Latvian cuisine

Latvian cuisine typically consists of agricultural products, with meat featuring in most main meal dishes. Fish is commonly consumed due to Latvia's location on the east coast of the Baltic Sea.

Latvian cuisine has been influenced by neighboring countries in the Baltic region.[1] Common ingredients in Latvian recipes are found locally, such as potatoes,[1] wheat, barley, cabbage, onions, eggs and pork. Latvian food is generally quite fatty, and uses few spices.


Contemporary Latvians usually eat three meals a day. Breakfast is normally light and usually consists of sandwiches or an omelette, with a drink, often milk. Lunch is eaten from noon to 3 p.m. and tends to be the main meal of the day; as such it can include a variety of foods, and sometimes also soup as an entrée and a dessert. Supper is the last meal of the day, with some choosing to eat another large meal. Consumption of ready-made or frozen meals is now common.[2]

Common foods and dishes

Latvian cuisine is typical of the Baltic region and, in general, of northern countries. The food is high in butter and fat while staying low in spices except for black pepper, dill or grains/seeds, such as caraway seeds. Latvian cuisine originated from the peasant culture and is strongly based on crops that grow in Latvia's maritime, temperate climate. Rye or wheat, oats, peas, beets, cabbage, pork products and potatoes are the staples. Meat features in most main meal dishes. But fish also is commonly consumed due to Latvia's location on the east coast of the Baltic Sea: smoked and raw fish are quite common. Latvian cuisine offers plenty of varieties of bread and milk products, which are an important part of the cuisine.

The most popular alcoholic beverage is beer.[3] A national liquor is Riga Black Balsam.

Milk products

Caraway cheese is traditionally served on the Latvian festival Jāņi.

Latvia is much richer in milk products than other Western countries. Biezpiens (cottage cheese), skābais krējums (sour cream), rūgušpiens (soured milk) and a lot of varieties of cheeses with different flavors are available. A cheese similar to smoked gouda, but softer, is the cheapest and, arguably, tastiest variety. There are various tastes available for purchase in most grocery stores. A Latvian specialty is the biezpiena sieriņš, which is pressed cottage cheese with a sweet taste (the most popular manufacturers of the snack are Kārums and Baltais). A traditional Latvian cheese is Jāņu siers (caraway cheese); this is traditionally served during the celebration of Jāņi or midsummer.


Soups are commonly made with vegetables and broth or milk. Noodle soup, beet soup, sorrel soup and nettle soup are also consumed by Latvians.[1][4] A traditional Latvian dessert is maizes zupa (literally "bread soup"), which is the sweet soup made from rye bread and fruits.


Rupjmaize is a dark bread made from rye, and is considered a national staple.[5]

Pīrādziņi are buns filled with bacon and onion. Kliņģeris is a sweet pretzel-shaped bread that is usually served as a dessert on special occasions, such as name day. Sklandrausis (or sklandu rausis) is traditional dish in Latvian cuisine which has a Livonian origin; it's a sweet pie, made of rye dough and filled with potato and carrot paste and seasoned with caraway.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Latvian Cuisine." Archived October 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Latvian Institute. Accessed September 2011.
  2. "The Cuisine of Latvia" (PDF). Latvijas Institūts. 2004. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  3. "Latvijā visvairāk dzer alu un šnabi" (in Latvian). 10 February 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  4. "Typical Latvian Food and Drink Recipes." Accessed September 2011.
  5. BBC - Eurovision Song Contest - Guide to Latvia, BBC
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