Throughout the year, Baltic cuisine features rye bread, grains, fresh and fermented dairy products, and various cheeses. During the spring and summer, there are lighter dishes of fresh vegetables, herbs, berries, mushrooms and fish. During the winter and fall, the cuisine becomes substantial with meat, vegetables, legumes, stews, pickled, marinated and spicy dishes that are supplemented with warming and aromatic spices.
People in rural areas and cities cook food differently. Rural dishes are simpler and more filling, and they are cooked on the basis of local traditions. Women in guesthouses offer food that they cook themselves. Recipes are handed down generation to generation so as to preserve the harvest during the winter – preparing sauerkraut, smoking or blazing fish, marinating and salting cucumbers and mushrooms, cooking jams and compotes, freezing berries and drying herbs for teas. Still, there are also high-class restaurants in rural regions, with chefs tracking the latest trends in their industry.
Products from forests and bodies of water have particular tastes and nutritional value. Each country has laws and regulations that limit the hunting and fishing seasons, thus making sure that environmental riches are protected. Urban residents and tourists have information about when, where and how they can safely go fishing, hunting, or berry and mushroom picking. As a speciality, Finland has the famous “everymans rights” that allow everyone to pick berries and gather mushrooms in all the forests – no matter who is the land owner.