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Lithuanian food is specially suited to the all-year round cooler weather of Lithuania. Lithuanian food is very hearty and filled with meat, potatoes and dairy products.

Historical and Cultural Influences on Lithuanian Cuisine

The state shares a border with Poland, Ukraine, and has several customs and food habits from these states. Lithuania also has some similarities with Scandinavian cuisine that is the same as Hungary, Romania and Georgia. Most of the Lithuanians, Poles and Ashkenazi Jews have a common heritage and this also reflects in their local Lithuanian food. The Soviet invasion of the state badly damaged quite a few of the Lithuanian food traditions that were prevalent at the time. By 1990, there was resurgence in the local cuisine resulting in several dishes that are cooked only locally.

Ingredients Commonly Used in Lithuanian Cooking

Bread is a staple and rye is a popular choice all through the year. Lighter breads are also made along with flavored breads and associated bakery items. Potato is the most common vegetable which is hugely popular. It can be served with meats or herbs by itself. Seasonal vegetables like cucumber, dill pickles, and radishes are also a part of the cuisine. Beets, tomatoes and cabbage are found in nearly every dish and at every meal. Popular herbs that are used include dill, caraway, bay leaf, ginger, garlic, and juniper berries. Mushrooms are also served all through the year as they are cultivated both commercially as well as in private homes. Baravykas is a very valuable wild mushroom that is dried and sold commercially. Other popular varieties are Voveraitė and gudukas. Wild berries are also used in Lithuanian food like bilberries, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, and even plums. Seasonal fruits are cultivated all year though with popular versions like apples, plums, pears etc. the most popular meat is pork but chicken, lamb, veal, ham and sausages are cooked too. Fish is seasonal and is cooked during season.

Traditional Lithuanian Recipes

Most meals start with a hearty soup, and might have meat dishes and sweets after then. A typical meat might have a combination of these few dishes-

  • Hot borscht or beet soup is made by blending beets with sour cream with chopped boletus mushrooms added to it.
  • Bulvinių kukulių sriuba is a chopped potato ball and boiled in milk
  • Cabbage soup with carrots and processed meat like ham is common
  • Lašiniai is a non rendered pork underskin fat with little meat on it that is served with soup or eaten in the form of a sandwich with onions and vegetables
  • Aspics are commonly served with breads and soup

Festive Lithuanian cuisine

  • Sakotis are special pound cakes that are served at weddings.
  • Painted Easter eggs are also served at Easter time.