Cold beetroot soup, a beloved staple in every Lithuanian household throughout the summer months and famous for its bright pink color, is getting a grand celebration in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Pink Soup Fest will be sweeping over the city center all day long on June 10th.
The soup, similar to the Spanish gazpacho because it is also served chilled, is the cult-favorite dish of Lithuanian cuisine. Bright in color and refreshing in taste, the dish combines unexpected ingredients like beetroot, cucumber, fresh dill, eggs, and buttermilk with a side of hot potatoes to create an unmatched flavor burst. Since it is cold, the soup is featured heavily on Lithuanian menus during the heat waves and has been seeping into pop culture as well, turning up on clothing items or in various snacks.
Vilnius’s gastro scene has skyrocketed in the past few years—the entire ecosystem was awarded real stars in the sky that symbolize a Michelin-like award, while renowned chefs offer delicacies from fresh seasonal produce and local farms. Residents and visitors of Vilnius are keen on unearthing new tastes in highly popular food courts or exploring the multicultural fusion cuisine that features Jewish, Polish, and Lithuanian nobles’ dishes and flavors from Lebanon, Japan, India, Nepal, France, and other countries. Since the cold beetroot soup is inseparable from warm season treats in Lithuania and is one of the draws for visiting travelers, the festival will, therefore, start the tradition of celebrating the beginning of the summer.
The occasion will unite the members of Vilnius community—restaurants, cafes, pubs, nightclubs, guides, businesses, performers, automotive communities, and many others. Restaurants and cafes will offer special deals on the soup, inviting festivalgoers to try unique variations of the dish. More than that, festival visitors will have the chance to bring the pink soup home scents back with them and feast their eyes on the soup-themed graffiti. One of the artistic highlights will be a mural of the pink soup by the artist Eglė Žvirblytė near Bernardine Garden in the heart of Vilnius.
Pink craze all over town
The craziness of the fuchsia-colored dish will also reflect on the event—everyone in attendance will be asked to put on a fancy dress costume that relates to the soup, be it a beetroot, an egg, or a carton of buttermilk, and slide down the Barbakanas Bastion hill—which offers panoramic views of the Užupis, the bohemian district, and the self-proclaimed separate Republic—straight into a specially made artificial soup bowl.
After the hill slide, the Pink Soup King or Queen will be elected, visitors will be invited to roam around food trucks offering a refreshing bowl of the dish, relax in the local park, and enjoy musical performances, while children will get the chance to try out trampolines. Since the fest aligns with Vilnius’ 700th anniversary year, visitors will have the chance to soak up the festive atmosphere and visit other cultural events.
More information: https://www.govilnius.lt/pink-soup-fest.