Kohuek: Estonia's Beloved Chocolate-Covered Curd Candy

While the small country of Estonia may not currently be on your list of must-try foodie destinations, it probably should be. The Northern European country's traditional fare features plenty of hearty recipes able to get anyone through cold winters, full of meat and bread-filled dishes. But, the Estonian food scene is much more than its well-known rye bread, pork, and vodka. The Baltic nation is also known for its dairy production.

Estonia is famous for its dairy products, including their rich cheeses. In fact, as Estonian World notes, this small country has become the seventh largest cheese producer in the world per capita. So, it's no wonder this dairy-loving nation has one of the most delicious — and cheesiest — desserts around.

Kohuke, meaning "little curd" in Estonian, is a popular chocolate-covered cheese curd snack in the country. These refrigerated bars are undoubtedly delicious, especially for lovers of cheesecake or other similar desserts. They come in dozens of flavors, from blueberry to vanilla to toffee, and they can be found in nearly every grocery store's refrigerated dairy section in the country. Here's why.

History of kohuek

There's no doubt that if you wander through Estonia today that you will quickly come upon this popular snack in no time. However, when it comes to their history and answering the question of why they're so popular, not much is known for sure. These treats are less than a century old, having been first sold in the 1950's during the Soviet Union's reign. They were a coveted item during this time as there were many food shortages, and this rarity drove up their desirability.

As time has gone on, many popular brands have popped up in Estonia that reliably produce dozens of flavors of this tasty dessert bar. Also, many of the nations near Estonia, like Latvia and Lithuania, also have their own brands of kohuke. Some common brands that locals enjoy are Aasa from Lithuanian, Kārums from Latvia, Saare from Estonia's Saaremaa island, and Jeppi and Tere also from Estonia.

Ingredients in kohuek

A classic kohuek is very simple, made with just dried and pressed cheese curds that are mixed with sugar and covered in chocolate. This traditional recipe is often said to taste similar to cheesecake, making it a simple, rich, and sweet treat.

However, there are also a myriad of flavors available that are sure to suit anyone's preferences, from strawberry to coconut to kiwi to even bread which supposedly has a biscuit-like taste, as per Atlas Obscura. These flavorings can be mixed into the cheese evenly, creating a creamy pink, blue or other colored mixture inside the chocolate. Or, the flavoring can also be separated from the cheese. These bars will showcase a white colored cheese surrounding a tube of colorful fruity filling.

While these bars can be easily found in grocery store aisles in Estonia, it is possible to whip up some homemade versions if you don't see yourself jetting off anytime soon.

How kohuek is made and eaten

With minimal ingredients, it's not too difficult to make homemade kohuek, even for new bakers. The first step is to ring out the cheese curds in a towel to make sure they're as dry as possible. Once the moisture is gone, the curds can be mixed with a small amount of sugar and desired flavorings if any. Then, they can be formed into the shape you prefer. Bars are more traditional, but if balls are easier to make then that shape is fine as well.

Once the desired shapes are formed, the cheese can be dipped into melted chocolate. After being completely coated, they can be left to harden. Then, your perfect cheesy dessert is ready to enjoy.

Typically, these confections are eaten as an on-the-go snack or as an easy breakfast for children in Estonia. Some even consider it a great energy bar due to all the protein provided by the cheese. So, whether you're looking for a filling between-meal indulgence or need to feed any small kids you're watching, try out this Estonian dessert to fulfill your needs.