"S" IS FOR SAUSAGE. The legend of Latvian hot-douge

“Sausage in dough” or “sausage roll” has been around for a while, and it also has become the most beloved type of local street food in Latvia. There has always been something slippery about the Latvian name, sometimes something suspicious about the content, although, when CAPITAL R found out there has been a “full-blooded” vegan version of "cīsiņš mīklā" made, we could not resist to tell a story of our childhood’s favourite savoury treat.
Therefore - to celebrate the Latvian centenary in roughly two months we deliver you an in-depth “sausage in dough” archaeology because, well, because we can.
The journey begins with announcing the recipe is sadly not Latvian. Sausage rolls in the modern sense appear to have been conceived at the beginning of the 19th century in France. It was seminally made of flaky pastry, which, in turn, originated with the Hungarian croissant of the late 17th century. Early versions of the roll with pork as a filler proved popular in London during the Napoleonic Wars and it became identified as an English foodstuff1.

Yet, who knows, how the recipe travelled all across Europe to land in our modest country to become “the thing”. A few newspapers suggest this could take place during the 1960's, yet, many will agree, "cīsiņš mīklā" appeared to become more known in mid 1980’s and it happened mostly in towns – the only places where sausages were produced and sold in bigger numbers. Some, who were kids back then and were living in villages, even remember the sausage being absent from their menu as long as mid 90’s - this might be an effect of the late-Soviet and post-Soviet periods, when sausages or meat as such were a deficit or expensive especially off the urban areas.
“I first tried it at my county town school around 1990. You could only dream about it then and maybe afford the treat once a month. It was like a celebration,” Margo Zālīte.
For many 90’s kids “cīsiņš mīklā” was more like an out-of-home food and, for most of Latvians it was a childhood treat. Later on it ranked among other foodstuff at high-school canteens or was mostly bought on the way back from school at the old, probably shabby local bakery (or at Central Market in the case of Rīga). By the millennium though “cīsiņš mīklā” had had become like a democratic jazz standard of fast food for pupils and teenagers.
Does it taste any good? For sure! The absolute most remember this food as a great pleasure for their taste buds. Even if there are a few bad experiences from time to time resulting in never trying “that thing” again, still many remember the first and the following tries as an unbelievable joy (if only the pastry is warm!).

When speaking about the recipe, many have their own theories and brands of ingredients, although it’s always super easy. The 4 pillars of the classic shape of “cīsiņš mīklā” is as stable as the downfall of Charlie Sheen – any type of sausage, any cheese that melts, dough and usually sesame seeds on top.

To represent “cīsiņš mīklā” the most accessible way there’s ever been possible we have chosen one providential place – CAPITAL R suggests visiting a cafe “Saldā Terapija” (Sweet Therapy), who decided to also bake the “soysage in dough” version with vegan “cheese” along with smashing cakes and desserts. Therefore, their recipe will be a mind-blowing alternative to meat eaters and a happy island for vegetarians and vegans (still no gluten-free though).

Where: Saldā Terapija is on Čaka street 74.
When: The cafe is open every day (except Sundays) from 10:00 - 19:00 (18:00 on Sat).
NB: Saldā Terapija is the only one offering a vegan version of "cīsiņš mīklā". If you are avoiding animal products and try to purchase it anywhere else, the food won't be anything you expect it to be!

1 Sausage Roll. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausage_roll