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. Common ingredients in Latvian recipes are found locally, such as potatoes, 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.
Common foods and dishes
cheese is traditionally served on the Latvian festival Jāņi
Potatoes and meat are generally considered staple food of Latvians. Soups are commonly made with vegetables and broth or milk. Noodle soup, beet soup and sorrel soup are also consumed by Latvians.
A traditional Latvian cheese is Jāņu siers (caraway cheese); this is traditionally served during the celebration of Jāņi or midsummer. There is also a Latvian version of the smorgasbord, Aukstais galds. Latvia has an original version of pīrāgi, which are baked. Kvass (seen also in picture on the right) is often considered as a traditional Latvian drink, however it is quite popular in neighboring countries as well, and it is hard to establish its origin. Popular alcoholic beverages are beer, vodka and balzam.
Sautéed sauerkraut is a food preparation that was inherited from Germans in the Latvian region. Pickled mushrooms are another Latvian speciality.
Rupjmaize is a dark bread made from rye, and is considered a national staple.
Kliņģeris is a sweet pretzel-shaped bread that is usually served as a dessert on special occasions, such as name day.