The Oldest Pharmacy in Europe and a kind of Hot Chocolate at Kehrwieder, Tallinn, Estonia

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Kehrwieder is located right off of the Town Hall square in the heart of the Tallinn old town. The cobblestone square is lined with restaurants with big terraces that wre filled with locals and tourists enjoying the sun. In the summer the center of the square is filled with stalls selling local fare. At Christmas this transforms into a Christmas market with a giant decorated tree towering in the middle.

Just to one side of the square is the Raeapteck pharmacy, the oldest continuously running pharmacy in Europe. It has been in business since the early 15th century. Back then they sold all sorts of medieval “medicines”, mommy juice (powder made of overseas mummies mixed with liquid), burnt hedgehog powder, burnt bees, bat powder, snakeskin potion and unicorn horn powder. Today they sell aspirin and bandaids, but evidence still remains of these traditional medicines in a small museum attached to the main pharmacy. Worth a quick visit.

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I’m used to having bad hot chocolates, and after this one I may need to pass by and pick up a traditional potion of some sort to calm myself. The reality is that for every beautiful hot chocolate I have, there are about half a dozen bad ones. That’s why I do as much research as I can before I travel. So I get frustrated, and understandably so in my opinion, when a place that should absolutely have a good hot chocolate has a terrible hot chocolate. This is sadly the case with Kehrwieder.

On my walk home from Kehrwieder I had decided to just tear the place apart due to my extreme disappointment, but I have calmed down (mostly because I did find a very nice hot chocolate a block away, next review on that). Kehrwieder is the coolest café. Perfectly located on the town square with a typical tourist loving terrace, you would have no idea what was inside unless you ventured in. Inside it feels like you have travelled back in time into a series of caves filled with colourful but very warm furniture, with each cave more interesting than the next. There is a piano just asking to be played and countless cozy corners to meet up with friends in. If I lived in Tallinn I would camp out here and do my writing. EXCEPT that they have an absolutely terrible hot chocolate. It was as if they used children’s sugary chocolate syrup squeezed into warm milk served in a tall glass with a straw. The reason that this is ridiculous is that apart from being a café, Kehrwieder is one of the most popular chocolate shops in town. They sell chocolate all over the city and even advertise on the café window that they use their chocolate in the café … but not for their hot chocolate! I asked three different staff members, and all said they use a commercial chocolate syrup. Why would a chocolate shop do such a thing?

So I review Kehrwieder with a mixed heart. It is a fantastic space but really? I just can’t get over it (I’m obviously too emotionally attached to my hot chocolates).

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Verdict: Everything is fantastic about Kehrwieder, the café, the neighbourhood, the pharmacy next door, the view of town square, everything except the hot chocolate. Ahhh! Kehrwieder, Tallinn, Estonia

2017-01-04T22:41:03+00:00 April 19th, 2016|Estonia, Tallinn|

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