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By RigaNOW!. 29.01.2016


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The cuisine of Lithuanians, Latvia’s neighbouring nation and language’s brothers, is very diverse and rich with interesting dishes. Each region is known for its particular, ancient-time recipes. The characteristic feature of Lithuanian cuisine is different soups – hot for warming up during cold weather and cold for refreshing during hot weather! Since ancient times Lithuanians have eaten crops, meat, dairy produce, as well as vegetables, fruits and forest produce. Similarly to Latvia, rye bread is very appreciated in this country.

Lithuanians, as well as Latvians have never lived in isolation, which is reflected in their cuisine. During the ancient times, several recipes were borrowed from neighbouring nations. Some of the recipes have changed or adjusted over time and now are not considered to be dishes of foreign cuisine. It may seem rather strange, but some texts in Lithuanian recorded history contain information that such dishes as pelmeni, vareniki, khinkali and others, which we consider to be the dishes of other nations, Lithuanians considered as the dishes of their national cuisine since the middle ages. For example, a baked potato pudding Kugelis was borrowed from German cuisine, and now it is cooked by all Lithuanians. It appears that two Lithuanian dishes are the most popular in Latvia. The first is zeppelins – something similar to Latvian potato dumplings, but at the same time very different; usually it is stuffed with meat or liver. The second is a baked potato pudding Kugelis which is cooked from grated potatoes by adding eggs, cottage cheese and lard, and baking in an oven. These two dishes cause contradictory feelings in foreigners, including Latvians – some are delighted, whereas other completely deny the dishes. Nevertheless, it can be understood, since even though the cooking methods differ only slightly, the result is altogether diverse.


Why does Latvian magazine write about Lithuanian cuisine? Because recently the new restaurant “Milda” was opened in the Upīša Arcade, almost in the centre of Riga. The restaurant offers Latvian, as well as Lithuanian cuisine, which is rather significant. Even though it might sound a little unbelievably, since Latvians and Lithuanians are neighbouring nations, but it is the first and, meanwhile, the only restaurant that specializes on Lithuanian cuisine. There is a quite logical explanation! The owners of the restaurant, who at the same time also are managers and chefs, are mother and daughter – Rasa and Evelīna Bačiauskaites whose native town is Klaipeda in Lithuania. It is happened that they live in Riga; therefore, thinking about their business, they decided to offer to the visitors of Riga the delicacies of their native cuisine! Another reason is that they are familiar with the restaurant business and have sufficient experience in the service sector, also in other European countries.

Telling about the concept of the restaurant “Milda”, Evelīna emphasizes that lately so popular ‘exoticness’ in Riga’s restaurants like, for instance, dorades or shrimps will not be offered here. Instead of ‘mainstream’ dishes, in the restaurant “Milda” you can enjoy many dishes of classical Lithuanian cuisine which, of course, has some contemporary accents. For example, the well known zeppelins with a sauce of your choice – speck cream sauce, roasted bacon sauce with onions, or forest mushroom sauce /5.00 euro/. Already mentioned wonder Kugelis – grated potato pie with smoked pig ears and bacon, supplemented, similarly to zeppelins, with a sauce of your choice /7.50 euro/. However, you will have to wait 30 minutes for this dish because it is baked in an oven and served hot! Evelīna emphasizes that “Milda” uses fresh, seasonal and natural ingredients. Each order is prepared individually; therefore, the food retains its value and is authentic, as it was and still is cooked in Lithuanian homes.

While waiting for hot meal, you can taste onion rings with sweet chilli sauce /3.50 euro/ or try grey peas with speck, which is the dish of Latvian cuisine /4.00 euro/. For dessert, of course, you should try Latvian traditional dainty – bread soup with dry fruits and whipped cream /3.00 euro/.

By the way, Lithuania is a real heaven for beer lovers. The country produce tens of different trademarks of this amazing drink, since Lithuanians, as well as Latvians have been fond of beer since ancient times. More often it is produced from barley, and seldom from rye and wheat. To obtain higher foaminess, pea flour sometimes is added to a malt. Nevertheless, Samogitians frequently make beer from dried bread, hops and sugar. Kvass also is produced from dried bread. In the ancient times this process was performed solely by men. But, enough talks about beer, drink it! “Milda” offers you to choose from 16 beer types. Of course, Latvian brewage is available as well. The owners of the restaurant inform that soon there will be a peculiar ‘beer cabinet’ with at least 100 Lithuanian and Latvian beer types!

The restaurant “Milda” is small and cosy – perfect for family lunch or dinner. After all, the owners also is a family; therefore, you will feel here like home. In the restaurant prevails minimalism, however, the atmosphere is not cold, but warm. The accent is made on chocolate brown, beige, as well as black and white tones which together with wide windows create calm, cosy, but at the same time elegant atmosphere. Possibly, the significant role is played by specially designed furniture which was ‘inherited’ by the owners – several months ago another restaurant was at the same place. By the way, the owners were the same! Now, the concept of the restaurant is different which, truly speaking, is more successful than the previous one. As a disadvantage, we can name not very wide assortment. There are not many snacks, soups and main courses. Nevertheless, Evelīna guarantees that every day the menu of “Milda” is being supplemented and soon, even before the magazine is published, the assortment will be richer! In any case, the place is pleasant, the food is delicious and the service professional.. Moreover, while visiting Riga, you have an opportunity to enjoy Lithuania as well – in terms of cuisine!


Cold jellied meat served with hot potatoes and vinegar sauce 4.00 euro

Sauerkraut soup with smoked pork ribs served with boiled potatoes 4.50 euro

Potato pancakes served with herbed cottage cheese and smoked salmon 7.50 euro

Aly Chiman 02.01.2019 12:44

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