Riga - what a gem!

It was one of these *spur of the moment* ideas - and it turned out to be a good one - when a friend of mine decided "Let's go to Riga together!" We booked a rather inexpensive flight with WizzAir and found a hotel near the city center and off we were. At this point I usually give you the hotel information, but I'm afraid I cannot recommend the place we stayed at...

But the City was absolutely wonderful! Riga is a perfect mix of former-Easter-Block charme and western openess and commerce (oh the shopping!) and we made quite a few culinary discoveries on our way through the old cobbled streets of the city center :)

My first recommendation is a tiny little chocolate shop called Black Magic with a stunning interior that will take you back centuries and make you feel like you're on your way to becoming an apothecary - or a witch, depending on your preferences...

Needless to say I immediately felt at home. But the actual *magic* of this wonderful little place is the typical balsam they sell - yes it's alcohol and no I haven't tasted it, but it's Riga Black Balsam since 17hundred something, so I guess it's a big deal - AND: the chocolate! Oh, the chocolate... I recommend the pistacio praline! And the one with caramel! Or try the one filled with mac the champagne! Or strawberries!!! Oh yes, the chocolate..

After a few more rounds around town, we took the elevator up one of the church squires and enjoyed a true, 306° lookout over town - wonderful! We also met some fun Swiss people on the tower, who were in no way affiliated with the Swiss people we partied with at the Radisson later that night, but it seems that Riga is the place to be for Swiss people right now. Maybe it's the chocolate...

It really is a quaint little town... The Radisson blu has a nice and not overly expensive Skyline Bar on the top floor that offers another amazing view over town, especially at night. unfortunately,  we had to pay an Entrance fee, but it was definitely worth it, since the drinks were less expensive than we had anticipated and the (Swiss) company had us dancing all night long :) 

Since we didn't particulary enjoy our hotel's breakfast offer, we chose to have breakfast at one of the many cafés around town instead and stumbled into the Index Cafe, another place which quickly became a favorite. Their coffee is great and their oatmeal and porrige is the perfect way to start the day! Plus they are one a few feet away from the Riga Version of the Statue of Liberty and the city center.

But our favorite place in all of Riga is - and always will be - the wonderful restaurant and cocktail bar Cheers! not to confuse with the Boston version of course. The sheer fact that Cheers has the nicest waiters and the best brownie desserts ever is enough to love this place. Combine that with good musik and yummy cocktails and you have a place to be at night :) 

I mean really, they even put fairy dust on the brownie!

So, yes, Riga, a must-see in Europe and so wonderful we might go back next year just to see it all again! Of course there's not just food and drinks in the city; it also has a wonderful Art Nouveau quarter and many historic monuments and buildings as well as a wonderful culture and art scene, as far as we could tell - we just happen to be two foodies in love with the wonderful cafés and chocolate shops in town :) 

See you soon Latvia!