How The Fidgety Foodie became kind of a big deal in Estonia


Tallinn old town

Something really cool recently happened to The Fidgety Foodie.

It all started with my first Fidgety Foodie post, back in October 2014, about Tallinn Airport. I was so taken by my experience there that I felt compelled to write about it. At that stage I had roughly two followers (thanks mum and dad) so the post came and went without much of a ripple.


The cosiest airport I’ve ever seen

Until a few weeks ago when Tallinn Airport itself picked up on the post and shared it through their social media channels. Next thing I knew Estonia Tourism was promoting it. Then the Estonian Embassy joined the party. Before long my web traffic increased by 3000%. That’s pretty extraordinary for a neophyte like me. Not only was half of Estonia reading my post, but I was getting lovely comments and feedback about the blog. This welcoming reception is what compelled me to write about Tallinn in the first place.

I only wish I’d spent more time in Estonia to have experienced more of this beguiling hospitality. I had a mere 24 hours while travelling between Helsinki and Paris with my stoic Swedish friend Joakim.


Tallinn old town

Estonia is a bit of a quiet achiever. Nestled by fellow Baltic neighbours Latvia and Lithuania, it was the birthplace of Kazaa and Skype, is home to world champion wife-carriers (yes it’s a real sport) and was the first country to win Eurovision with a black singer in 2001.


Helsinki – Tallinn ferry

So what do you do with just 24 hours in one city? It wasn’t long enough to scope out the city like a foodie in my usual depth so I had to prioritise; food markets, supermarket and a wander through the old town were on the agenda once we stepped off the ferry from Helsinki.


Choose a gravestone when you pick up your groceries

We headed to one of the food markets tucked away outside the walls of Tallinn old town. It was a mash up of fresh produce, antiques, Soviet war memorabilia and quite randomly, personalised granite gravestones.


Fresh wild strawberries

Being summer, the berries were in top form and I especially loved the freshly picked wild strawberries.  Don’t be fooled by the size; each specimen offered a perfectly concentrated ball of intense strawberry goodness.


Pretty pastel eggs

I really wanted to buy a carton of these gorgeous pastel coloured eggs but knew that wasn’t the most practical decision while on the road.


Pickle pick-and-mix

My favourite find was this barrel of pickles. I love pickles at the best of times but being able to scoop them out of salty brine at my leisure was strangely thrilling. Read More

Marvellous Market #2: Mercat Olivar, Mallorca


Tucked away in the Balearics, it’s easy to forget that this little island is part of Spain.

Until you walk into the Mercat Olivar produce market in the capital, Palma de Mallorca. One look at the bountiful produce, rows of hanging hams and tapas joints, and memories of Barcelona’s famous Mercado de La Boqueria come flooding back.

This is serious foodie territory.


Rosy red local tomatoes in an assortment of organic shapes

This place is packed with fresh produce, much of it sourced from the island. While my friends are cavorting by the beach, I am frolicking between knobbly tomatoes and mountains of jamón.


Delicious gazpacho with a side of salsa

Before I jump into the serious business of market shopping, I pull up a stool at one of the cafes for a refreshing bowl of gazpacho and side of salsa. I can’t get enough of this chilled tomato concoction, and find that even the pre-packaged versions across Spain are usually damn delicious. Nothing hits the spot better on a hot day.


Tantalising food display

Once revived, I head for the glistening deli goods. Stuffed olives, goat’s cheese, marinated sardines, salami and marinated vegetables are all calling to me. It’s all I can do not to buy a tub of everything and I limit myself to some giant green olives stuffed with almonds.


Locally caught sardines


Rock fish from the region

The fish market branches off the main market and is one of the most sophisticated I’ve come across. Each stand is packed with the fresh catch of the day, from rock fish to sardines (only €3.80 a kilo, so cheap!). Read More

Marvellous Market #1: Dolac Market, Zagreb


Dolac market in Zagreb

Food markets are at the top of my list (literally) when I visit a new town or city. Most fall on a Saturday and it’s crushing when my trip is mid-week and I miss out. First world problem I know.


Local lavender or ‘lavanda’ in Croatian

I’ve been to dozens of fantastic food markets recently, each so marvellous that they deserve their own post. This is the start of a series which will see me cover food markets from London to Stockholm, Mallorca to Sydney.


Fresh produce from Zadarska (Zadar)

I’m kicking off with Zagreb because it may not seem like an obvious choice. The stunning Croatian coastline seems to steal the lion’s share of attention and I know few people who detour inland to see the capital. It took three trips to Croatia before I finally made it to the continental part of the country and I’m pleased I did.



All the action is around Zagreb’s main square, Ban Jelačić, and this includes Dolac, the city’s biggest food market. The bright red umbrellas are a stunning contrast against the azure sky and the whole area is one big mass of colour, excitement, endless chatter and negotiations. And that was around lunchtime; my local sources tell me it’s really mental first thing in the morning. Read More