Saimaa cuisine


Finnish food is based on the rich, wholesome ingredients of Finland’s beautiful natural landscape. Pure, sparkling freshwater lakes teem with fish while the verdant forests are full of wild-grown juicy berries, plump mushrooms and wild game. Fresh fruit and vegetables grow in fields edged by woodland and local livestock graze in sunny meadows as you stroll through the area. With such a bounty on offer, eating in Finland is a pleasure!

Food in Finland reflects its Nordic heritage as well as influences from Russia to the east. This is particularly true in the south-easterly region of Lake Saimaa where you’ll find traditional Karelian dishes alongside smoked reindeer from Lapland and unique local dishes such as the kalakukko pie and lörtsy pastry.

Delicious natural flavours from the lakes, forests and meadows

This is a land of forests and lakes, and it shows in the food in Finland. Saimaa in particular is a colossal lake system where you can just as easily go fishing for yourself or find locally-caught freshwater fish such as vendace. Known as muikku in Finnish, fried vendace is a popular meal served both in restaurants along the shoreline and as street food in the marketplace.

The forests too are full of Finnish berries, mushrooms and other edibles which grow naturally at their own pace, wild. As a result, they’re a little bit smaller than the farmed equivalents but pack much more flavour and nutrition, true Finnish superfoods.

Local produce and where to eat

In Finland, you’ll also find a land with a love of coffee and a taste for good wines and beers. Both from the continent and locally brewed, beer is as popular here as anywhere and is well represented in the bars, pubs and restaurants of Saimaa’s larger towns of Mikkeli, Savonlinna and Varkaus. As well as wines from abroad, you can also expect to see locally-produced fruit wines made with real delicious fruit from local orchards and wild berries picked from the forest.

Local businesses such as Ollinmäki Winery and others provide not only tasty local Finnish food and drink but also great service and a welcoming atmosphere. Lake Saimaa’s many cafés, bars, pubs, markets and restaurants ensure that eating in Finland is always a pleasant experience and never a rushed one. Come and enjoy the delicious, natural food of Finland!