|Traditional foods of Lithuania|
|Parašė Greta Kaikarytė|
Traditional foods of Lithuania Nothing else can characterize the nation better as its cuisine. In this respect Lithuanian culinary traditions are the brightest in Eastern Europe. It’s not a secret that Lithuanians like to eat good, tasty and a lot of food. It is said about Lithuanian cooks that a good cook can create delicious food just by using simple ingredients. Lithuanian cuisine is pretty simple but has a variety of interesting dishes. Potatoes, rye, beet root, various meat, mushrooms and dairy products are often used when preparing Lithuanian food. It’s amazing how much food can be found in the Lithuanian cook’s kitchen. When you are the guest in Lithuanian house, it is possible to eat too much because the food is just too good to be left in the plate! Here are some of traditional and personally, our favorite Lithuanian food!
Cepelinai (Zeppelins) Zeppelins are probably the most popular dish in Lithuania. Zeppelins are big, round shaped dumplings made from potatoes and stuffed meat inside of them. They are usually served with mushroom sour cream or “spirgai” ( a cream with little pork beats in it). Let’s not forget vegetarians. There is special type of cepelinai for them. Instead of meat they put curd filling inside.
Juoda duona (Black rye bread) This kind of bread is probably the oldest Lithuanian traditional food. Lithuanian dark rye bread is fresh, delicious, heavy fragrant and can be eaten during breakfast, lunch, dinner or even as an appetizer. However, it isn’t as popular in these days as it was before.
Šaltibarščiai (Cold Borscht aka Beetroot Soup) Beetroot soup is a popular summer soup because it‘s cold. It‘s made from boiled eggs, cooked shredded beets, cucumber, dill and green onions. All the ingredients are put into a large pot and cold soured milk or kefir is added. This soup is served with boiled or fried potatoes on the side.
Bulviniai blynai (Potato pancakes) These pancakes are one of many Lithuanian dishes made from potatoes. Sometimes the meat filling is put inside. Potato pancakes are usually served with sour or mushroom cream. They are oh-so-yummy so don’t mind the great amount of calories!
Balandėliai („Little Doves“) This dish is made from cabbage leave stuffed with a minced meat, rice and onion filling. They are often served with fresh vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumber and smashed potatoes. Let’s not forget our beloved sour cream which works perfectly with the delicious little doves.
Grybienė ( Mushroom soup) Mushrooms are very popular in Lithuania so it’s sky clear that they’re used in daily basics. Mushroom is soup is usually made from sour cream, various spices, ceps, chanterelles and other mushrooms. It’s often eaten with the slice of dark rye bread.
Varškės sūris (Cottage Cheese) Cottage cheese dishes are very popular in Lithuania and it’s usually triangular shape. There are different types of cottage cheese. It can be eaten as an appetizer with dark rye bread or even as a desert with strawberry jam. Sometimes Lithuanians put jello bits in it.
Šaltanosiai (Bilberry Dumplings) Dumplings are prepared with a mixture of bilberries. This dish is usually served with sour cream. Dumplings are called saltanosiai because of their light blue color. Bilberries color permeates out of the dumplings inside and they remind a frostbitten nose.
Gira (Kvas) Gira is a fermented drink made from black rye bread. It is considered a soft drink but contains some alcohol (0.05-1.5%) due to natural fermentation process. Gira has a unique flavor, contains a lot of vitamin B and is a great drink for a hot day. Prepared by: Greta Kaikarytė