FEATURE: Welcome to Latvia
Spotted with lush forests and pristine lakes, Latvia is a country where old meets new. Located between Estonia, Lithuania, and Russia, it offers visitors a peaceful balance between the bustling cosmopolitan city life in its capital, Riga and peaceful solitude in the country’s unspoilt natural landscape.
Covering an area of 64,589 square kilometers, to call Latvia’s nature pristine is no exaggeration. Here you can enjoy everything from hiking to bird watching. Just an hour’s drive from the capital lies some of the country’s most impressive architectural monuments. Spend a night or dine in one of the many historical manors dotted throughout the countryside. Enjoy the amazing landscapes of Gauja National Park, or soak in the tranquillity and beauty of any of Latvia’s beaches along the Gulf of Riga.
Food and drink tasting
Hemp farm “Adzelviesi”
The farm grows hemp from which it produces butter, roughly ground seeds and oil. The granary, which is 101 years old, features antique instruments once used to process hemp fibres. Visitors can taste and purchase delicious produce and take an exciting tour which tells the history of hemp farming.
Laci brand bread is popular in Latvia and abroad because the bakery uses ancient mastery and skills. You can take a tour of the bakery, knead and bake your own little loaf of bread, have lunch at the cosy diner and purchase fresh goods from the bakery. Laci uses its own ingredients in its dishes, combining them with seasonal produce from local farms.
Adzelviesi and Laci
Country house “Donas”
The bread at Donas is baked according to ancient traditions. The dough is scalded in a trough, kneaded by hand and lovingly shaped into loaves that are baked in a real wood stove on maple leaves. You can prepare your own loaf and take it home with you. Visitors are also offered other rural Latvian dishes, such as dried meat patties and black pudding. There are also 17 different types of cheeses.
Factory and museum “Pure Chocolate”
Pure Chocolate Factory produces various types of stuffed truffles. The museum sheds light on the history of chocolate and the steps it takes to get from raw material to finished product. You can also prepare and taste your own sweet treat at the creative workshop. There is a little store next door to the museum.
Donas, Pure Chocolate and Skriveru Saldumi
Sweets “Skriveru Saldumi”
The company produces a popular sweet known as “Skriveru Gotiņa” (Skriveri Cow) and has a sweet-making workshop where visitors can take a tour, wrap their own sweets, learn about the history of the sweets, taste and buy them. Four different tour programmes are available.
Beer museum and brewery “Aldaris”
Aldaris Beer Museum is the most contemporary beer museum in the Baltics and the first of its kind in Latvia. The museum offers guests to discover the range and flavours of local and international beers, the secrets of brewing, and to try their own hand at brewing.
Valmiermuiza hosts are happy to welcome visitors to the brewery so that everyone can experience, and witness with their own eyes, how they brew fine beer from a combination of Valmiermuiza well water, delicious malt, aristocratic hops and natural yeast. An integral part of any visit is discovering and sampling their wide range of brews. This is also the perfect place to discover and enjoy the story of why food and beer are so compatible with one another.
Two breweries – Aldaris and Valmiermuiza
Family winery “ABAVAS"
The story of ABAVAS winery began with an enthusiastic love of wines and belief that the climate of Latvia is suitable for growing excellent wine grapes. Now, the farm also grows raspberries, strawberries and rhubarb. They also grow a variety of apples. At ABAVAS winery you can learn how our wine is made and taste it.
Food Markets and festivals 2018
Lamprey Festival, August 25
For a whole day visitors can enjoy a wide range of well known artists as well as going by fisherman boat to the place where Gauja River meets the Baltic Sea. During the day it is possible to taste grilled lamprey or lamprey soup that is made in the king-size pot, or purchase something memorable in the traditional craftsman’s market.
One of Latvia's many markets
Big Latgale Market, June 23
Craftsmen, farmers and singers from Latgale and elsewhere will gather at the Ludza Castle Mound to hail the Big Latgale Market and the Summer Solstice.
Straupe Market, first and Third Sunday of Every Month
At Straupe market you can taste bread baked in a century-old oven or cheeses made with freshly drawn milk. The market producers also sell fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, smoked hams and homemade blood sausages and much more.
General Latvian Milk, Bread and Honey Festival, August 25
During the festival in Jelgava take part in or observe cooking, milking cows, and eating competitions, tournaments and workshops for tots. As part of the festival, in Lielupe, the one and only Milk Carton Boat Regatta in Europe.
Smack your lips in Valmiermuiza
Ar Gardu Muti Valmiermuiza (Smack your lips in Valmiermuiza) is a fair and celebration of food which takes place eight times a year in line with the ancient Latvian calendar. Vendors come from near and far to sell their delicious homemade bread, cheese, smoked meats, lamprey, honey, herbs, homemade wine, juice, candied fruit and much, much more.
In the warm summer months life mainly happens in the outdoors in Latvia, often out in the countryside but equally in the bustling towns. In August all biggest cities in Latvia host festivals to celebrate.
Riga City Festival August 17 -19
Cesis City Festival July 20 – 22
Sigulda City Festival May 24 – 27
Liepaja City Festival May 19 – 20
Kuldiga City Festival July 19 – 22
Jacob's Festival, July 29
Araaisu vejdzirnavas (Araisi Windmill), Araisi, Amata District
This lively festival celebrates the first baking of rye bread after the harvest and pays homage to grain growers, millers and bakers. Local ladies host a banquet of pancakes and Jacob’s bread. The Kukuļtirdzins Market offers products from local cheesemakers, beekeepers, bakers, herbal-tea gatherers and craftspeople.
Mikeldienas Market, September 22
Cesis Castle Garden, Cesis
An annual event where visitors can buy seasonal homegrown products and handicrafts. Enjoy live music and dance. Mikelis Day fair will offer to taste and buy various rural goods - apples, pumpkins, cranberries, herbal teas, honey, bread and bacon, as well as mushroom baskets, clay pots and other Latvian crafts.