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Worth writing a novel about

Please make sure you check out the gallery pictures closer to the end!

Latvia is a place I come from. Most of my family still resides there but I went for a chance to change my life dramatically a bit more than 13 years ago and relocated to Canada. Everything was different, I had to adjust myself, learn a lot and, basically, I can say I’m fine by now. It feels like I started fresh at the age of 46 again.

Time passes so fast, but there are things which I miss a lot while in Canada. I definitely miss my mom, my daughter, grandchildren, my sister and also friends. The other thing which is quite important and which I miss every time I go to the grocery store is Latvian food. I miss the huge variety, the very natural produce, wild mushrooms, wild berries, endless salads, soups and deserts. I miss dairy products and the huge selection of fresh-water and salt-water fish which we do not have in Canada, and it is hard to live without their cakes, pastries, pies and all the stuff that comes on the table just rarely, but makes all the difference. For instance, black or rather grey peas with crunchy bites of Latvian bacon and kefir, or thousands of dishes made of Latvian cottage cheese which is always excellent quality compared to what I have when I can find it in Canada. I mean the raw, nothing added, nothing removed cottage cheese. Their daily bread selection is worth writing a novel about: from dark rye and carrot bread baked using ancient Latvian recipes to all kinds of white, dark bread made with or without seeds and from all kinds of grains. The freshness is breathtaking, and so is the taste. I have always hard times finding a good quality bread at home, it goes bad and stale next morning, and it usually falls apart. My guess is: it consists of hardly anything, but costs a lot.

Therefore, I try everything Latvia can offer, and that is plenty. Neither I want, nor I intend to avoid such a delicious pleasure: it is a feast from the day 1 of my stay here until the dinner before my flight back home.

As I walk along the Central Market (I came here with just one intention: to take a few pictures because this is sort of very large farmer’s market, the largest in Europe), my eyes run all around and it’s great I’m not hungry because otherwise I’d end up buying too much stuff. Most people, however, prefer the ecologically clean product stores. Prices are quite high in stores which offer organic, biologically and ecologically clean produce and all kinds of other foods, and frequently above the affordable level, but still: Latvians take food seriously and they can certainly choose something great even when the wallet is not that full.

There is something else: traditionally Latvians do gardening, even these who live in the downtown of Riga, usually have some out-of-town place where they can grow something. Latvia did a lot of farming in the soviet times, and it was actually quite agricultural outside the biggest cities. The first Latvian Republic before the World War II was famous for its fantastic dairy products, bacon, butter, meats and produce. Although, agriculturally used land and the number, as well as size of farms have decreased, the need for good quality food is the same. People know what is good, Latvians know what delicious and fresh means, and therefore, the food quality standards remain high.

If you are wondering what I mean with all this praising, I do suggest you stop by in Latvia for the greatest and cleanest foods one can try. It’s worth it. I did not notice where their fast food places were, I know there are some, but people who think about their health won’t eat in such places. I personally never learned loving fast food, I don’t think they are popular here because everything is geared towards healthier, fresher, cleaner and less processed.

I have taken pictures also of smoked fish and meats, and these are certainly not for daily consumption, they are not part of a healthy diet, however, small bit here and there cannot harm. They taste incredibly good. If you have never tried, you won’t know how delicious these things are: smoked fish and chicken especially, and I miss such treats a lot. Some fishing villages still smoke fish like Latvian fishermen did 200, 300 and more hundred years ago.

Caraway seed cheese is my favorite, it always has been. When I was 12 or so I worked at a dairy plant during the summer (all kids worked). I had to help by preparation of caraway seed cheese. It was warm and so yummy that I never forgot this taste. The only place I get it as I like is Latvia. I tried to make my own in Canada, but milk and cottage cheese were totally unsuitable: they are too processed and do not have the same properties, so, I did not get very good caraway seed cheese. Dairy products are definitely bad and low quality in Canada. I sometimes wonder: why wouldn’t they go to Latvia, for example, and learn how to achieve greatness in dairy products. It’ s not going to happen because their profits come always first.

Well, wild mushrooms and wild berries are something Ontarians do not get to see or taste. Some might, but it’ s not everybody by far. Mushrooms are still in season, but there are less and less berries in the forest because fall sets in sooner in Latvia than in Canada.

mouth-watering Latvian dairy products

Meats and smoked meats

Fresh, live and smoked fish

A few veggies (because they looked so nice) and some wild berries and mushrooms

I actually wanted to publish separate posts about separate food groups, but time is really short, so I will leave you with these pictures and I am going back home soon.

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16 Comments Post a comment
  1. Really a beautiful post, Inese 🙂

    Like

    September 13, 2017
    • Thanks, Irene! I am happy to see you blogging again!

      Liked by 1 person

      September 13, 2017
      • Thank you Inese, I’m mostly visiting and don’t post much yet, but it will come, when I find the abundance and energy.

        Like

        September 13, 2017
      • I know what you mean. Blogging is great like that because friends are patient and they’re always understanding. I have to still take antibiotics, too. It feels never ending. More than 2 years already. Well, I hope, health returns soon. I also hope you are recovering nicely. Energy will return, as well. All meds literally eat it up. All the best to you, Irene!

        Liked by 2 people

        September 13, 2017
      • All the best to you too, Inese 🙂
        Antibiotics are often helping, but for such long time, I would be nervous. I had them for two month and I was destroyed in energy after. I’m still working to get more energy. Take care.

        Like

        September 13, 2017
      • I have no choice. I also thought nobody is able to use them longer than a few weeks, but, unfortunately, Canadian medicine is somewhat awkward. Basically, I have to recover from what doctor’s negligence and lack of knowledge resulted in. I will be fine. I’m by far not the only one. There are cases when regular approach doesn’t work. That is the most difficult part. I’m in Latvia visiting my family, going back home next Tuesday.

        Liked by 2 people

        September 13, 2017
      • Enjoy your trip 🙂

        Like

        September 13, 2017
      • Thanks! I hope it’s smooth.

        Liked by 1 person

        September 14, 2017
  2. Those look like what we call chanterelle mushrooms here. What a wonderful selection of good food over there!

    Like

    September 13, 2017
    • Thanks Lavinia! It’s just one place, just the market, and, technically, people mind somebody photographing them, so, these pictures were taking somewhat secretly, but selection everywhere exceeds to a great level what I can get at the grocery store. I wish the quality of North American food was somewhat closer to normal food quality. We have mostly chemical stuff. I have seen organic cream which had about 20 ingredients and none of these was cream.

      Like

      September 14, 2017
  3. I hadn’t had dinner when I read this so of course you almost made my mouth water. Your descriptions are so vivid and sound so yummy. Latvia is on the other side of world for me, so I will never be able to taste your food. You are so fortunate to be able to go back home and enjoy your food.

    Like

    September 17, 2017
    • Thanks! I believe I am very fortunate. Food is so different here and I can also compare what to do and what not to do based on Latvian experiences. I really regret having no chance to get bread, dairy or fish like here at my Canadian grocery store. Wild mushrooms and picking them has been always my passion, so I devoted a few days just for that. I intend to post a few pictures if there will be enough time before flying back home.

      Like

      September 18, 2017
  4. OK, I am very hungry now…. Great pix and info!

    Like

    September 20, 2017
  5. Thank you for sharing this! As one who’s never left her region of origin, it’s easy to forget how the simple things to which we’re accustomed are dearly missed when we move elsewhere. Lovely post!

    Like

    November 20, 2017
    • Thanks, Jean! That is true, we miss things to which we are accustomed for 50 years if we suddenly move somewhere else. However, the main thing is that Canada cannot provide me with fresh and natural food to which I was used to in Latvia. I thought it would be the opposite. When I go to the store, I have hard times finding anything natural. You can still get absolutely not modified milk and cream in Latvia. It is a small country, so, everything gets on table much faster and the variety of fish is also something that Canada does not offer. Therefore, I spend a lot of time looking for places where I can buy good products.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 20, 2017

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