23 February 2018
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Cepelinai or didžkukuliai (singular: cepelinas) is Lithuania’s national dish. They are a type of dumpling made from grated and riced potatoes and usually stuffed with minced meat, although sometimes dry cottage cheese (curd) or mushrooms are used instead. So named because their shape resembles that of a Zeppelin airship.
Our Lithuanian moms' recipes

Many of our readers are very interested in food and recipes. Not least, there seems to be many who would like to find recipes for traditional Lithuanian dishes. VilNews will provide some highlights from time to time, but we also recommend all of you with special interest to join the Facebook group "Our Moms' Lithuanian Recipes" Click here to find this page.

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Our moms’
Lithuanian recipes

Our moms’ Lithuanian recipes is on Facebook. Click HERE to find it!

In 2011, a few of first generation Lithuanians from the Hartford Connecticut area in USA started posting on internet that they'd like to share some recipes that they grew up with. Many of these recipes may have been stored in someone's head and not written down, and the group wanted to make these recipes and food history from their beloved homeland at the Baltic Sea available also for future generations.

The group’s vibrant Facebook Page has till now collected over 1,000 members!


Category : Food, wine and more

A beer drinking country

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There are a number of things that make any Lithuanian swell with pride;
Rich History, Amber, Beautiful Nature, Basketball, etc.

There is, though, one that has a special place in their hearts. This source of pride is the Lithuanian Beer. Today, Lithuanians are among the best beer producers in the world, enjoying numerous international awards for the subtle taste and high quality of their drink. But is beer a truly “Lithuanian” drink and how deep are the traditions of brewing beer in Lithuania?


Category : Food, wine and more

Kugelis, the potato pudding that became a Lithuanian national dish

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Photo by Yours For Good Fermentables 

I’m very excited to share this recipe with you because


Once again I have been elected to share a traditional Lithuanian recipe with you due to the fact that I am so very “culinary challenged”. Please remember that I need to be supervised when I’m in the kitchen so that I don’t hurt myself. But the powers to be of VilNews feel that I’m the best person to share these recipes since if a person with my limited cooking skills can cook these tasty meals than it shows to every one how easy they are to prepare.


Category : Food, wine and more / Front page

Ready for a mushroom hunt?

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Mushroom ‘outlet’ at a Varena roadside.

Mushroom picking is undoubtedly one of the favourite activities of the Lithuanian people. It starts in the spring and lasts till the first frosts, normally early November. Mushroom hunting is probably Lithuania’s second most popular sport, after basketball. When rumours start to float around that the first mushrooms of the year have been seen in the woods, people get up at 6 am on Saturday morning and go to the woods with their baskets and plastic bags. You can actually experience traffic jams at that time on a Saturday morning! Entire families go mushrooming and return with overflowing baskets.

The most abundant forests are in Dzukija, the south eastern region. Traditionally the inhabitants of this part of the country are the most prolific mushroom gatherers and this region's cooks are known for the most creative mushroom recipes. The mushroom capital of Lithuania is the town Varena, founded in 1862 as centre of the Varena District.


Category : Food, wine and more

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Craving for a barbeque
on a Lithuanian lakeside

Text: Saulene Valskyte

Dark gray days and cold nights are finally over and spring/summer has made its way back to Lithuania. Just a few weeks ago you still could've found some remains of snow, but now the sun made her way back and it looks that everybody became happier over night.

After a long rainy autumn and an even longer cold dark winter, people were praying for spring to come back and when it did it looks like everyone is trying to catch up on all summer activities on the very first weekend.
Lakes take the biggest role in Lithuanian summer. Over winter everyone is just craving for barbeque on a lakeside and we do make sure that the very first summery sunshine will be welcomed somewhere in nature enjoying good weather and šašlykai*. Even when the weather is still quite chilly and only dropping clues about upcoming spring fills streets with bicycles and relaxed pedestrians, it looks like for months and months people were waiting for a chance to get out of their homes and finally they get the possibility to do that.  In a matter of days parks fill up with lovely couples, young families and youth  playing ball, cards or just chilling on barely sprouted grass.


Category : Food, wine and more

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Text: Saulene Valskyte

Spring has come, the sun is shining, birds are singing, at least that's what it should be like. In Lithuania Easter weather swings from blizzard to burning sun, but regardless to that is this the most colorful celebration of the year. As all Christian celebrations Easter traditions here are intertwined with paganism, Easter in particulary were a pagan celebration of awakening nature.

The Easter celebration starts a week before Easter Day, on Palm Sunday, when people are gathering in churches with beautiful, colorful, original “palms”. In Lithuania every region have there own palm making traditions, usually palm base are the juniper twig. During the church service the palms are being blessed. Afterwards people participate in a traditional Palm Sunday ritual, beating each other with the blessed palms, wishing each other health and strength. Today this is mostly a children game, but in old days everyone were doing it, singing "It's not me, it's palm what beats you, there's Easter in a week, and you will get an Easter egg".


Category : Food, wine and more

Kugelis recipe

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Photo by Yours For Good


I’m very excited to share this recipe with you because


Once again I have been elected to share a traditional Lithuanian recipe with you due to the fact that I am so very “culinary challenged”. Please remember that I need to be supervised when I’m in the kitchen so that I don’t hurt myself. But the powers to be of VilNews feel that I’m the best person to share these recipes since if a person with my limited cooking skills can cook these tasty meals than it shows to every one how easy they are to prepare.

Kugelis is quite easy to make. The only thing a little confusing about making kugelis is what recipe to use. All recipes for traditional foods of all nationalities have their own little twists to them based on the recipe from one family to another. Recipes for traditional Lithuanian meals are the same.


Category : Food, wine and more

New Year’s Eve in Lithuania!

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The New Year Eve party in the Skybar of Hotel Radisson Blu Lietuva in
Vilnius has become a classic tradition…
Info at:

Text: Saulene Valskyte

In Lithuania Christmas Eve is a family event and the New Year’s Eve a great party with friends!

Lithuanian say "Kaip sutiksi naujus metus, taip juos ir praleisi" (the way you'll meet the new year is the way you will spend it). So everyone is trying to spend New Year’s Eve with friend and have as much fun as possible.


Category : Food, wine and more

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A Lithuanian twist to
Thanksgiving this year?

Thanksgiving is a way for Lithuanian immigrants to celebrate being in America and to share that celebration with everyone in the nation—from the descendants of the people who arrived here on the Mayflower to a family that arrived here last year.

When families immigrate to the United States, they often keep to the foods of their native countries. They also tend to continue their traditional holidays. The one American event that gets incorporated into the holiday cycle of almost every new arrival is Thanksgiving. It usually includes all the traditional foods—turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, cranberries and popcorn, but often with unusual twists that reflect our original homeland.

Any unusual twists on a Lithuanian-American Thanksgiving?



Category : Food, wine and more / Front page


Have your say. Send to:

Is 'kugelis' Jewish or Lithuanian?

A few days ago our Associate Editor, Vin Karnila, wrote a well-tasting article about 'kugelis'. In addition to presenting his favourite recipe, he also claimed that this is a national Lithuanian dish. Here are a few of his phrases that got several reactions from readers over the latest days:

"Once again I have been elected to share a traditional Lithuanian recipe with you..."

"I think that 'kugelis' has more variations for recipes than any other Lithuanian dish..."

"In spite of what you may have read about "traditional Lithuanian breakfasts" in books, I can tell you that in Lithuania very often what you had for dinner last night is what you have for breakfast (and lunch) the next day."

To read more, go to our
Section 21 – FOOD, WINE AND MORE

This not a Lithuanian dish.

Sorry, but this is yet another example of the erroneous assumptions made about things that are nothing to do with Lithuania and yet, generally because a couple of letters have been on the end of a word (in this case the addition of the letters i and s at the end of the Yiddish/German word kugel), people assume that they're Lithuania. This not a Lithuanian dish.
Richard Schofield

Indeed a cherished Lithuanian dish

In response to Richard Schofield – Potato Kugelis is indeed a cherished Lithuanian dish. It is also called "Bulviu Plokstainis" (flat potato dish). It often contains pork products (like bacon) as that is what was in abundance in Lithuania and still is, although you can find Plokstainis with chicken as well.
I'll bet that there is not one Lithuanian family, regardless of their religious beliefs, that does not have a Potato Kugelis/Plokstainis recipe that is passed from generation to generation.
Rima Raulinaitis

Kugel (or Kigel) is eaten by Jews all over around

I was really interested to read that kugel (or Kigel) which is eaten by Jews all over around, may be a Lithuanian dish, I'd be interested in more information on the source of Kugel(is).
If you are already doing a research on that, could you tell me if Tshulent does sound familiar to Lithuanians?
Gershon Lehrer, Antwerp, Belgium

Kugelis is a favorite with all our family

My cousin from Stakiai grates the raw onion into the potato mixture….she said it keeps the potatoes whiter. I've tried it and it seems to keep them from turning gray. Kugelis is a favorite with all our family and I've made both bacon and vegetarian options – all are consumed pretty quickly!
Sandy Abramovich

We should not confuse the Lithuanian Kugelis with the Jewish Kugel

We should not confuse the Lithuanian Kugelis with the Jewish Kugel. I think the only similarity here is the name. The Lithuanian Kugelis is made with potatoes, while the Jewish kugelis is made mostly with noodles. The Lithuanian Kugelis requires bacon bits (and perhaps bacon fat). So try serving Lithuanian Kugelis to a religious Jew (after you tell him what's in it), and see what reaction you get.
Val Ramonis

In common sense terms, that makes it a Lithuanian dish

I am a professional translator and trained linguist and I have tried to find out the etymology (origin) of the word "kugelis" (N.B. the word, not the object). But no one seems to know for sure. One theory is that the word is of Germanic origin. This theory is around because it resembles the German word "kugel", which means "ball, sphere, globe". Well, sounds a little shaky to me, because kugelis is certainly not sphere-shaped, not even round in most cases (at least not these days). Another theory is that it may have something to do with the German word "kochen" (to cook), but the implication with that word is usually more about boiling than baking in the oven. ("Backen" is "to bake" in German.) In the end, does it matter? It's silly for Richard Schofield to proclaim "This not a Lithuanian dish." Millions of plates of kugelis are consumed by Lithuanians every year. In common sense terms, that makes it a Lithuanian dish.
Gintautas Kaminskas

RE: A beer drinking country

Great article with one noteable fact that is wrong. Lithuania only had one "king", the rest of the time it was the Grand Dukes who ruled. Wish there were something in there about the beer brewed at Avilys which happened to be my favorite when I was there.
Bernardas Tirva

Sveiki Ponas Bernardai,
Thank you for pointing that out. Yes, I stand corrected. I should have said with the permission of the Grand Duke.
Your comment about "Avilys" beer peaked my interest so I did a little searching. The result was that I couldn't come up with anything about a brewery or a specific beer named "Avilys. What I did find was that there are two micro breweries/restaurants named "Avilys". One is in Vilnius and the other in Kaunas. Naturally the beer they produce is called "Avilys beer". These two establishments currently are in operation so when you said "when I was there", I don't know if this is the same company making the same beer.
So many breweries in Lithuania have come and gone. Some have merged with other breweries, some have changed their names and some have simply just closed their doors. In the article, I wrote about the breweries that are still operating in Lithuania today. I'm sure volumes could be written about the others that existed in the past. If you could give us some information about the "Avilys" beer that you remember, I for one and I'm sure our readers would find this very interesting.
In fact we invite all of our readers to share any information you have about Lithuanian breweries from the past.
Su pagarbe – Vin Karnila


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