The manor houses of the Lithuanian nobility used to be famous for their hospitality. The owners even competed with each other to see who could get the better chef from France or Italy. Delicacies from Lithuania’s forests and fields spiced up by seasoning from overseas were highly valued by guests. Legend has it that for a true nobleman, dying at the table was an honourable way to go. The tradition of stuffing a guest full has survived to this day in the manors of Lithuania that have now been restored. Manor kitchens hold special dinners. You have to prepare yourself for these feasts – it’s best to come on an empty stomach.
Lithuanian rulers and nobles brought back various culinary traditions from their trips around the world. Authentic medieval, Renaissance and Baroque recipes that have been found in ancient manuscripts are now being brought back to a new, modern life.
Parsnip waffles with fresh cucumbers and quince honey, rose and black currant jam, oven-baked guinea fowl and tarragon sour cream, cheese baked on hay, herring pâté, slow-cooked game – the most interesting culinary experiences of the 19th century can be found in this kitchen.
The old dishes of the Aukštaitija region, the treasures grown in the surrounding gardens and orchards, and the berries and mushrooms foraged in forests. The peaceful atmosphere and the classical music concerts that are held here add extra flavour to the authentic manor food that is served.
The baron of Pakruojis Manor will invite you to a manor feast. But the rules go that you’ll first have to look around the manor house, check out the hunting trophies, and take a walk in the park so that you work up a good appetite. The feast will be endless: several types of appetizers, soup, entrées and dessert. To make sure that the guests don’t get tired while they eat, the baron and his lady will ask you to come into the perfume room and the cigar room during the break.
If you’ve never been invited to a special feast at the Tyszkiewicz manor in Raudondvaris, don’t be dejected. You can take part in a museum education programme during which the count’s chef will be on hand to prepare his signature orange soup, and the count and the countess will be happy to show you around the manor halls and tell you about their travels to countries where oranges and lemons are grown.