Some days ago I posted my article about awful edible things found in Lithuania into Foreigners in Vilnius, a very active Facebook community known practically to every foreigner in the town that has something like 13.334 members.
When I opened the blog stats and Facebook, I suddenly realized how the quarrel triggered by the article couldn’t possibly stand alone without his indivisible counterpart.
These are not just three things I have eaten here.
Being more specific I would say these are three things I couldn’t live without and luckily enough they are in Lithuania (though this title would not have made you click here).
1. Grikiai (AKA buckwheat, together with a recipe)
I had an issue to solve.
Moving to Lithuania I brought with me many positive things and some problems, one of them being the way we make breakfast in Italy.
Having some milk and coffee with biscuits (when not with a pastry or, yes, cookies) was absolutely normal to me for almost twenty years of my life.
This lifestyle is still fine when you can have a proper lunch thereafter.
In Lithuania I realized I needed something different not to starve at 10 o’ clock and here comes the buckwheat.
99.9% of foreigners I know de facto hate grikiai.
As I wrote earlier on, my love story with grikių košė (or buckwheat kasha) is a recent one. Lithuanians always pointed out the health benefits of it, while at home we were discussing whether it tasted more like sorrow or burnt tires.
I gave it a second chance for breakfast and it simply worked it out. This is my formula:
– boiled buckwheat,
– grated cheese,
– olive oil.
It will change your morning, it will change your life, it will make you love Lithuania.
2. Bulvės su kastiniu (AKA Potatoes with kastinis)
I was walking around during this music festival (settled in a forest) when I bumped into a little kiosk serving boiled potatoes with this buttery cream sold in chunks. Kastinis, as it is named, tastes something in between butter and sour cream, with a hint of garlic.
It was just collecting materials for this post that I came to discover that this cream is originally from Samogitia. Tasting this simple dish, into a forrest, made me remember the beauty of simple things and of simple food. In Italian we use to describe some traditional dishes as cucina povera, which literally translates into poor cuisine. Poor, it goes without saying, stays for simple, where the simplicity is the key to make those wonderful dishes. Here we have an example of the same philosophy applied at different latitudes.
3. Šaltibarščiai (Yes, Lady the Pink Soup)
Italians are sentimental and so am I.
We link food with emotions and this is how this cold beetroot soup made it to the list.
I was in a messy period of my life in a lonely white dormitory kitchen, with nothing to eat. I went down the street and bought the ingredients.
For the first time in my life I prepared šaltibarščiai.
This weird shocking pink soup has turned to be one within my best summer comfort foods.
I prepared it in a very special moment and we are bound forever.
Lithuanian summer tastes like this.