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jrussell

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  1. For Riga... Definitely Riga Central Market, as mentioned above. At least to me, Latvian rye bread is a real delight (very dark and dense) (there was a recent piece in Saveur about regional differences in European rye breads). Look for piragi, the delicious Latvian ham rolls. I'm blanking on the name of my favorite place and my trip notes are elsewhere, but based on the location I think it ay be the place referenced in some other posts, Rausu Meistars located on Gertrudes Iela. You'll also find some at the Central Market. Riga Black Balsams is a treat if you like bitter, amaro-style liqueurs,
  2. Yes and no. The best way to learn about aging wine is to try it -- buy a half-case or case of some wines (can be inexpensive while you're learning about it) and open one periodically, watching as and how it evolves. As you notice what changes, you'll start to figure out what to look for when the wine is first released. And seek out opportunities to taste verticals of wine -- newer and older vintages of the same wine, which can give you some clues (of course, some years produce longer-aging structures of the same wines than others). But keep in mind that even the most experienced critics' and
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