Enjoy Culinary Pursuits
in the Baltic Sea Region
Photos courtesy ONE Baltic Sea Region Project
New restaurants, star chefs, local produce and deep-rooted culinary traditions make the Baltic Sea region ideal for the culinary traveler. Unique and delicious local produce have allowed the Baltic cities of Hamburg, Warsaw, Riga, Helsinki and St. Petersburg to produce specialties only found in this region of Europe.
Restaurants Pop in Helsinki
Four times a year Helsinki, Finland becomes one large restaurant; on Restaurant Day the city’s licensing laws are lifted and anyone can “open a restaurant” for the day. Hundreds of pop-up restaurants appear throughout Helsinki from star chef food stands to tasty dinner parties in local apartments. The first Restaurant Day was held on May 21, 2011 and included 45 restaurants, today more than 38,000 restaurateurs have operated popup restaurants and have served an estimated 1 million customers.
Restaurant Tamka 43
Star Chefs Dot Warsaw
Warsaw, Poland has long been known as one of the coolest cities in Europe and recently it is stepping into the global culinary scene with top restaurants and star chefs. In restaurants like Atelier Amaro, Tamka 43, Opasły Tom and Sowa i Przyjaciele, Polish cuisine gets a modern twist and wows diners. The “celebrity chef” is also a new culinary phenomenon in Poland. Chefs like Wojciech Modest Amaro and Karol Okrasa have restaurants and cooking shows and are quickly becoming household names in Poland. Atelier Amaro, the only restaurant with a Michelin star in Poland, has a three-month wait for a table.
Riga: Large Scale of Farm-to-Table
Riga, Latvia is home to one of the largest food markets in Europe: the Riga Central Market is located just steps from the Old Town on the banks of the Daugava River. The market is visited daily by more than 80,000 people and is a popular place for local delicacies like fresh and smoked fish, marinated and pickled vegetables, Baltic fruit, milk and cheese, as well as country bread, honey and herbs. The five 787-foot-long, 151-foot-wide and 1,247-foot-high halls were built in Riga as airplane hangars, and in 1998 the Riga Central Market was included on the UNESCO Global Heritage list. Putting this local produce to good use are the three chefs of the 3 Chefs’ Restaurant: Martins Sirmais, Eriks Dreibants and Juris Dukalskis. They take pride in meals based on the modern Latvian cuisine movement, which values fresh, delicious, seasonal, high quality and healthy food, while supporting local farmers and producers.
The Sweeter Side of Hamburg
Known the world over for seafood, Hamburg, Germany is also home to one of the tastiest pastries on the planet: the Franzbrötchen. This small, sweet pastry is baked with layers of butter and cinnamon and occasionally chocolate or raisins are added. It is a perfect and quick breakfast treat or enjoyed with a traditional coffee in the afternoon. According to historical tradition, former Hamburgers produced a longish Franzbrot (German for French bread), which resembled the baguette. Legend has it that a baker in Hamburg had once prepared such a Franzbrot in a pan of fat, which is considered the origin of the contemporary Franzbrötchen. The 70-year-old bakery Die Kleine Konditorei recently won the title of best Franzbrötchen in Hamburg.
Vodka in St Petersburg
The Russian Vodka Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to the history and variety of Russia’s national drink. Visitors can taste from a selection of 213 Russian vodkas in this museum that is housed in the 15th century monastery where monks distilled the first vodka. During the guided tour guests will learn about vodka’s origin, Russian dining traditions and Russia’s vodka kings. Connected to the museum is Russian Vodka Room No. 1, which was recently voted best Russian restaurant in St. Petersburg by TimeOut magazine. Diners can enjoy a traditional Russian meal and sample local dishes like pickles and butterbrots with Salo and Baltic anchovy and salmon.