Guest post by Lithuanian tours company, Baltic Travel
Traditional Lithuanian food is filled with simple, tasty dishes following the traditional saying “who eats well, works well”. In the last 25 years, there have been more fruits and vegetables available across the four seasons. Before that, the food served reflected the time of the year. Lithuanian dishes often contain potatoes, rye, beet roots, mushrooms, dairy and meat. Below are seven traditional Lithuanian dishes.
Minced meat is stuffed into pig stomach with garlic. It is then cold-smoked and matured. Many smoked meat products are popular in Lithuania.
Šaltibarščiai / Barsciai Borscht (Cold / Warm Beetroot Soup)
Cold borscht for summer contains shredded beets, cucumber, dill, and green onions with cold soured milk or kefir. Sides are most often potatoes either hot boiled or fried, or a sliced hard-boiled egg. Barsciai borscht, hot beet soup, is the winter counterpart, served either without cream or with sour cream or buttermilk and mushrooms.
Juoda Duona - Black Rye Bread
Bread has played a role in rituals and ceremonies throughout Lithuanian culture. The dark rye bread is fragrant and heavy. It can be served with any meal of the day, though it is not seen as often these days.
This traditional drink is also popular in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe. It is made from the black rye bread and is considered a soft drink despite the alcohol content, about 0.05 to 1.5%. This unique-flavoured beverage may have fruit, raisins, berries or birch sap added.
Didžkukuliai or Cepelinai
Cepelinai are large potato dumplings stuffed with meat. A vegetarian alternative uses curd filling instead of meat. It’s generally served with sour cream, mushrooms, or pork rind called spirgai.
Potato Pancakes - Bulviniai Blynai
Potato pancakes are often served with sour cream or mushrooms. The pancake is closer to a crepe. They can be made from yeast-risen batter or be very thin.
Kūčiukai or šližikai
Small pastry rolls baked and served with poppy milk and served on Christmas eve. Leavened dough is used with the milk from crushed soaked poppy seeds and sweetened with sugar or honey.
These rich Lithuanian dishes are the hallmark of a society that loves to eat and shares that love by cooking and serving others. The simple flavours are combined for a variety of unique, tasty dishes that provide a cultural highlight of any visit to the Baltic nation of Lithuania.
Photo Credits: Trakai Castle, Skilandis, Šaltibarščiai, Black Rye Bread, Gira, Cepelinai, Potato Pancakes, Kūčiukai