Latvia and Estonia just celebrated the 100th birthday of their independent states. But many centuries ago, they both formed Livonia, the trade routes of which ran through the legendary Hanseatic League cities. The historical heritage of the time – the street network, cobblestone pavement, churches and bustling marketplaces – allows every citizen of such European countries as Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Poland and others to feel at home in every Hanseatic city.
Nowadays, the innkeepers, craftsmen, food producers and merchants of these towns and surrounding countryside are waiting for visitors from far and near, offering meals that combine ancient traditions with new ideas and opportunities. Local food can be described as clean, fresh and fair, mostly using locally grown produce or products harvested in the wild.
Our countries are small, everything here is close and personal. You can look into the eyes of a farmer who has grown and grinded rye for your dishes. You can caress the cow whose milk was added to your breakfast coffee by the hostess. You can shake hands with the baker, who cuts and gives you a piece of delicious rye bread. You can smell honey by listening to the bees in a flowering meadow. You can watch the river at sunrise, while a fisherman patiently waits for his catch. You can walk in the woods and pick berries or mushrooms. And understand how it all connects us with the older days.
We are blessed with four seasons. Spring comes with freshness and greenery, summer with multi-coloured berries and vegetables, autumn with grain and root vegetable harvest, winter with oven-baked stews to keep warm. The centuries-old traditions of fermentation, salting and drying add characteristic tastes to our cuisine. Bounties of nature from the forests, rivers, sea, gardens and countryside meet the spices that found their way to Livonia during the time of the Hanseatic League. Dishes are often served on tableware made from local clay by burning it according to ancient methods. There is a linen tablecloth on the table and a lot of wildflowers in the vases. That's who we are – close to nature, a part of nature itself.
Remembering the history of the Hanseatic League, you can enjoy 80 culinary stops – taverns, farms, manors, old castles, mills and small food factories in Latvia and Estonia along the “Taste HansEATica” Route. Often, travellers learn new things about preparing local food – knead bread dough, mix fresh cheese or get some insight into the secrets of fish smoking. You can visit beer breweries and find out how traditional beer is made. When ordering tastings, guests can enjoy a variety of dishes and drinks, thus getting a more diverse experience of the local cuisine.
We believe that the way to a heart is through the stomach! Looking forward to meeting you!