Traditional Food In Latvia

traditional food in latvia
| 2 min read

Food doesn’t only curb one’s hunger, but it also reflects a nation’s culture and heritage. A globetrotter cannot just leave a country without indulging in its cuisine; a cuisine that offers a glimpse into the region, the climate, the people and their palate. It should be a must-do for any traveler visiting a country and its various locations. Europe is quite a common travel destination for people from all around the globe. The diverse spread of tribes, cuisines, climates, architectural display, and an impeccable natural view is good enough to make your heart skip a beat. Out of a wide range of options to choose from, Latvia is quite a common pick for its food, waterfalls, and architecture in the entire Europe. Here is a list of the traditional food in Latvia.

1. Rupjmaize (rye bread)

Rye Bread
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you are in Latvia, you ought to try the rye bread. Nonetheless, it is one of the staple food items in the Latvian diet. Prepared with sourdough starter, caraway seeds, and malt, this bread goes well with sweet and savory food accompaniments. As a tradition, Latvians would consume anything available in a particular season (legumes, cereals, root vegetables, dairy, and meat). As rye, among some other crops, was cultivated all around the year, it became a staple. The Latvians believed that no one would starve in the presence of rye bread.

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2. Kūpināta Zivs (smoked fish)

Smoked fish
Source: Pixabay

Since Latvia is surrounded by the Baltic sea and other rivers, having a fish item on the menu is indispensable. People in this region are fond of smoked fish (Kūpināta Zivs) served either hot or cold. Smoke produced by different kinds of woods like birch, alder, or maple can just bring about a completely new character into the dish. A dish turns out delicious if only the fish is caught fresh, grated with salt, marinated with pepper and garlic, and smoked to perfection.

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3. Pelekie zirni speki (stewed pork with a speck)

Pork steak
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user JIP used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Latvian’s respect their local produce - be it their vegetables or meat. Pork is the most-loved meat form in this region and one of its most alluring forms is bacon. Pelekie zirni speki is a preparation made of mashed potatoes and bacon. It is also the Latvian national dish. It is basically a stew cooked together with local grey peas, diced speck, and fried onions. Couple it with Latvian rye bread and you are good to go.

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4. Rūpjmaizes Kārtojums (layered rye bread dessert)

Rupjmaizes kārtojums
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Krists Luhaers used under CC BY 2.0

The presence of well-bred cattle in the region provides its people with the highest quality dairy products such as cheese, milk, and curd. A dessert that highlights the best of both, a rye bread and cream, is the Rūpjmaizes Kārtojums. It looks very similar to a British Isle trifle and hence it is often referred to as Latvian Ambrosia or Sweet Rye Trifle. This preparation makes use of Rupjmaize dark rye bread instead of a sponge cake.

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5. Kvass (non-alcoholic beverage)

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Liftarn used under CC BY 2.5

This is a delicious and one-of-a-kind drink found in the Latvian cities. It is made up of rye bread. Kvass is quite popular in the Eastern European region and is enough to intoxicate the consumer a bit with an alcohol content of less than two percent. This is a healthier alternative to colas, sodas, and beer. Known as the “bread drink” Kvass is brewed with the use of rye bread.

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Best food items of Latvia

Gingerbreads (Latvia)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Saeima used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The climate and its impact on vegetation have quite a huge influence on the kind of food eaten in a particular region. The people of Latvia have created their own comfort food based on not only what suits their palates but also how healthy the food item is for all age groups.

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