When was the last time the chef in a restaurant told you he himself had picked the herbs you were just eating in the forest that morning?
I just came back from Kuopio in the region of Northern Savonia and I´m so impressed by how much effort the chefs in this region put into the food they prepare and how important food is as a part of the Finnish culture and tradition.
What made this trip different was first of all that it was my first time in this Scandinavian country and secondly, that it had a very specific purpose: visiting the festival “Satoa goes Wild”, a local food festival in Kuopio where bars, cafés and restaurants from all price ranges and all different types of cuisine open their doors andoffer small appetizers to everyone. From fancy Angus steaks to fresh and delicious honey-strawberry smoothies: In only a couple of days I could get a good idea of what Finnish food is about.
Natural taste made in Finland
The region of Northern Savonia is well known for its wonderful nature and extremely clean air. So naturally chefs and restaurant owners become inspired to create dishes that represent this sense of nature. From local herbs in every single dish to interesting and unique mixes of sweet and salty, the local food is always prepared with the freshest ingredients available and with a touch of local culture: young pine needles giving a refreshing taste to a steak or local herbs in a homemade fruit ice cream are only some of the small delicacies I discovered.
And not only the food represents the natural wonders around the region of Northern Savonia, almost every drink I had during my visit had been prepared only minutes ago with freshly picked fruits. Even the water comes directly from the lake surrounding Kuopio. There are probably only few places left on the planet where you can experience this purity.
Modern culture as part of a traditional past
In contrast to its big sister Helsinki, Kuopio´s cultural past still plays a big role in its modern lifestyle. With local shops selling handcrafted products and farmers´ markets at the main square, a trip to Kuopio can become a short travel back in time. And the country’s gastronomy tells the same story, as many restaurants want to keep a traditional atmosphere with local but also modern influence.
Travelers in the Northern Savonia region can take part in traditional activities like sailing on the lake in traditional boats, bonfire evenings in the middle of the Finnish forest or the Finnish favourite activity: Sauna.
With excellent food, adventure getaways, wonderful landscapes and an extremely friendly and lovely people, Finland surprised me and I can´t wait to come back.