Those who come to Riga in December are usually not only hoping for snow but also want to visit the Christmas Market. It was our goal, too, to go and see the market which was in close proximity to our hotel.
On the cathedral square, the tempting smells of mulled wine and gingerbread hang in the air from the end of November through to the first week of January. Stalls are put up all around the lush Christmas tree and sell all the goodies your heart desires.
We liked how many handmade products were sold on the market: wooden toys, amber jewellery and typical Latvian hats and socks.
As we walked past one of the stalls having a conversation a woman approached us in German. She sold homemade jams. She offered some quite unique flavours; the prices were reasonable, and we decided to go for a glass even though we only had booked hand luggage for the flight back. It made it home in one piece and it was really very tasty. Another stall sold caramelized almonds. But not how they are usually sold, pre-packed, cold and sticky. A woman was stirring them in a giant pan with a big wooden spoon. She also called us over and offered a sample directly from the pan. We know what caramelized almonds taste like and had also just eaten, so we declined. Huge mistake! The woman explained that these almonds were different, of the typically Latvian variety. Fried in oil with onions and garlic! So we did try some and they were very good! We bought a bag, snacked on it and carried the rest home with us in the pocket of a jacket. It was a good thing that we had no meetings planned for the next day. Everything was smelling of garlic and the almonds were still very nice.
Other than that, there were mostly savoury foods like stews or soups to be found and mulled wine and hot apple punch were offered. In a hut with a fireplace, some other culinary surprises are freshly made every Saturday between 1 and 6 pm.
The shows on the stage were very enjoyable. We listened to Latvian folk music that some of the other visitors understood as an invitation to dance. In another hut, children can meet Father Christmas at certain times in the day.
We liked the Christmas Market in Riga a lot!
End of November – beginning of January
Monday to Thursday and on Sundays: 10.00 – 20.00
Friday and Saturday: 10.00 – 22.00
24.12.: 10.00 – 18.00
31.12.: 12.00 – 2.00