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Fermented Milk Products from All Over the World. Kefīrs (Latvia)

The kefir, known as kefīrs in Latvia, is believed to appear in the Caucasus area a very long time ago, being known in Russia since the 18th century. Kefir is obtained through the natural fermentation of milk, left at room temperature, although modern kefīrs is obtained through introducing bacteria cultures of kefir grains in the fresh milk. The kefir grains contain both bacteria and yeasts, which promote the milk’s fermentation process in a rather short time. Considering that Latvia is known for its farming activities, it is only natural for kefīrs to be a popular fermented milk product in this country. In fact, there are even traditional food exhibits in Latvia where farmers are invited to present their own specific dairy products, from which the best kefīrs, curds, or butter will be selected. But, you can also find kefīrs in supermarkets and grocery stores, plain or with fruity flavors, ready to be consumed right away. Kefīrs play an important role in the Latvian cuisine, being not just a great snack or breakfast option, but also an addition to various savory dishes. For example, a dish of boiled and then fried peas is served with bacon and kefīrs, or sour cream, as the creamy texture and sour taste of kefīrs is highly appreciated and used as sauce. In fact, kefīrs is so appreciated in Latvia that the production of this dairy product was estimated at 26,000 tons per year. It is known the case of one single person in Latvia that consumed 12 liters of kefīrs in one year alone, which is a clear view over the importance of this product in the country.

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