By Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly

Over the years as we have traveled and explored the markets of the Baltic and Scandinavia, our chefs have developed a love of earthy Nordic food, ingredients, techniques, and traditions. One of our most popular chefs, Karlis Celms, came to us from Riga, Latvia as our local chef host leading our Culinary Discovery Tour through the Riga market.

This excursion, Chef’s Market Tour & Latvian Cooking Lesson, takes you on an insider’s tour of Europe’s largest market and bazaar, Riga Central Market. You have the chance to taste local specialties such as smoked herring, local cheeses, traditional rye breads, and regional sweet treats — plus we shop for ingredients for your cooking class. You’ll have ample time to take in the unique atmosphere and architecture of this bustling UNESCO World Heritage site. You also get a great panoramic tour of Riga as we travel to and from the market – keep an eye out for the famed Art Nouveau Street, where you can really get a good look at the stunning architecture of this city.

Back on board at The Culinary Center, we dive into a true farm-to-table cooking experience as we prepare traditional dishes such as Latvian meatballs in a cream gravy and root potato mash as well as seasonal berries made into a chutney or perhaps spring mushrooms for a duxelle tart. It all depends on what we find in the market! We top it all off with a delicious lunch paired with artisanal beers we specially select – a true celebration of all that makes Nordic cuisine so special.

So start planning your next culinary adventure with us and cook up a Nordic feast with this delicious fish soup – one of my favorites from Latvia’s neighboring country, Estonia.

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ESTONIAN CREAMY FISH SOUP

Serves 4

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely diced onion
1 tablespoon ground allspice
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock, cold
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups 1-inch red new potato cubes
½ pound salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ pound halibut fillet, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 to 2 teaspoons fish sauce
Coarsely ground white and pink peppercorns, to taste
2 tablespoons each chopped fresh dill and chopped chives

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sweat the onions with the allspice, bay leaves, and thyme until onions soften and aromas bloom, about  6 minutes. Add the cold stock, cream and potatoes and simmer until potatoes are al dente, about 10 minutes. Add the fish and continue to simmer until the fish is cooked, about 5 minutes. Taste and add fish sauce and cracked pepper to season.

Serve in warmed bowls and garnish with dill and chives – and enjoy!