20 March, 2014
Latvia suffers a harsh climate of long, cold winters and short but warm summers, so their traditional food reflects this, with an agricultural diet of crops and meat, including fish, with few spices and many calories to support an agricultural lifestyle.
Latvians have always been great fans of dairy products as well, and cottage cheese, cream and butter used to be eaten in every house at almost every meal, and this tradition has continued! Traditional dishes include grey peas with bacon, traditional bacon rolls called Pīrāgi, rye bread and potato pancakes. Although characteristically without many strong spices, Latvian food cannot be described as bland!
Latvian cuisine has been influenced by its neighbouring countries, and one of the most popular foods today is German sautéed sauerkraut!
Food and meal times come with their own beliefs and customs as well. One of the most important features of Latvian etiquette is to offer food to the people around you if you’re eating. Latvians really like their bread and in many homes, the first slice from a loaf of bread is known as the “farmer’s son”, for which young women compete, in order to eat it and marry a farmer’s son, a man with his own home and farm! A loaf should also be sliced from the fatter end, so that the eldest daughter will be the first to marry!
Be wary of putting too much salt in your cooking in Latvia: every Latvian knows that if there’s too much salt in a dish, the chef is in love! Be prepared to answer many questions about your significant other if you over salt a meal!