Vilnius was swept up in a whirlwind of excitement and culinary delights as the Pink Soup Fest took center stage, celebrating Lithuania's adored cold beetroot soup. This highly anticipated festival, held on June 10th, captivated the hearts and palates of both locals and visitors, immersing them in a vibrant celebration of culinary heritage.
June 11, 2023. On June 10th, Vilnius — capital of Lithuania — embraced the joyous Pink Soup Fest, a spectacular celebration of Lithuania's beloved cold beetroot soup, which took place in the heart of the city. Locals and visitors were dressed in various shades of pink representing the bellowed šaltibarščiai and reveled in the festivities, as the city’s TV Tower loomed — illuminated in pink — above the festival-goers.
Inga Romanovskienė, director at Go Vilnius, the official tourism and business development agency of Vilnius and the organizer of the festival, said: “Since the cold beetroot soup is inseparable from warm season treats in Lithuania and is one of the draws for visiting travelers, the Pink Soup Fest is our way to celebrate the beginning of the summer season. With mild warm temperatures, lots of greenery, 700-year history and long evenings when the sun doesn’t set until midnight, Vilnius offers a relaxing and refreshing getaway.”
She added: “Visitors to Vilnius are often pleasantly surprised to see how much the city has to offer. There are a lot of amazing sides of Vilnius to discover, including its trademark Baroque architecture, quality gastronomy, lively cultural scene, as well as relaxed atmosphere and closeness to nature.”
Vilnius paints itself pink in celebration of iconic dish
The Pink Soup Fest brought together the lively Vilnius community, which included diners, cafés, bars, nightclubs, tour operators, corporations, entertainers, vehicle enthusiasts, and more. Participating establishments enticed festival visitors with special discounts emphasizing their unique views on cold beetroot soup, inviting tourists on a fascinating gourmet journey. A record amount of 500 liters of šaltibarščiai was prepared for the event in one bowl. Attendees were also treated to tantalizing fragrances reminiscent of pink soup, as well as interesting graffiti with soup-related motifs. One of the city's most prominent aesthetic elements was an eye-catching mural created by famed artist Eglė Žvirblytė that can be seen in Vilnius's center, near to Bernardine Garden. Jolita Vaitkutė, another artist known for her food-based art, has also unveiled an installation at the Lukiškės square that celebrates the dish.
The infectious enthusiasm for the vibrant pink dish transcended the festival itself. Attendees embraced the spirit of the occasion by donning whimsical costumes inspired by beetroot, eggs, or cartons of buttermilk, sliding down the Bastion hill, which afforded breathtaking panoramic views of Užupis, the bohemian district, and the self-proclaimed separate Republic. People from other countries such as Poland, Israel, France Norway, and Sweden, also eagerly participated proving that once you try an iconic pink soup you can’t stop falling in love with it wherever you are from. The exhilarating descent culminated in a specially constructed artificial soup bowl, adding an element of whimsy to the festivities.