Cooking traditional Latvian dishes at Vīnkalni country house
SEASON: May – October
FOR WHOM: groups 8 – 20 people
DURATION OF THE PROGRAMME: 1.5 – 3 hours depending on group size
TYPE OF TRANSPORT: tour bus / minibus
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: bus ‘Rīga – Valmiera’ to Valmiera (~2 h 10 min),
change for bus ‘Valmiera – Mūrmuiža – Valmiera’ to the bus stop ‘Romas’ (~ 10 min). Walk to Vīnkalni country house (~20 min / 1.5 km).
HOSTS: Mrs. Zanda Žentiņa, Mr. Uldis Žentiņš
ADDRESS: Vīnkalni, Kauguru pag, Beverīnas nov, LV-4224, Latvia
DISTANCE: Riga 112km
The hostess offers master classes in cooking traditional Latvian dishes: Biguz- is – a dessert made from rye bread, whipped cream and fresh berries; Fresh cheese – made from cow milk, with herb supplements; Pastries – buns filled with bacon, curds, or apples.
The country house is located in North Vidzeme region, surrounded by rural landscape. The family honours the values of traditional culture and lifestyle. The man of the house is a carpenter and has restored at least 20 dowry chests, several cabinets, chests of drawers, tables, suitcases, drums and spinning buggies. The lady of the house teaches ancient wedding rituals to newlyweds. Celebrations are hosted in a renovated horse stable from the19th century. The farm also grows vines and takes visitors. The family business is awarded with the Green Certificate, the national environmental certificate for businesses in rural tourism. The food workshop in cooking Latvian traditional dishes offers the following options of dishes:
1. ‘Biguzis’ – a traditional country dessert with rye bread, whipped cream and fresh berries. Its ingredients are rye bread, cranberries or lingonberries, honey, cinnamon and whipped cream. Mature rye bread is crushed or grated. Cranberries are squeezed in juice, diluted with water, sweetened with honey and poured into bread. When the bread has sucked into the liquid, it is topped with whipped cream.
2. Fresh cheese – made from cow’s milk adding various herbs and spice (cumin, hemp, greens).
3. Buns and cakes. It is said that in Latvian folk tradition round cakes and buns in the form of a crescent were baked to honour the Sun and the Moon. Today they are often baked for celebrations and festivities. The traditional Latvian buns ‘pīrāgi’ are made from yeast dough, are 5-13cm long in a curved form like a crescent. They are filled with bacon and onions or with cottage cheese or apples.
• Welcome and introduction of the host family and the house.
• House excursion, the wine garden, the collection of the carpentry renovations.
• Food workshop. The lady of the house leads the workshop and tells about Latvian cuisine and food traditions.
• Enjoying the meal.