Foto: Renee Altrov

From the XIII to XVI century, parts of Estonia and Latvia made up a unified country Livonia on the shores of the Baltic Sea, with geographical and economic ties, similar lifestyles and traditions. Although the borders of Livonia were erased from the global map long ago, the traditional cuisine of Latvians and Estonians is still basically made up of the same foods that our ancestors ate. We still bake bread in a bread oven, and we brew beer. Just like in olden times, we use the fruits of nature a lot - wild berries, mushrooms, fish and game. It turns out that it was specifically during the Livonian era that people in this part of the world first encountered pepper, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. The amount of Eastern spices in a dish depended on the wealth of noblemen in Hanseatic cities. Cuisine in Livonia was diverse.

    With contributions from Latvian, Liv and Estonian farmers and fishermen, monks in cloisters, urban residents and noblemen. Some of the dishes could be found on the tables of people from all social strata. Crops, legumes, dairy products, vegetables and greens, fish, livestock, birds and game meat were consumed according to one‘s means and social status. By taking a trip of tastes in the Livonian kitchen, you will learn all about what people ate at a time when potatoes were not yet known here. You will find out the origins of salted herring that was imported to this land, and you will learn why we baked saffron pastries for celebrations. From a marinated sprat to a mug of home-brewed beer - this is history, right here on the table!

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Via Hanseatica is an international tourism route connecting Estonia, Latvia and Russia, highlighting the unique sights, history, culture, events and flavours of each country. The route is based on the historic Hansa trade corridor and includes the part from St Petersburg to Riga through Tartu. It has also been extended towards Rakvere and Viljandi in Estonia as well as towards Vyborg and Pskov in Russia as Plus regions.
In Estonia and Latvia, the tourism route connects more than 80 food producers and providers whose products and dishes value the centuries-old traditions, forming the Taste Hanseatica food route.