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January 05, 2015

Tastes of Latvia at the Green Week in Berlin

The partner country at the world’s largest exhibition for agriculture, food and horticulture is presenting a vast and diverse range of products

Throughout the ten days of the Green Week this year’s partner country Latvia is presenting a vast selection of its typical regional specialities. More than 100 producers from the Baltic state are planning to present their ranges of food as well as luxury foods and beverages at the world’s largest exhibition for agriculture, food and horticulture from 16 to 25 January. At the heart of the display in Hall 8.2 will be seven product groups, comprising bread, beer, honey, cheese, meat, oils and herbs, as well as confectionery.

Latvian bread, the Baltic benchmark

Latvian bread is legendary, and the Green Week will feature dark and light fruit bread, walnut and carrot bread, sweet and sour bread, and the famed rye bread, which is equally popular in neighbouring Baltic countries. As toast, to accompany beer, it is an acknowledged delicacy, and one that can help in a small way to compensate for the alcohol content of the beer.

Beer that you can lick

The many different beers from Latvia on show at the Green Week are as diverse as the range of breads on display. “Light” or “dark” beer would be too easy for the Latvians, who will be presenting more than half a dozen different types during the course of the Green Week. And if that is not enough, there is even a refreshing beer ice.

Honey – not just sweet

It is only a small step from beer to honey beer, one of the countless different products made with Latvian honey. They include heather, almond and hazelnut honey to garlic, propolis and lemon honey, as well as honey with hawthorn oil. Visitors to the Latvian stand can also sample pollen honey, a relict from days gone by, before the centrifugal extractor had been invented.

Cheese – Latvian creativity in the processing of milk

Visitors to the Green Week can also see for themselves just how many different varieties of cheese are produced in Latvia: cheese with grain or tomatoes, with fenugreek or yellow sweet clover, with garlic or stinging nettles, in the Emmental, French, Greek or Dutch style, made with cow’s or goat’s milk, or even according to the Russian Rjashenka recipe – for the Latvians no idea is too spectacular as a way of capturing a niche market.

Meat – game is always a good choice

The meat of display is equally diverse. Due to the fact that 54 per cent of the land area consists of forests, Latvian menus feature not only pork and veal, but also elk, stag, deer and wild pig. And there are plenty of opportunities to sample rabbit, mutton or ostrich meat in the Latvian hall too. Latvia has a meat self-sufficiency rating in excess of 140 per cent (Germany: 119 per cent), making it a typical meat exporting country.

Oils and spices – a wide selection, varied flavours

A combination of sugar and salt may sound as unusual as linseed and insulin. The selection of oils and spices in the Latvian hall could seriously compete with some specialist outlets. At the Green Week the partner country is presenting some unusual ingredients such as hemp seed oil and spreads as well as linseed with apples, carrots, quinces, cinnamon and blackcurrants, and hawthorn pepper, and blueberry or rowan vinegar to enhance any dish. And garlic is ever-present, for example in the form of marinaded garlic flowers.

Confectionery, for everyone who likes a little extravagance

Cheesecake or pumpkin ice cream with quinces, and sorbets made with goat’s milk or hawthorn berries – the Latvians have plenty to offer anyone with a sweet tooth. The Latvian capital, Riga, has a long tradition of chocolate-making. The range of fillings has now been expanded to include cranberries, either in meringues or in crunchy icing sugar sweets. As well as candied rhubarb and pumpkin, speciality cakes and pies are available, along with birch sap syrup and many other delicacies. And let us not forget the chocolates filled with balsam, the legendary herb liqueur that is used in Latvia to treat a wide range of ailments.