Where: Lithuania, Baltic northeastern Europe
Staples: Beetroot soups, eel, seafood & pancakes
Best dishes: Zeppelin shaped meat dumplings washed down with mead drink
One of the best things about travel is that you get to try lots of new foods and drink as you spend time in different countries. Here are a few things you might like to taste when you’re in Lithuania:
Ceppelinai – “Zeppelin” Dumplings
A speciality of Lithuania is cepelinai, from the word “zeppelin”. They’re also known as Didzkukuliai, but cepelinai is a lot easier to say! These are dumplings made from potato dough filled with ground beef, milk curd or mushrooms with salt and spices. They are usually shaped a bit like a zeppelin balloon, which is where they get their casual name. You eat them with bacon or melted sour cream and butter sauce. Cepelinai are ideal to eat piping hot in cold winter weather, but careful, as they’re very filling! In the old days they were only served to guests, or when heavy physical work had to be done, but now you’ll find them on the menu in most traditional restaurants.
As you would expect from a European country, people in Lithuania drink coffee, tea, soft drinks, beer and milk. Something a bit different to try is Midus, or mead, a popular Lithuanian drink. It’s a light alcoholic beverage made from honey, and has a distinctive, aromatic flavour. Sula, a beer made from birch tree sap, is drunk at harvest time. Lithuanians also drink gira, a non-alcoholic fermented beverage made from bread.
Other Delicious Dishes
Other traditional dishes to look out for include smoked meat (skilandis), cold beetroot soup (šaltibaršai), which is eaten in summer, warm beetroot soup (barsciai borscht) and potato pancakes (bulviniai blynai). Smoked eel is also a famous Baltic dish.
Honey cake, pastries and ice cream are all delicious desserts you’ll find in Lithuania. If you’re there around Christmas time, try to find a special, seasonal fruitcake known as kisielius.
Gero apetito! (Bon appetit!)
Buy your Latvian rye bread and Lithuanian chocolates
By Isobel Stewart
main image: courtesy of Liberty Dent. Flickr Creative Commons