Traveling around the Baltics I found a new part of Europe that fascinated me – I was amazed how I could be brought up in a neighboring country like Sweden, and yet never give these countries a thought, and I know I wasn’t the only one – in fact I knew nobody who had actually been there.
In the Baltic countries I found both a new culture and a new cuisine that I didn’t know existed.
Riga was the city in which we found the best examples of traditional Baltic cuisine.
Lido, a network of 8 restaurants in the city, was a great place to sample traditional food for a cheap price.
The food was stable and hearty, but unlike German food there were some surprising spices and flavors to the cuisine.
The Baltic food is no-nonsense kind of food – they put little effort on the presentation, but it tastes damn good and it fills you up, which is what a meal should do.
I was hesitant to try the food at first, but once I got over myself and tried that purple, slushy, cold soup I trusted that the people knew what they were doing and went with it – they even made cabbage and buckwheat actually taste good..!
I found some new favorite foods there, and the home made Kvass drink which we found people selling on every street corner is a drink I will really miss.
The infamous Kvass which we loved so much was once banned for many years but was back on the streets again in 1998 and is today the most preferred drink in the country.
If you ever visit, don’t miss out on trying this so called “bread drink” made from fermented black bread!
But when it comes to attractions and beauty, I have to be honest and say that Riga wasn’t as fortunate as its neighboring capitals Vilnius or Tallinn.
A lot of tourists come to Riga on a cruise ship and the city is great at marketing itself – advertising cheap holidays online and promoting Riga as “a mixture of both Tallinn and Vilnius”.
This is partly true – but to really get the best experience from this area, you must visit all 3 cities and go to Tallinn for the beauty and its friendly people, go to Riga for the great food and visit Vilnius for the interesting attractions.
Have you been to Riga, and if so, what did you think?