In Livonia people bred cows both in the countryside and in the towns. Milk was used to produce curdled milk, sweet and soured cream, cottage cheese, butter, cheese and buttermilk. Fresh milk was mainly used as produce for children, older people drank fermented milk more often. There were no dairy products in winter in those times.
ST: JOHN´S CHEESE (Midsummer’s Eve Cheese)
On 23 June, Estonia and Latvia celebrates Midsummer’s Eve (Jaanipäev / Jāņi). Cheese symbolising the Sun and fertility. Many housewives make this cheese themselves before Midsummer’s Eve. Cheese is cooked, heating up farm milk with cottage cheese, filtered and heating of the cheese mass continues by adding butter, eggs, salt and caraway seeds. When the cheese becomes chewy, it is wrapped in a cloth and left under the press. It is consumed, when cooled down and cut into slices, together with beer.
Cottage cheese is made by slowly heating up curdled milk. Since ancient times it is eaten with sour cream and salt. You put cottage cheese on a slice of rye bread, then sprinkle over finely roasted crushed hemp seeds. Nowadays, Latvians usually consume cottage cheese and herring with potatoes, which only became available after 19th century. Since Livonian times herring has come from abroad, but together with local products it is considered a national food.
BERRIES WITH MILK
The special dessert of summer is forest berries with various additives, a healthy and simple to cook meal. Forest strawberries, raspberries or bilberries are put into the bowl, milk or yoghurt is poured over, a bit of sugar or honey is added and the dessert is ready!