Lithuanian cuisine

The gems of Lithuanian cuisine to impress Europe

Lithuanian people have long been known as a hospitable nation which is fond of delicious and comforting meals and takes pride in its old and rich cooking history and the diversities in the cuisine of its four regions. Black rye bread, white cottage cheese, kastinys and skilandis belong to the oldest Lithuanian foods.

These products make Lithuania unique in the whole of Europe, so the European Commission has given them protected product indications.

 

Skilandis – the king of the meat shelf 

Skilandis is the first Lithuanian product to acquire a protected product indication back in 2010. It has been given a Traditional Specialty Guaranteed indication, which testifies to it being produced using a traditional method that has not changed for at least thirty years.

The word ‘skilandis’ is referred to in documents from various locations across the Grand Duchy as early as in the 16th-18th centuries.

Specially labelled skilandis is produced from beef and pork, seasoned with only salt, pepper, clove and garlic and is stuffed into a pig’s bladder or a cow’s upper intestine. Skilandis is smoked for at least 15 days by burning deciduous wood before being dried.

 

Honey on white cheese

A protected designation of origin was also conferred upon the honey of Seinai and Lazdijai land, the region in the south of Lithuania and Eastern Poland. It is multiflorous nectar honey collected from naturally growing melliferous plants. The colour of this honey ranges from dark yellow to dark golden.

The European Commission has also acknowledged Lithuanian cottage cheese as an exclusive product. This type of cheese was widespread only in the central part of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania – on the territories of what is now Lithuania and Belarus and part of neighbouring Poland.

Lithuanian cottage cheese is produced in an ancient method when milk is curdled without the use of enzymes but only with the ferment of the lactic acid bacteria. It gets its unique shape from stuffing the curd manually into triangular cheese bags and pressing down.

Lithuanian people find white cheese with a spread of natural honey as one of the most delicious treats.

 

Mead dates back to the times of knights

Lithuanian mead named ‘Stakliškės’ is unique, too. It has also been given a protected geographical indication.

Made to a unique recipe, this alcoholic beverage is produced in a traditional method that employs natural fermentation of mead’s mash with the addition of plant raw materials (hop, linden blossoms, juniper berries). All ethyl alcohol contained in mead is obtained only through natural fermentation without adding sugar or other sweeteners, colorants, flavours or preservatives.

 

The land is integral with black bread and kastinys

Lithuania has always been known for its home-made black bread. So no wonder that the European Commission has included Daujėnų home-made bread into the register of protected geographical indications. It is baked at home using a traditional method: rye flour dough is fermented slowly (for 1-3 days) by natural fermentation in a wooden pail, which must be made of oak.

Samogitian kastinys (sour cream butter) is Lithuania’s other typical product, also acknowledged in Europe. This traditional product is obtained by heating, stirring and chilling sour cream and adding butter, clabber, spices, garlic or onion for a slightly sour taste.

It is a traditional product made from heated, stirred and then chilled sour cream. It has a characteristic smooth, thick and melt-in-the-mouth texture. Kastinys is usually eaten on fasting or community working days with hot potatoes or bread.

This product as has also been given a geographic indication.