Cuisine in Latvia, Latvia food Cuisine - Allo' Expat Latvia
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Latvia Cuisine
 
 
 
 
 

More than a century ago, the Latvian inhabitants subsisted mainly from grains like wheat, rye, oats, barley, hemp and millet. These grains contributed to the production of porridges, patties and leavened bread. The Latvians were used to consume beans, peas, black radishes, turnips, linseed, garlic and wild carrots. Once their agriculture started to develop, the Latvian people began eating beef, fowl, pork and horse meat, as well as deer, beaver, duck, goose and wild boar. Since Latvia is situated on the east coast of the Baltic Sea, fish dishes are also often served.

Caraway seeds, garlic, onions and white mustard are the most important ingredients in the Latvian cuisine. In order to sweeten some delicacies, the Latvians usually use honey, and the most popular dessert consists of hazelnuts and berries. Latvian cuisine resembles the cuisines of Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania, and other common ingredients are wheat, cabbage, barley, eggs, bacon and black peas.

A traditional Latvian cheese is kimeņu siers (caraway cheese); this is traditionally served during the celebration of Jāņi or midsummer. Other dishes are borshch (beet soup), and sauerkraut. There is also a Latvian version of the smorgasbord, Aukstais galds. Latvia has an original version of pīrāgi. Latvian pīrāgi are of the baked variety. Pickled mushrooms are also a Latvian speciality.

Almost all Latvian celebrations are related to seasonal events and to the rhythm of farming in the northern hemisphere. In autumn, the Latvians celebrate the harvest festival by organising a special feast where every person makes a wish while eating bread. Also, domestic animals are slaughtered and meat is salted and dried, or made into sausages. Another Latvian speciality is bacon rolls or piragi filled with diced fatty bacon and onion.

On Christmas dinner, today’s most popular dish is boiled grey peas with fatty bacon and fried meat, which are served near a coup of ruguspiens or kefirs, which means cultured or curdled milk. Easter, which coincides with the spring solstice, represents a special occasion to eat boiled eggs coloured with brown onion skins or parsley leaves. Anyway, the most important Latvian celebration of nowadays is Jāņi, when people eat fresh caraway cheese, sweet platter breads, fried sausages, barbecued meat, salads, and drink beer.