Latvia - Cooking and Food


A long time ago, Latvia was ruled by great powers like Germany, Russia, Poland, or Sweden. As a consequence, it would be no surprise to find out that Latvian cuisine consists of potatoes, Pork, and sour kraut served with a generous sprinkling of dill.


During the 19th century, a plant from North America started to spread quickly and this was the Potato.

As a result of Potato farming, Latvian peasants no longer had food shortages in spring or winter. Another assumption is that in the 19th century the most common Latvian meal consisted of boiled potatoes with cottage cheese and Herring or pilchards.

Nevertheless, even today potatoes, prepared through different methods, still represent a popular component of the Latvian diet. In this region, people have always been involved in fishing, because fish was an integral part of their daily diet.

Cuisines of Latvia

More than 1000 years 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 horsemeat, as well as Deer, beaver, Duck, Goose and wild boar.

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.

Special Equipment for Latvian Cooking

Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Latvian cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Latvian dishes.

You should consider insulated food carriers if you are transporting the food and a full set of kitchen linens and uniforms if you wish to look like a pro.

Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Latvian food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers.

Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking "arsenal".

Latvian Food Traditions and Festivals

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 organizing 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 specialty 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 Jani or the summer solstice when people eat fresh caraway cheese, sweet platter breads, fried sausages, barbecued meat, salads, and drink beer.

People in Latvian Food

Are you into Latvian Cooking and would like to be interviewed?

There are many chefs who creatively use the basic ingredients and cooking methods for traditional Latvian dishes and create original and delicious food variations.

Latvian chefs are passionate about their traditional dishes and they enjoy presenting them to foreigners who have never tasted them before.

Whether they are cooking dishes that go back in time for centuries or brand new, modern dishes, Latvian chefs take pride in what they do, and this is readily noticeable in the unforgettable taste of their cooking.