November 18th was Latvian Independence Day and so to celebrate we had made a Latvian feast the best way we could while being in Ukraine. Laura speaks fluent Latvian and I asked her to marry me while we were in Riga so Latvian culture and tradition is a significant part of our life.
We begin with the"before" photo of ingredients to our feast, many of them courtesy of our friend Vanessa who brought them for us on a visit from Latvia recently.
The potatoes were fried with a Latvian spice called piedeva kartupelieum [potato spice in Latvian] made by a company called Santa Maria. Each time Laura goes to Latvia a packet or two of these spices are in her bag headed back to America.
These shashliks are from a local deli called Smack which is a great name for a store. They come on-the-stick ready to go.
Balsams is a traditional spiced drink that clears up your sinuses nice and quick on a cold winter day.
We mixed a shot of it with blackcurrant juice which is pretty difficult to find in America but flows freely in Eastern Europe.
Lastly, as a side dish we had some cabbage with oil and vinegar called kaposti.
The finished product.
And for dessert some Latvian Laima chocolate...
As I've been trying to piece something together that resembles a proper American Thanksgiving dinner we've had difficulty finding a turkey. We finally found this at the upscale shopping center [called Class appropriately, I guess] but when we spoke to butcher behind the counter they said they were out of turkeys. So maybe this one was a plastic decoy...Ukraine can be a weird place sometimes.