Lithuania tempting tourists – with smoked mackerel ice cream?

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Dill ice cream, anyone? Pic: Restaurant Džiaugsmas, Robertas Daskevičius
Dill ice cream, anyone? Pic: Restaurant Džiaugsmas, Robertas Daskevičius

Related tags Lithuania Kefir Cheese Ice cream

Lithuania Travel, the national tourism development agency, is hoping in a post-Covid world tourists will be attracted to the Baltic country to experience some of its, shall we say, more unusual cuisine, which includes some ice cream flavors many might find a little strange.

Oh, and continuing on the dairy theme, there’s a pink soup with kefir in it.

The tourist board has put together a list of some off-the-wall gastronomic reasons why visitors should go and experience dishes they’ve probably never encountered before, many of which are sure to raise an eyebrow.

Topping the list are what the Lithuanian agency says are ‘unexpected’ ice cream flavors. And they aren’t wrong.

Apparently, chefs in Lithuania have been looking for new and exciting ways to create ice cream flavors with a local touch. So alongside the more traditional strawberry and homemade chocolate flavors, the country’s visitors can be more adventurous and find cucumber, lavender, nettle, and even marinated mackerel ice cream.

There’s also dill, a staple in cooking and soups, but not so much when it comes to ice cream. And if you’re really looking to add to the list of strange ‘treats’ then look no further than vodka sorbet or beer-infused ice cream. After the fifth serving, you’ll probably not remember whether you like it or not…

Of course, it would be disrespectful to visit a country and just eat ice cream, so there are other combos, some of which include dairy, set to give the taste buds a workout.

Pagan Kombucha combines organic honey, spring water, and black rye bread crust to make a fizzy naturally-fermented drink that sits somewhere in between pop, non-alcoholic beer, and kombucha.

If ice cream ends the meal, soup often starts it, so how about some Šaltibarščiai to start? Probably best to point at it on the menu rather than attempt the pronunciation. It’s got a dairy component, as its traditionally made by mixing kefir, pickled beetroot, spring onions, fresh cucumbers and dill, and it is usually served with a side plate of hot potatoes and lots of aromatic herbs.

The “pink soup”—as foreign visitors frequently refer to it—has been eaten by locals for centuries due to its high probiotic and antioxidant content. And if you really take to it, you can even buy šaltibarščiai T-shirts or socks.

Other highlights include pan-fried rye garlic bread with cheese dip, or white cheese and honey.

So if you’re looking for something a little different, dust off the passport, check the covid regulations, and book a flight to Vilnius and get mentally prepared for that mackerel ice cream.  



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