Best shops with local products in Riga
Everyone probably knows that Riga is famous for its balsam, but what else can you bring back home from Riga? Similarly to other capitals, even in Riga, stores selling local products became more popular and aimed to represent the region’s traditions and craftsmanship. So, if you are considering buying some small gifts, here are several tips on supporting local businesses and getting unique products.
Part of the richness of the Latvian traditions is their national costumes, including mittens. Decorated with detailed patterns and symbols carrying profound wisdom and myths, the beautiful mittens are inherently connected to Latvian culture. Historically, mittens played an important role during different celebrations, especially in the case of weddings where they served as a gift to mother and father-in-law. Every region of Latvia takes pride in its pattern and color combination, so there are plenty of variants to pick from. Nothing screams more “I have been to Latvia” than a beautiful pair of homemade mittens. Arguably, the most famous place to buy mittens in Riga is Sena Klets, which not only sells the mittens but also protects the ancient Latvian tradition. Alongside the mittens, you can also buy a book explaining the meanings behind different patterns and symbols in the store. If you have more time, maybe you could attend one of the knitting workshops they offer. Sena Klets is also very popular among the locals as this is where most Latvians get traditional costumes from special festivals. Another place to buy the mittens is called Tines, which sells hats, scarves, and their own yarn if you dare to knit your own mittens. Unlike Sena Klets, the place is humbler in size and definitely more affordable. If you crave to knit like Latvian, you should visit Hobbywool!
Riga Black Balsam
It seems almost impossible to leave Riga without balsam. Be it history, taste, or unique bottles, balsam usually gets everyone’s attention. You can bring three flavors of balsam as a souvenir: the original, black currant (purple label), and cherry (red label). Considering the initial purpose of the original balsam, you might notice a medicinal taste brought by the herbal ingredients. For this reason, we recommend opting for the other two flavors. You can buy the balsam in stores called Latvijas balzams veikals, which you can find around the town, or in the famous bar in the historical center called Black Magic. If you decide to bring some balsam back home, just keep in mind that it is a very potent alcohol, so be careful!
Linen and pottery
If you wandered around the old town, you might have noticed this little store called Gallery ETMO in Jacob’s Barracks. Once you enter, you will be amazed by the great collection of local products providing the country’s best. Small bowls, cups for coffee, candles, and even linen clothes are all you can find in this hidden store. Another store selling similar products is called Pienene, also located in the old town of Riga. Interestingly, they emphasize ecology greatly; thus, their products usually come from eco-friendly environments and are made from recycled or locally sourced materials. Here, you can buy organic bath products, linens, Latvian wine, or wooden toys for children.
Good luck with your shopping!
This blog was brought to you by Anna, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz in Riga
The image was taken by Anna in Riga