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European city that just got first Michelin stars is foodie's dream and home to quirky fest


At the beginning of the summer, Vilnius wears pink to celebrate one of Lithuania’s most famous dishes, the pink soup, or Šaltibarščiai.

While this famous cold beetroot and kefir recipe’s ownership is disputed between several neighbouring countries, Lithuania doesn’t shy away from claiming it.

In fact, the first weekend of June, more than 42,000 celebrated this refreshing, bright pink-coloured dish at the Pink Soup Festival 2024, where two unique records were set.

One of the records was for the longest table of cold pink soup, and the other, for most people eating cold pink soup at the same time.

Some 1200 visitors at Tymas market sat at a 362-meter-long table, enjoying šaltibarščiai for at least two minutes straight to achieve this impressive goal.

Pink-clad attendees enjoyed activities including a slide down a whimsical 50-meter-long pink slide down Bastion Hill, that was located next to a children’s slide into a large inflatable bowl filled with cold pink soup.

The event also included a costume competition inspired by soup, hot air balloon rides, and more than 15 food trucks serving an array of pink soup-based dishes, from ice cream to cocktails.

And this was not the only exiting food-related event happening in Vilnius this month, as the largest city in Lithuania also received the country’s first-ever Michelin stars today.

Michelin Stars are bestowed upon restaurants featured in The Michelin Guide selection that deliver exceptional culinary experiences.

These prestigious awards consider five universal criteria: the quality of ingredients, the harmony of flavours, the mastery of cooking techniques, the chef’s unique expression through their cuisine, and importantly, the consistency of excellence throughout the entire menu and over time.

The stylishly decorated Demo is a café during the day that transforms into a restaurant later in the week, with menus described by the guide as “imaginative”, as they “create excitement at every course and the dishes are well matched by some interesting wine pairings.”

The “laid-back” Nineteen18, located in the old town, features industrial-style decor and is run by Chef Andrius, whose mother’s recipe for dumplings with mushrooms has been praised by the Michelin inspectors.

Also located in the centre of Vilnius is Džiaugsmas, composed of several modern, industrial style dining rooms. This eatery has been hailed by Michelin inspectors for having dishes that are “easy to eat, with a pared-back style that allowed the flavours of the core ingredients to shine through, creating a truly memorable experience.”

Finally, the now Michelin-starred Pas mus, which loosely translates as ‘our house’, and is decorated with wooden tables and candles that contribute to the homely feeling, which is further reinforced by Chef-Owner Vita’s use of her mother’s garden produce.



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