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Local Objects: Riga’s Central Market

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Photo courtesy of Purple Cloud
Photo courtesy of Purple Cloud

As soon as the bus pulls into Riga’s bus lot, haul yourself across the street to one of Europe’s largest markets.

The four converted hangars that comprise the Riga Centraltirgus (Riga Central Market) are an integral part of the city’s landscape. The cavernous chambers—filled with meats, fish, fresh and pickled fruit, candy, nuts, seeds, and dairy—are ripe for exploring. There’s also the usual amusing refuse found at overstimulating flea markets, such as Dinacell (!) batteries and toothpaste made of silver and flowers.

Everything’s priced nicely: a lunch assembled from the fresh cheeses, yellow apples, rye bread, and creamed honey came to a total of LVL1 (€1.42; $1.92) per person.

A few of our favorite discoveries:

Pickled golden apples. Keep an open mind when sampling a pickled apple and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the seltzer-like sizzle, a result of the brine’s acidic effect on the flesh of the fruit.

Biezpiens cheese. The condensed version chilled and covered in chocolate is unspeakably delicious.

Hand-knit stocking cap. The right vendor is the key to locating one-of-a-kind, non-ugly knit caps. Expect to pay about 1 Lat for a cap.

About the author

Native New Yorker Miranda fondly recalls family trips to Europe, which featured formative events like spending a night on the roof of an overbooked Greek hotel and sampling the culinary wonders of horse meat. But it was while riding a pony through a patch of wild blueberries in Iceland that she realized she wanted to be an explorer. As an undergrad, Miranda bicycled across the US and lived for several months in Berlin. Nowadays she obsesses over Baltic countries and the plump cream-smothered dumplings to be found there. Fluent in German, she does freelance translation and writes educational material for children.

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