Going green in Latvia Known for its art nouveau capital Riga, Latvia also boasts a range of eco-friendly options from wellpreserved nature parks and beaches to markets selling fresh local food. TexT by Amy Bryzgel PhoTos istockphoto and the lAtviAn institute M any Latvians pride themselves on "the way things used to be," when garden tomatoes smelled like real vegetables and not the tasteless, chemically infused ones that are sold in local supermarkets today. In Riga, Martins Ritins, founder and president of Latvia's Slow Food Association, has made it his mission to restore taste and quality to cuisine in Latvia following the post-Soviet influx of fast food. Slow Food, which is considered to be a form of eco-gastronomy, is not simply about eating healthy foods, or eating at a snail's pace: it's about eating fresh, locally grown or produced food that is in season. According to Ritins, a British-born Latvian celebrity chef, "people should know where their food comes from; that's why I love the ecokitchen." At his elegant, haute-cuisine restaurant Vincents, in the exclusive art nouveau section of Riga, the chef can tell you exactly where and when every vegetable on your plate was picked, and when each animal was killed. A Slow Food and Farmer's Market takes place every second and fourth Saturday of the month from 9 am to 3 pm in Berga Bazaar. Here you can sample and purchase local produce and products, including the famous Latvian black rye bread, golden honey, as well as the fruits and vegetables in season. This is Riga's only green market: it's also another creation by Ritins, who can sometimes be spotted at the market. www.vincents.lv www.bergabazars.lv 48 Blue Wings MAY 2009
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