Enjoy the Taste of Autumn in the Area of Tukums on 2nd and 3rd of October!

The days of home cafés at the doorstep to Kurzeme on the 2nd and 3rd of October will be inviting to taste the autumn in the vicinity of Tukums with the Travellers’ Day of the Ķemeri National Park and extensive Birdwatching Day events. You will be invited to taste the autumn on the long coastline of Tukums from Jaunķemeri to Bērzciems, which is known for its fish delicacies, and along the ancient Abava river valley, which will have dressed itself in the autumnal gold and will entice you to go on a stroll along the banks of river Imula and Amula to enjoy the food and produce made by the local farmers.

Tukums will be inviting you to explore the small town charm by visiting the open-air art exhibition and tasting autumn’s bounties in courtyards of the town, and will challenge you to find the answer of where the border between Kurzeme and Zemgale lies in the area of Tukums, Irlava and Jaunpils. Both Jaunmokas Manor and Jaunmokas Palace will take part in the campaign, and their enthusiastic hostesses who will take you on a historic journey to different eras and share memories.

On the days of home cafés, 23 farmers will be welcoming you to taste the autumn. There will be 4 routes that you can take to visit the industrious farmers at the doorstep to Kurzeme.

The taste of the border between Kurzeme and Zemgale

Disputes are ongoing about where Tukums lies: in Kurzeme or Zemgale. Historically, Tukums has been a true border town because it was where the vast and beautiful Kurzeme starts when you travel westwards from Riga, or ends if you travel from Kurzeme to the capital or to the prosperous Zemgale. Only a few kilometres across the border, the expansive fields of Zemgale begin, which several centuries ago were boggy marshlands.

The area of Jaunpils is also considered a borderland because the Kartavkalns Hill of Jaunpils is believed to be the furthest Semigallian hillfort north-westwards from the centre of Zemgale.

It is believed that over many centuries, the matter of borders has contributed to the special taste of the locals of Tukums which is expected to manifest itself in this year’s “Home café days”. In Tukums, the travellers will be awaited by the young chef Mārtiņš Zelmenis with his CORNER’s house restaurant cuisine at the developing world culture centre “Tukku Magi” courtyard, offering dishes that are equally visually and gastronomically pleasing. The chef of the Jaunmokas Palace will have prepared the “Mysterious Forest and Beautiful Garden Offer”.

Whereas the 12th unit of scouts and guides of Tukums in Sēme will invite you to join them and enjoy a meal made in open air, while learning something new, like survival in the wild. Both home cafés in Irlava will offer dishes like at grandma’s — delicious and filling, made from local produce. Whereas the farmer Agnese near Jaunpils will invite you to try a true taste of the forest, while the tavern of the Jaunpils Castle will give you an opportunity to enjoy your meal right at the forest.

Taste the autumn on the seashore

The municipality of Tukums has nearly 60 km of seashore which is home to many fishing villages. In four of these, fisherwomen will welcome you to their homes to enjoy the tastes of the sea in autumn — how the wind blows, the waves are whispering and migrating birds are calling out to each other in the skies.

Even though the fishermen’s life has always been tough, the sailors who journeyed further away had a chance to see and taste lots of new and unusual things which they brought home as novelties. This will be represented also at the coastal home cafés. In Plieņciems, the hostess Edīte Millere will be inviting you to try out tastes of the world and will share her adventures from trips around the world; meanwhile, in Ķesterciems, the hostess Brigita Raginska will be inviting to taste traditional fish dishes, as well as introduce you to the traditions of a fisherman’s life.

In Engure, you will have a chance to enjoy a meal with musical accompaniment and try out your hand in creative activities. You will have an opportunity to try a wide variety of fish dishes, and to add that special autumn flavour — to enjoy various pumpkin dishes. Meanwhile, in Bērzciems, you can visit the wittiest of fisherwomen Iveta Celkarte, who will offer you fish dishes accompanied by local dialect — if you are able to follow the speech, you will be able to understand local jokes.

The adventure of tastes in the Abava ancient river valley

Have you ever seen “the golden autumn” in Kurzeme? We believe the most beautiful area is the Abava ancient river valley, especially around Kandava. Here, you can stand on the top of the hill on the one side of the Abava river valley and imagine how many hundreds and even thousands of years the waters of the wide river flowed below. You can regard the vast expanse and see the lavish homes of Kurzeme inhabited by industrious people.

During the days of home cafés, visitors to this area will be treated to true delicacies from the field and forest. Smoked and dried products along with fruit, vegetables, pumpkins and mushrooms will be on offer. These can be washed down with wines, on the side of snails and some truly Latvian dishes, If you stay in Kandava, however, at the local museum, you will be able to taste a genuine acorn coffee.

Autumn flavours of the Ķemeri National Park

The Ķemeri National Park is one of the most charming places in Latvia where the beauty of marshlands is manifested in full. Here, you can feel the freshness of the Gulf of Riga and the deep silence of local forests, and in between them the unusual tranquillity of the meadows.

The offer of home cafés in the park will resemble its environment. In Antiņciems, you will be welcomed with herbal flavours to be tasted in every dish and drink. In “Valguma pasaule” dishes will be created using products from the surrounding area and with special recipes which will allow you to enjoy the special flavours of the park and area. In Jaunķemeri, you will have an opportunity to step back in time and try flavours of various eras, while in Smārde you will have a chance to experience how small the world is and how big we are in it.

It must also be noted that these days coincide with the Traveller’s Day at the Ķemeri National Park which will offer various activities to explore the park.

The home cafes event at the doorstep to Kurzeme in the area of Tukums has been created with the support of associations “Partnerības laukiem un jūrai” and “Kandavas partnerība”, and, of course, thanks to the enthusiasm of participants that is so very typical of Latvians. You can explore the offer of cafés here or download the campaign brochure (available from 21st September).

What to see in the area of Tukums in the autumn

During the campaign of home cafés at the doorstep to Kurzeme, we are offering 4 small destinations to visit and enjoy the autumn and flavours at the home cafes. The first small destination is the border between Kurzeme and Zemgale, which is the line stretching from Tukums to Jaunpils, because 4 rural municipalities — Džūkste, Slampe, Lestene and Jaunpils — are part of the historical region of Zemgale, while the rest are in Kurzeme. The area of Tukums is known for its castles and palaces — each one different in appearance and the era it represents. The landscape here fluctuates between the plains of Zemgale and the highlands of Kurzeme, and the nature trails are very scenic and surprising to many a traveller.

TOP 10 points of interest on the Kurzeme-Zemgale border during the autumn season:

- Tukums Old Town and the Art Route

- Durbe Manor

- Vineyard “Mazburkas”

- The Werewolf and Buck’s Hill trails

- Jaunmokas Manor

- Jaunpils Castle

- The large wooden spoon in Irlava

- Nature trail “Viesata River Bends”

- Jaunpils Castle

- Jaunpils Kartavkalni (Hanging Hills)

The second small destination of home cafés is the seashore of Tukums in the municipalities of Lapmežciems and Engure, which is nearly 60 km long. Here, fishing villages abound, and several of them still have some of the old-style authentic fishing houses. Oftentimes, as you travel through these villages, you can perceive in the air the delicious aroma of smoked fish.

TOP 10 points of interest on the coast and nearby in the autumn:

- Kupskalni Nature Trail

- Lapmežciems Museum

- Ragaciems piers

- Lāčupīte Dendrarium and the Garden of Well-being

- The white dune of Plieņciems

- The Church of Engure and the old Engure cemetery

- Cow and horse enclosures around Lake Engure

- Birdwatching tower at the nature park “Lake Engure”

- Bērzciems plankway in the sea

- Fishing homestead “Dieniņas”

The section of the Ancient Abava River Valley is nicknamed the Switzerland of Kurzeme. It is most beautiful in the autumn, when the mosaic like scenery here resembles a patchwork blanket. Only the most experienced of travellers know that the golden autumn is best enjoyed right here. The hills and valleys, small streams, cultivated fields, alleys taking you on a wonderful and colourful journey after which you want to shout out loud: “Our land is so beautiful!”

TOP 10 points of interest in the Abava ancient river valley in the autumn:

- Old Town and promenade of Kandava

- Kandava Livonian Order Castle ruins, the Gunpowder Tower and the castle mock-up

- The Museum of Kandava

- Yellow cinquefoil bog trail

- Buse Hillfort

- Imula river trails

- “Zviedru cepure”

- Vāne Lutheran Church

- Goat farm“Birznieki”

- Kurzeme Fortress Museum in Zante

The Ķemeri National Park is known to most by its Great Ķemeri Bog Boardwalk, which winds among hundreds of bog lakelets. But there are many more walks to go on in the Ķemeri Park – these will offer you an opportunity to explore the world of coastal lakes, the see one of the largest juniper stands in Latvia, to imagine the world of pirates and highway robbers, to learn about various types of forests or walk down the Green Dune, which separates the green-coloured bog from the rusty-coloured one.

The most popular points of interest in the Ķemeri National Park in the autumn:

- Art Space in Forest at “Valguma pasaule”, labyrinths of Celebrations and Meditation

- “The Wind Garden” and the monument by K. Zāle in Smārde

- Niedrāja boardwalk on Lake Kaņieris and the birdwatching tower

- Kaņieris Hillfort Trail

- The plankway of the sulphur ponds

- The Green Dune

- The plankway of Dumbrājs and the Forest Trail by “The Forest House”

- Trail around Lake Sloka

- The Great Ķemeri Bog Boardwalk

- Dunduri Meadows

 See you in the area of Tukums during the days of home cafés!