gulf of Finland, in the heart of the Baltic region, Estonia connects the cultural dots between Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe," Michelin Guide said in a press release.
It also said that the taste for diversity, artisan products and local ingredients also exert a distinct influence on the Estonian kitchen and its ambitious young chefs.
Michelin Guide said its inspectors have been following Estonia's culinary scene for the last few years and are delighted to reveal that this latest selection brings the total number of destinations covered by the Michelin Guide to 37. Estonia joined Belgrade and Dubai as the most recent culinary destinations to be covered by the Michelin Guide.
Spokespeople for the joint institution of Enterprise Estonia and Kredex described the move as a major reputational gain for the Estonian tourism sector.
"Joining the Michelin family makes us more internationally known, understandable and comparable -- and also emphasizes our values and specificities. Cutting-edge food culture is one of the most important reasons why people travel to a specific place," Estonia's Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Andres Sutt said in a press release.
Gwendal Poullennec, international director of Michelin Guides, said that the Estonian gastronomic landscape, although still relatively unknown to many, carries strong traditions with exciting influences, and top chefs with an innovative approach interpret Estonia's culinary heritage in the most contemporary way.
According to information published on the Visit Estonia website, The Michelin Guide is recommending more than 15,000 restaurants in total, of which about a fifth are starred restaurants.
The best restaurants are announced every year. The highest recognition is the Michelin stars, of which up to three can be awarded to a restaurant. If the restaurant doesn't qualify for a star but is still judged to be good, it is featured in the guide with one of two alternative distinctions -- Bib Gourmand or Michelin Green Star.
Michelin inspectors are always anonymous, they do not introduce themselves to the restaurant and pay for the food themselves.