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Baltic Food - a melting pot of culinary influences
Baltic Food - a melting pot of culinary influences

Today, the Baltic cuisine is a melting pot of culinary influences but the past can be detected in its recipes. Hearty meat dishes reflect the harsh climate and of course, the Baltic Sea still provides bountiful catches of a wide variety of fresh fish. Latvians long ago mastered the art of preserving food, so look out for delicious pickled vegetables, salted meat and smoked fish. You're sure to find something to tempt your palate!

Latvia's 500 kilometre coastline is strewn with fishing villages that provide the country's restaurants and cafes with fresh eels, flounders, lampreys, cod, and of course herring.

In the fish pavilion of Riga central market, you'll find a wide variety of fresh and smoked fish. The market even has its own smokery in the basement. Herring is a favourite and smoked sprats in oil are a traditional delicacy in Riga.

Executive Chef of Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga's Amber Restaurant, Svetlana Riskova, is the founder and member of the Latvian Chef's Club Board, and a winner of the Baltic Culinary Heritage Award. In addition to her exceptional bend of contemporary Nordic and Latvian cuisine, she has also created the "From the past to the present time" menu. Each dish honours and gives new flavour too much loved Latvian dishes, such as traditional "Sklandrausis" pies with carrot and potato stuffing.

The seasonal produce displayed on the stalls of Riga central market is like an unofficial calendar bringing a particular array of colours, smells and flavours depending on the time of the year. Look out too for pickled vegetables, and jams made from fruits gathered in summer, which can be bought in jars. You find salted meat and smoked fish too, and Latvian black bread is an unmissable treat - sweet or sour.

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