Saimaa is the

European Region of Gastronomy 2024

The Lake Saimaa region has been awarded the prestigious, international European Region of Gastronomy title. The unique gastronomy and culture of Eastern Finland are celebrated with rich experiences that combine the purest food in the world and the original culture.

Taste Saimaa is a delicious union of Eastern Finnish food, culture and traditions

Eastern Finland holds a treasure – the hidden gem – the enchanting Lake Saimaa with its pure nature. Saimaa engages all senses with its fresh wilderness, captivating silence, clean water, endless forests and the welcoming Eastern Finnish culture. For us, gastronomy is an everyday luxury as our forests and lakes serve us the purest food in the world.

The largest lake in Finland is loved by many, several million guests visit the Saimaa region annually. Its cleansing waters and many bridges connect shores, towns, villages and people. People living in this area are known for their perseverance and hospitality. There is always room for guests at the table and food is a matter of honour for eastern Finnish hosts.

Saimaa European Region of Gastronomy

Saimaa European Region of Gastronomy covers the three regions of Eastern Finland: South Savo, South Karelia and North Karelia. Our cuisine is based on seasonal harvests. We still have the skills of living in perfect harmony with nature. The long, white nights of the north create the perfect conditions for growing pure, aromatic ingredients. The forests of Saimaa are a treasure trove of wild vegetables, berries and mushrooms, full of rich flavours.

In the Saimaa region, we have found creativity as a resource in beautiful and favorable as well as in harsh conditions. In the European Region of Gastronomy year 2024, we aspire to combine food with art and culture in ways never seen before. That’s why our culture is unique – and worth discovering.

Muikkupääruoka Kallioniemessä.

The best flavours, experiences and joys of Finnish Lakeland spring from the beautiful wilderness, peace, warm hospitable culture and the pu rest food in the world added with the extra flavour of Saimaa mystique.


Saimaa offers pleasures for all senses:

See the wild beauty of Saimaa.
Hear the captivating silence and and ancient soundscape.
Smell the fresh air.
Taste the purest food in the world.
Touch the grounding soil and the cleansing waters.
Connect with the mysteries of Saimaa.

New potatoes of the season, spring onions with butter and wild herb salad

800 g new potatoes
200 g of spring onions
200 g of butter
Sea salt

New potatoes
Wash the potatoes and boil them in salted water until they are fork-tender. Pour off the water and let the potatoes rest under the lid for about 5 minutes. Serve with spring onion butter and wild herb salad.

Spring onions with butter
Chop the white parts of the spring onions and simmer them in butter on a low heat for 15 minutes. Add the chopped stems and simmer more for 5 minutes. Season with salt.

Wild herb salad
Prepare a salad of young wild vegetable shoots. Pick, for example, wild goutweed, stonecrop, dandelion and lady’s mantle. Rinse with cold water and dry gently. Mix with olive oil in a bowl and serve.

Recipe by Chef Ilkka Arvola

Flavours of Lake Saimaa tour

Saimaa Gastronomy tour

Saimaa cuisine