In South Karelia, even distant visitors are welcomed with open arms, entertained lavishly and given a loaf or pretzel to bring home when they leave.
Hospitality and warm informality are trademarks of this region. The local cuisine has its own distinctive features, even if many of the traditional dishes are shared by the whole region of Karelia. The most distinctive part of local cuisine is dishes cooked in a slow oven, such as the famous lamb and potato stew from Lemi.
Local specialities that have conquered the whole country include meat pies with various fillings. These were first offered to the burly working men at the marketplace of Lappeenranta in the 1950’s, from where they spread around Finland.
Even today, pastries and cakes are a traditional part of local cuisine, while they are undergoing continuous development. Small bakeries have created new product families, and their goodies have even been served at the President’s Independence Day party.
In South Karelia, we believe that food brings people together. The Culinary Society set up by Saimaa Tourism Academy and local chefs aims to preserve and modernize South Karelian food culture.
The chefs of the region have also got together to develop South Karelian cuisine to create new flavours. Their motto aptly is, “You do what you can, I’ll do what I want”.