On Rye Bread, Gira and Lithuanian Summer

Summer is coming.

There are days when Lithuania is hotter than Italy and spring is rapidly exploding all around.

In Italy I was mainly eating white bread and kept doing it for a longtime also here.

In Lithuania they eat mostly rye bread, a variety which is very popular in Northern Europe, since rye resists better colder temperature than wheat.

Rye bread’s flavor is quite peculiar. It was striking to me to see how this mushy sweet taste deserved a whole gigantic section in every supermarket.

Some weeks ago I found myself staring at it, resolute to step back from my old belief, pick one brand and try it out.

My choice went on this:


There was no sugar, there was no yeast and I thought these two things would have been crucial to change my mind: an intuition that finally turned out to be true.
Additionally everything was translated in english and one could easily find that the Italian Golden Rule was fully respected (the rule being: less is more):


The brand was “Biržų duona“, which translates into “Made in Biržai Bread”.

Biržai is a Nothern Lithuanian town close to the border with Latvia, mainly famous for his castle. Although I had the opportunity to travel across Lithuania, I still never happened to be there.

Luckily enough this brand is quite easy to find in shops and I recently came to discover there are Biržų duona stores since one of them easily became my best coffee spot in Vilnius.

I have discussed widely about it here but recently I tried out something new and would like to share it with the World.

Black bread, oddly enough, it is also the name given to a very popular slavic drink one can find everywhere in Lithuania: kvass (in lithuanian: gira). We are talking about a very light drink (alcohol content is very low) mainly made from fermenting black bread, raisins and several other spices. It may sound a mess to an uneducated palate, but sitting close to the street, during summer, at Višta Puode and tasting their homemade gira is still forvme an inevitable step if one wants to experience what Lithuanian summer is.

It goes without saying, bottled gira is nothing compared to the homemade version of it.

Since Višta Puode is located in Kaunas, I broke into a smile when I tasted Biržų duona kmynų gira (AKA kvass made with caraway seeds). The taste is completely different, much more sparkling. I would recommend it even to all caraway’s enemies since we are talking about a different, more structured taste than the one the name could suggest.

I feel getting too much technical! There is plenty of topics regarding Lithuanian cuisine and I am planning to touch them step by step. If you are searching for good spots in Vilnius where to eat pizza here you will find some suggestions. If you like the article, then connect with Baol on Facebook or Linkedin! Almost forgetting I am planning to go to Mars and you could help me planning the trip!



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