Latvia

This small Baltic state squeezes Art Nouveau architecture, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Riga's old centre and and sticky black balsam into its eastern European borders. It is home to a vast array of animals and birds including lesser spotted eagles, otters, beaver, deer, wild boar, elk, red fox, lynx, wolves and 7,000 breeds of stork!

THREE things we did not know about Latvia:

  1. Riga Black Balsam can be consumed after a good meal or mixed in cocktails. Especially popular in warm drinks, made of Balsam and coffee or hot blackberry juice. You can make a layered cocktail with Black Balsam and peach juice or mix it with cranberry juice for the taste of autumn. The ingredients that contribute to the complex and versatile flavour of Riga Black Balsam include common roots and herbs such as Valerian, Wormwood, Black Pepper, and Ginger, as well as rare ingredients such as Gentian and Peruvian Balsamic Oil.
  2. It is one of the last corners of Europe to join Christendom, Latvians are still very much pagans at heart. They worship nature by jumping over bonfires at Midsummer Eve, and many surnames reflect birds, animals or trees.
  3. Riga’s central market is one of Europe’s biggest markets. It is famed for its pavilions housed in giant zeppelin hangars left behind by the German army after World War I.

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