A Taste of Estonia
Sweet Red Onion Jam
Story & Photos by Marija Sponza
The first time I had onion jam I didn’t like it. Truth, there is a lot of different kinds and this one, that I didn’t like, was runny with totally inappropriate spice mixture, not too sweet. My next accounter with this jam was completely different.
In a medieval Olde Hansa restaurant in Tallinn (I know, uber touristic, but I just couldn’t live here and not visit it) along with the appetizer came sweet red onion jam. Not sure anymore, but I think I could taste a hint of thyme, or some other herb. The main thing was that the jam was sticky, leaving the taste of molasses on my tongue. Later we had it with the main prepared with deer meat, and some bear sausages, and both times it was a winner. As we went home, we were thinking that the food at the restaurant was not so special, but we could always come back for a bucket of that jam.
Funny thing is, you can buy this jam in a souvenir shop adjacent to the restaurant, a small clay kindofajar for the price of 15 €. And seems like a best seller!!! Some might think that it’s too much for a small jar of onion jam, which actually may be truth, especially when you see how fast, cheap and easy you can make this at home. But, this version I’m giving you today is only a good enough copy, still not as good as the original.
This jam goes best with roasted meats, especially game, as a burger condiment, and with cheeses, which is my favorite way to eat it. It is a strong condiment and although it may seem you will be able to eat a lot, please don’t, this is one of those things when less is more.
On the photos you can see the assembled appetizer on a pieces of heated Estonian leib with jamon serrano, brie cheese and onion jam. This jam goes great with hard cheeses, but I personally like it most with soft white mold cheeses such as brie or camembert.