November – Riga Black Balsam, pumpkin
The nature of Latvia colors itself golden in November, therefore it is time to try the yellow pumpkin and the Riga Black Balsam. Pumpkin dishes will be a feast for your tummy, but the Riga Black Balsam – for your soul.
Riga Black Balsam is an ancient drink characteristic only to Riga. It was created in 18th century by some pharmacist as a remedy for cold and for strengthening of health. In the bitterish bouquet of flavors the mildness of linden blossoms intertwines with bitterness of birch buds and sweetness of bilberries that are supplemented with spicy tones of ginger and nutmeg. Everyone has to find their own most suitable way of enjoying the Riga Black Balsam: pure it will be as a challenge for the toughest ones, together with hot black currant juice – for the frozen ones, poured over home-made vanilla ice-cream – for gourmands, but in the cocktail Clavis Riga (the Key of Riga) – for the ones getting acquainted with Riga.
Pumpkin is the biggest berry found in Latvia, we have learnt to turn it into the most various dishes in order to make everyday and festive tables of Latvians more colorful with their richly warm shades. Soups, as well as main courses and desserts are made from them. For example, pumpkin cream soup with basil will be mild and a little bit sweet. The hungry ones can enjoy rich vegetable stew with pumpkin, pickled pumpkin with cloves will be a great addition to a meal. Very delicious pancakes and muffins, as well as healthy pumpkin juice can be made from pumpkins.
Try the Riga Black Balsam and the various pumpkin dishes – they are authentic products characteristic to Riga!