Lets mix salsa with watermelon and cucumber, add flowers to a green salad, mix raspberries with beetroot biscuit – we decided to throw a gourmet party. Indeed, more than 60 restaurants, cafes and coffee houses are open in Druskininkai, where you can taste dishes from molecular cuisine to hearty farm breakfasts. And people come to the resort not only for health, but also for tasty food that the restaurants offer.
Restaurant owners of popular establishments in Druskininkai told us what they consider good food, the top dishes of summer season, unusual combinations of tastes and revealed useful secrets for a home lunch.
“We choose the shortest way from the farmer to the restaurant”
Augustinas Kalanta is the person, who is loved by all – he is the head chef of the restaurant “Dangaus skliautas“. He bakes bread himself, prepares barbecues for friends, offers old recipes and comes up with innovations in restaurants.
In Druskininkai, in the Dangaus skliautas restaurant near the Nemunas river you will find fusion cuisine, that is, food without geographical preferences. The large area allows you to turn around with barbecue and grilled dishes. When Dangaus skliautas was opened, chef Augustinas launched the grilled food week: a new recipe every day. Meat and vegetables on the grill with marinades from different countries remain popular among guests to this day.
“The road from the farm to the restaurant kitchen should be as short as possible,” says Augustinas. Blueberries have appeared, which means that salads with blueberry sauce will definitely be one of the top dishes. Homemade mayonnaise is made from local eggs, and the cheeses are also regional. For example, two-year parmesan and French with mold, mozzarella and feta, curd cheeses are made at the “Augų ūkis” farm near Druskininkai.
– – In the summer we try to cook light meals, for example, bao burgers with a steamed bun. Coming up with something of our own, Morenginė Pavlov (morengo Pavlov) – add mascarpone to a light dessert with seasonal berries and fruits. We have carrot cream soup with coconut milk and almonds. A smoked chicken is an example of what makes a dish popular in addition to its taste, the way it is served, says Augustinas.
Cornflowers on a plate, flowers can also be eaten
You can also go to the garden and find everything there for summer meals, which is what food blogger Renata Ničajienė does. Edible flowers, such as nasturtium, cornflowers, cucumber and pumpkin flowers, chamomile, and calendula, can be a good addition to your healthy diet in summer.
Renata’s top unusual summer recipes include salsa made from watermelon and cucumber. Watermelon also goes well with: mint, avocado, feta cheese, plus the usual ingredients: coriander, lime juice, blue onion. Finally, the salsa can be sprinkled with salted corn chips or nuts. You can find this recipe and many other seasonal dishes on Renata’s website: https://www.sezoninevirtuve.lt/
Watermelon gazpacho – a summer trip without leaving Druskininkai
In Toli Toli we go on a gastronomic journey across different countries. Actually, this is the concept of an atmospheric restaurant in the center of Druskininkai. From her trips, the owner of the establishment Indre Armalite brings not only authentic recipes, but also interior items, textiles, paintings, jewelry.
– “We give our guests the opportunity to travel without leaving,” says restaurant manager Anna Utesheva. In two hours at Toli Toli you can visit Greece: try baked feta cheese or Greek vegetable sticks as well as India with tiko masala, a traditional spicy chicken and rice. Palestine opens up on a large plate of treats, mezze is a set of snacks: hummus, muhamara, babaganush, etc. Or you can order a “hairy star” – an Arabian dessert knafe from Nablus (an ancient city in the Palestinian Authority) – a nest of 4 cheeses and a sauce of pink syrup.
Of course we can’t go without interpretations that are relevant to the season. Spanish gazpacho was successfully supplemented with watermelon this year. “In this heat, the guests reacted very well. In our version we mix watermelon with garlic and tomatoes and add a little … love, – says Anna. Among the drinks in the summer, favorites are homemade lemonade with currants with raspberries, sea buckthorn, mango, passion fruit and others.
At Tomoko (Indrė’s second restaurant, opened in Druskininkai just a few months ago), plum lemonade is the favorite. Let’s reveal a secret: here plums are baked with cinnamon and blended until it becomes puree. Tomoko deliberately blends Japanese cuisine with Western gastronomic traditions. It’s as if a date of two cultures is happening on one plate. For example, Tomkatsu pork, a familiar schnitzel, but with Tsukemono, Japanese pickled vegetables. Or Hambagu burger – a burger without a bun with red wine sauce.
One of the local finds – Unusual combinations of flavors from common products
You can easily experiment with beets and raspberries at home, but in the panoramic restaurant “Keturi Vėjai” on the roof of GrandSpa Lietuva, this combination is given a touch of French cuisine.
Raspberry mousse is served with almond crumbs, beet sponge cake, raspberry gel, beetroot powder and raspberry ice cream. You can try cooking this at home yourself.
– Raspberries grow in the garden of every Lithuanian gardener. I wanted to make it prevail, but also combined it with beets – one of the most Lithuanian vegetables, – says Inga Uletskienė, Nutrition Director of Keturi Vėjai.
Experimenting with simple, affordable seasonal produce is a great experience for guests. An apple is also a very Lithuanian fruit. However, I wanted something new, so the idea was born to make apple jelly, which was combined with hazelnuts. Ice cream with green pepper complemented the color palette of the dessert.
And for a homemade lunch, you can use this vegetarian recipe from Keturi Vėjai: sweet, juicy raspberries, go well with dark chocolate. Wash the raspberries and pat dry. Prepare four non-stick muffin tins and insert paper muffin tins into them. Steam melt the coconut oil, add the chopped chocolate and heat until smooth while stirring. Stir in coconut milk and remove chocolate from heat. The chocolate mass must be poured into tins in equal parts. Add raspberries – 2-3 raspberries in the mass and put 4-5 pieces on top. Place the baskets in the freezer for an hour to freeze.
We looked only at 5 restaurants in Druskininkai, and that is just a drop in the ocean of discoveries that await you in Druskininkai. Especially for the summer season, one of the restaurateurs built an oven to bake bread on buckwheat flour according to old Lithuanian recipes, and someone is preparing to receive a Michelin star.