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Kalev - Estonian quality?

Kalev is the Estonian brand which is considered to be best quality. We have visited two of their shops in Tallinn to find out what we think. After trying their marzipan and their handmade pralines we are not so sure. However the marzipan looks amazing.


The History of Kalev

The Estonia company Kalev started 1806 in Tallinn. 1864 the company came into Georg Johann Studes hands. After a while he started to make marzipan figures and handmade chocolate. This became very popular, for instance in the court of the Russian Tsar. Even today the handmade pralines and the marzipan are much appreciated. The marzipan is marvellous, but I would rather look at it than eat it.

Marzipan figures










After company merges with other candy makers during the soviet era the product range changed somewhat. For instance, Kalev was the first producer of chewing gum in Soviet 1968. It was prohibited almost immediately since it was thought to propagate a capitalistic life style. Nowadays Kalev produces cake mixes, liquorish, hard candy, but above all chocolate bars and pralines.


Kalev Chocolate Shop in Rotermann Quarter

Roseni 7, Tallinn

Kalev Chocolate Shop in Rotermann Quarter

This shop has a wide range of products from Kalev. They have present baskets, candies, chocolate boxes, liquorish and handmade pralines. The handmade pralines are very cheap here: 0.29 €. They also have special offers on other products.

Here you can participate in workshops to learn marzipan painting or chocolate making.


Café Maiasmokk

Pikk tn 16, Tallinn

Café Maiasmokk

It was on this address that Kalevs original activity started in 1806. In the café you can buy pastry and bread and in the small shop in the picture they sell handmade pralines and marzipan, as well as a few chocolate bars and present boxes. If you are lucky you will be able to see one of the marzipan artists in work, painting fantastic creations.


A test of Kalevés handmade pralines

The pralines are smaller than the ones I am used to. The prices ranged from 0.29 -0.45 €. I had expected more in terms of quality and got disappointed even though some of them where rather good. A few were however barely acceptable. They are not comparable to most of the handmade pralines I have tried at home in Sweden.

Apple lime

Pralin med &Praline with apple/lime



A tasty praline. The filling was sweet and creamy with pieces of fruit in it.





Praline with Hazelnut



Also a tasty praline with a creamy filling and a whole hazelnut.





Praline with Peppermint


A dark praline with white ganache inside. The lid on the praline were very thick, so there wasn´t a whole lot of truffle inside. However it was good and had a strong flavour that reminded me somewhat of tooth paste.



Cherry Marachino

Praline with Cherry and Marachino



The praline consisted of a cherry marinated in Marachino dipped in chocolate. No ganache. It was ok, but nothing more.






Praline with Orange


A dark praline, with a distinct orange flavour. The consistency was too compact for my taste. It was also ok, but not noting more.





Vana Tallinn

Praline with Vana TallinnA white meaningless praline. The texture was to compact and the ganache tasted only of white chocolate. Vana Tallinn is rom based Estonian herb liquor with elements of vanilla and lemon. The taste of liquor was none existent. Bearing in mind that most of the pralines we have tried before have had a very strong liquor flavour we were somewhat surprised.




Praline with marzipanThe pralines consisted of a piece of marzipan dipped in white or dark chocolate. Even the dark praline was way too sweet. The marzipan was also too grainy even for marzipan. There could be no mistake that they were handmade.

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