Regions around Lake Saimaa are living exciting times. As a follow-up action of the Finnish candidacy for the European Capital of Culture 2026 – known cosily as Saimaa Phenomenon – new plans are developing around the Eastern Finnish gastronomy. Lake Saimaa area is waiting for a decision on its nomination to European Region of Gastronomy 2024.

The initiative was inspired by the feedback received as result of the ECoC 2026 selection process. Saimaa Phenomenon didn’t receive the ECoC nomination, but it was encouraged to deliver a bid book for the ERG. Cooking in the Lake Saimaa area is based on pure natural flavours and ingredients. Berries, mushrooms and fish make the basis for the healthy and tasty cuisine. „Puruveden muikku” (Puruvesi vendace) even has a protected geographical indication (PGI) and the Karelian pasty has been granted the traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG) status.

European Regions of Gastronomy have been selected since 2016. The Lake Saimaa area has already become a member in the International Insitute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT) network. New ideas for combination of culture and cuisine were elaborated in the Saimaa Phenomenon bid jointly by the four bidding regions. The city of Kuopio together with the North Savo Region have been nominated already twice for the ERG. Therefore, the current ERG candidacy covers the three other regions in the Lake Saimaa area i.e. South Savo, North Karelia and South Karelia.

The ERG candicacy has been prepared with the help of the European Region of Gastronomy Saimaa Management Project 2022–2023 managed by the South Savo Regional Council. Local Flavours project co-operated with it as well as with the previous Saimaa Phenomenon preparation project. The decision on the ERG 2024 nomination will be made in September 2022.

Read more about the ERG Saimaa Candidacy 2024: Taste Saimaa - Taste Saimaa