Latvia is known for its high-quality, locally sourced, and seasonal ingredients, as well as its talented chefs and brewers. This is evident in the growing popularity of Riga as a destination for gourmet holidays and the city’s spring and autumn restaurant weeks, which are highly anticipated events.


of potatoes are consumed by the average Latvian every year, making it one of the culinary staples


ingredients make up the renowned Riga Black Balsam, which has received more than 100 awards

One of the largest markets in Europe

The Riga Central Market is a remarkable marketplace that was built using five former German aircraft hangars

Latvian cuisine is centered around locally sourced agricultural products, and meat is a major component of main dishes. Fish is also a popular choice due to Latvia’s location on the Baltic Sea. The pronounced four seasons in Latvia result in a cuisine that is heavily influenced by the seasons, with each season having its own unique dishes and products.

If you are shopping for food, you can expect a wide variety of local goods such as cheese, fish, smoked meat, honey, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other treats. Most of the products available at markets are organic – the country’s residents are particularly fond of growing their own food, and the supply chain from the field to the marketplace is rather short in Latvia.

Visit the unique Riga Central Market

The Riga Central Market stands out as an exceptional marketplace –  constructed from five former hangars for German army aircraft, the market was opened in 1930 and quickly became renowned as one of the finest modern markets in Europe.

Having weathered the challenges of capitalism’s rebirth, the Riga Central Market is once again thriving and has become a popular gathering and shopping place. In 1997, the market area was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Old Town of Riga.

© Latvia Travel

Market culture

At the Riga Central Market, visitors can find a wide selection of fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, spices, sweets, and other tasty treats. There are also various household items, flowers and plants, and handcrafted products available for purchase. Visitors can expect a welcoming atmosphere with plenty of local charm and a wide range of shopping options to discover.

Latvians have a fondness for markets, with farmers’ and local produce markets being a common sight even in small towns. The country has a culture that strongly values the purchase of locally-made products. These markets provide an avenue for small-scale producers to sell their goods directly to the consumers, without going through the middlemen – and also help preserve local traditions and cultural heritage.

Discover the intriguing beverages of Latvia

  • Herbal bitter with a rich heritage, first crafted over 260 years ago. The concoction delivers a magnificent power of nature, offering a dark and complex taste when taken neat and stunning versatility when paired with different mixers. Riga Black Balsam is highly regarded by experts worldwide, having received over 100 awards at international fairs for its outstanding quality.

  • Situated on the banks of the Abava River, Abava winery used to be the northernmost vineyard in Europe. Treat yourself to the lively, bright flavors of their Pet’ Nat Zilga wine, crafted using the classic French technique. This wine undergoes fermentation within the bottle, producing natural sediments and a lively flavor. The sparkling personality of the wine elevates the flavor of the northern grape variety and is sure to make a lasting impression on the most discerning palates.

  • Leading the charge in the Latvian craft beer industry are innovative breweries like Labietis, Malduguns, Valmiermuiža, and Nurme. These breweries consistently provide delightful surprises for even the most discerning and demanding customers. They offer a diverse range of beverages, from common lagers to hoppy IPAs – and even a recreation of a Bronze Age braggot!

A booming craft-beer scene

The beer brewing industry in Latvia has a rich history and is currently experiencing growth thanks to the rising popularity of microbreweries and their unique, carefully crafted beers.

The Riga Beer District was established in celebration of Latvia’s centenary to promote the diverse flavors of small craft breweries to both local beer enthusiasts and visitors from around the world.

The district is located in the heart of the city, between three historic breweries, and features ten pubs that sell craft beer produced in Latvia and the Baltic region, each with its own distinct character.

Latvia's best-kept food secrets and innovations

  • Birch water (or juice) is a traditional drink made from the sap collected from these trees, is a staple in Latvia. This drink offers a nutritious substitute for high-sugar beverages and fruit juices, and is quickly gaining popularity as a “super” beverage.

    For a brief period of 2-3 weeks every year, forests in the northern hemisphere experience a surge of activity as the sap begins to rise through mature birch trees, signaling the arrival of spring.

  • Rye bread is denser, darker, and has a more robust flavor than its white bread counterpart. It is rich in fiber, packed with bioactive compounds, and has a minimal fat content. You will encounter an ample selection of dark bread in Latvian grocery shops – give it a taste, and you may never look back to other types of bread.

    Latvians are fond of their rich, dark, and dense rye bread, which they typically serve as a staple alongside most meals.

  • Packed with nutrients and vitamins, sea buckthorn fruit contains an impressive concentration of vitamin C, surpassing that of strawberries, kiwis, and oranges. The berries are also high in protein and contain a high vitamin E content. For those who enjoy a tangy flavor, fresh berries can be eaten as is or added to oatmeal, smoothies, or yogurt.

    Sea buckthorn berries, with their distinctive orange-yellow hue, have a long history of use in Latvia


If Christmas had a scent, it might be gingerbread! For many of us Latvians, the magic of Christmas is perfectly enclosed in the sweet, spicy fragrance of freshly baked gingerbreads.


It is a traditional Latvian sweet pie, made of rye dough and filled with potato and carrot paste and added caraway.

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