5 Latvian delicacies every foodie should know

5 Latvian delicacies every foodie should know
08 July 2024

Latvia is a country fit for foodies. A fusion of European and Russian cuisine, the Latvian national cuisine is based on high-quality ingredients typical of Latvia. Here is a list of 5 Latvian delicacies every foodie should know!

Grey Peas

Although grey peas are particularly popular for Christmas, you can find them anytime of the year in Riga. Every traditional Latvian restaurant will have it on its menu. Grey peas are usually served with fried bacon. Peas were the main dish of Latvian cuisine before potatoes were widely introduced in the country in the 19th century.


European sprat, also known as the Russian sardine, is a small fish that can be found in cold Baltic waters. Smaller than a sardine, it is commonly found in cans with oil and/or marinade. It can be consumed on bread with butter, but it can also be fried, grilled or baked. Latvia was the main sprat-supplier of the Soviet Union!

Laima Chocolate

While the vast majority of people would think of Switzerland and Belgium as the greatest chocolate-producers, Latvia also has its renowned chocolate factory. The Laima chocolate factory was the biggest confectionery producer of the Baltic states. It became a landmark company for Latvia, with the Laima clock located next to the Independence monument being a symbol of Riga. Laima even opened a museum in Riga! The chocolate Serenāde is the most famous product of the brand, with a recipe unchanged since 1937.

Curd snacks

Although сырок (curd snacks) is part of Russian cuisine, Latvia has mastered the production of delicious versions of it. Karums is the most famous brand for сырок in Latvia. Alongside classical flavours (vanila, chocolate, caramel…), it has also developed a range of more exotic ones, like mango, lemon, coconut and kiwi. 

Latvian Black Balsam

Any article about Latvian delicacies would not be complete without mentioning the Black Balsam. Often referred to as the national drink of Latvia, the recipe invented during the 18th Century is kept as an industrial secret. Balsam is a liquor drink that can be added to coffee, tea or water. Renowned throughout the world, Latvian Black Balsam won more than 100 awards and millions of bottles are produced every year.


This article was brought to you by Theo, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Riga.

Feature image of this article, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, was taken by JIP.


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