A prominent chef and champion of Estonian food says the Tallinn sprat is not only a delicacy, it deserves intellectual property protection.
Dmitri Demjanov told Postimees he had discovered that the marinated fish was featured in a book called "1000 Things to Eat Before You Die," although it is relatively unheralded at home.
"And the right to use the designation Tallinna kilu (Tallinn sprat) should be given only to those who prepare it from the fatty sprat caught during the spring and fall catch, as that is when it is at its best," said Demjanov.
Tallinn sprats come in a can bearing an iconic image of the Tallinn skyline and are in a marinade containing a variety of spices, including cloves.
Demjanov said at least four types of national cuisine should be represented in Estonia. These are coastal cuisine with sprat and Baltic herring in the spotlight; southern Estonian home cooking, central Estonian (Mulk) style, and Seto and Old Believers' cuisine. "Fish is not only food for Estonians, it is part of our culture and history," he said.