Smorgasbord (Aukstais galds)

This is what you would serve at a big party, a formal anniversary dinner, a wedding reception, a post-funeral reception — any formal or semi-formal occasion. The more formal the occasion and/or the more people attending, the more different kinds of dishes you serve.

The essence of a Latvian smorgasbord is: variety, quality, and appearance. Unless it would look messy if cut up, every item making up the smorgasbord must be already sliced and arranged on a plate, tray, in a basket, etc. Garnish everything! Most Latvians use chopped scallions (green onions) for colour (instead of parsley), and radishes cut into roses or slices as garnish (for a nice red accent).

First you put out the savoury items. After these are all eaten, you clear off the buffet table and put out the desserts, and the coffee urn. This is similar to a Swedish smorgasbord, but it is almost invariably all cold dishes (and you don't serve Swedish meatballs!).

Meat and fish dishes


Often two or more kinds of potato salad are prepared: one with beets, one without, and/or one with small pieces of pickled herring mixed in.


Breads are sliced and placed in baskets. Butter, not margarine, is set out on the table.


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This page created and maintained by
A. Steinbergs

Last revised September 19, 2008