The taste of North Karelia

Karelian food tradition has strong roots in the nature of North Karelia. Karelia à la carte combines the best aspects of traditional cuisine with more modern tastes, laying stress on individuality in preparation and taking the fullest possible advantage of seasonal ingredients.

Syksyinen sienikeitto

Saimaa is the European Region of Gastronomy 2024

The Saimaa region has been nominated as the European Region of Gastronomy. North Karelia is one part of the region providing pure Karelian flavours and unique culture. The year 2024 will be full of various events combining the cultural heritage, local flavours and people in different ways.

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Food from nature

Variety, abundance, nuance – three key words in the Karelian kitchen, typically based on local products such as fish and game, forest mushrooms and berries. Favorites include a bewildering variety of pies and pasties with names such as sultsina, tsupukka, pyörö, piirakka, kukkonen and vatruska.

Food and culture along the Via Karelia route


Karelian pasties

Karelian pastries (karjalanpiirakat) are traditional pastries originating from the Karelia region. This rye crust, rice filled pasty is loved by Finns all around the country. It is a perfect salty snack, breakfast, evening snack or side dish. Spread egg butter on top of your oven fresh pasty and your perfect snack is ready.

Bake your own pasties

The Karelian Pasty Workshop in Nurmes

Bomba Karelian Pie Workshop


Karelia à la Carte

Throughout Karelia you will spot restaurants and country inns bearing the ’Karelia à la Carte’ signs, a guarantee of genuine Karelian cuisine, an unique combination of western kitchen with influences from Russian kitchen and Orthodox traditions. Karelia à la Carte is a sign of high quality and local flavours.

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Preparing the meal

Dive into the Karelian kitchen

Now you have a possibility to take part of the true culinary tour in North Karelia. For instance, Valamo Monastery, local brewery and winery in Joensuu and Ilomantsi, and Karelian village in Bomba, Nurmes will be visited during the tour. You’ll taste the pure flavours and learn more about the Karelian culture within four days.

This tour is available from 1st of June to 30th of August 2023 and it is suitable for groups with 10 or more participants.

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A bier of Koli Brewery

Local drinks

The Valamo Monastery produces tasty berry wines. The tasting experience in Bomba House, Nurmes includes an aperatif, three wines and a tasting plate. Available around the year for groups.

Valamo Wine Tasting in Bomba

Hermanni Winery is the oldest vineyard in Finland and produces sparkling wines, wines, liqueurs and spirits. They are all made of natural and pure Finnish berries. In summertime you can taste the wines at the Winetower in Ilomantsi.

Hermanni Winery

The beer tasting in restaurant Kolin Ryynänen introduce products of the local brewery Kolin Panimo. The beers and ciders will be tasted during the session.

Beer Tasting in Koli