German? Read the German translation of this article here //
Die deutsche Übersetzung des Artikels findest du hier
Have you ever heard of Lahti? This town of 100.000 inhabitants, just a 1.5h drive from Helsinki, is known to many as a centre of winter sports in Finland. Not to me though. I'd never even heard of Lahti before visiting Finland for the first time - and was pleasantly surprised to find a town in stunning surroundings that has so much more to offer than just sports!
Lahti is, in fact, a culinary hotspot of Finland and in this post, I'm giving you 8 reasons to visit the Lahti region that all involve delicious Finnish cuisine. I hope you're not reading this on an empty stomach!*
Reading on an RSS reader? Click through to the original article to read it properly!
1. Organic lunch at Ekokahvila MeaManna
The eco cafe MeaManna is a cafe serving healthy organic, vegetarian food - not of the kind that tastes like absolutely nothing, though. Quite the contrary! Their bread rolls are to die for and they also offer an abundance of cakes and pastries that make me hungry just thinking about them.
Apart from being an excellent choice for lunch when you're visiting Lahti, MeaManna actually has a social mission as well. The cafe is run by a team of differently abled bakers and waiters. It was founded by the organisation Kaupunkikylä, which has the aim to, among other incentives, provide housing and work opportunities for people with special needs.
How to get there: MeaManna is situated in the city centre of Lahti at Hollolankatu 1, just a short walk from the ski museum and stadium.
Opening hours: Monday 9 am to 2 pm, Tuesday & Wednesday 9 am to 5 pm, Thursday & Friday 9 am to 8 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. Closed on Sunday.*
You can learn more about the project here.
2. Whisky tasting at Teerenpeli Lahti
Teerenpeli is actually a distillery, brewery and family-owned chain of restaurants throughout Southern Finland. Even though it all started as one of Finland's first microbreweries back in the 1990s, the whisky distillery really is the heart of Teerenpeli in Lahti. It was founded in 2002 and has quickly become the biggest distillery in all of Finland!
At Taivaanranta in downtown Lahti, the a la carte restaurant of Teerenpeli, you can also find the original distillery and visitor centre where you can taste the Finnish whisky! The owners are super proud of using local Finnish barley and the cleanest water in the world (according to UNESCO, the water in Finland is the purest) to produce their whisky and are happy to arrange guided tours and tastings if you're travelling in a group.
Otherwise, you can enjoy some lunch or dinner at the restaurant and a couple of whiskies at the bar later on. Either way, I'm sure you'll enjoy a visit to Teerenpeli!
How to get there: The visitor centre and a la carte restaurant is situated in downtown Lahti at Rautatienkatu 13.
Opening hours: Monday & Tuesday 11 am to 11 pm, Wednesday to Friday 11 am to midnight, Saturday 12 pm to midnight. Closed on Sunday.*
3. The best dessert of Finland at Roux
Ravintola Roux is one of the finest restaurants in town. Roux has been serving seasonal Finnish cuisine in the localities of the old pharmacy of Lahti for over 20 years now - with all of the old charms of the former pharmacy still being kept alive in the decor. More importantly, though, the restaurant actually won the "Restaurant of the Year" award of the Finnish Gastronomy Society in 2016 - and well deserved might I add.
Their chocolate marquise with white chocolate mousse and chocolate fondant is to absolutely die for! Apparently, it was taken from the menu once and the restaurant received so many complaints about it, that they had to bring it back. That's how good it is!
It's not just about desserts at Roux, however. They also serve, for instance, delicious buckwheat blinis with fish roe and egg (also available as gluten-free) and fried lamb from Lapland with port wine sauce.
Granted, this is not your everyday dining experience but it sure is worth the drive from Helsinki alone if you fancy a really nice meal!
How to get there: Ravintola Roux is situated in downtown Lahti at Rautatienkatu 7.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 4 pm to 11 pm, Saturday 1 pm to 11 pm, Sunday 12 pm to 6 pm.*
4. Visit a microbrewery at Kanavan Panimo
Founded in 2016, Kanavan Panimo is one of Finland's youngest microbreweries and a real secret of Lahti. It was initiated by the two Karlstedt brothers Jukka and Jan, who returned to their hometown of Lahti after having lived elsewhere, to settle down and give back to the community. Their beers are produced using local malt, herbs and berries, and they have several pale and red ales, pilsner beers and dark beers in their selection now.
You can find the microbrewery in the same building as the Finnish Museum of Recreational Fishing and the visitor centre of Lake Päijänne, so make sure to drop by for a pint if you're out exploring the Lakeland of the Lahti region.
How to get there: The visitor centre of Lake Päijänne is situated in Asikkala, a 30 min drive from Lahti at Meijeritie 1, 17200.
Opening hours: 7 days a week from 1 pm to 7 pm.*
5. Salmon from a bonfire at Lehmonkärki
If there's one thing I've learnt about Finland during my stay in Lahti, it's that salmon is an essential part of Finnish cuisine! There's nothing better than grilled salmon from a bonfire, though - I also learnt that!
After an amazing snowshoe hike in the woods of the holiday resort Lehmonkärki, we settled down for the night at a cabin and prepared fresh salmon on an open fire in the snow. It was such a unique experience and I've never ever had a more delicious salmon (and mushroom soup!) in my life!
Lehmonkärki offers cabins and hotel rooms with a view on Lake Päijänne and besides offering unforgettable snowshoe hikes and yummy dinners, they also have a sauna and hot tub with a view that's worth the stay at the resort alone!
How to get there: Lehmonkärki is situated in Lehmonkärjentie 180, 17320 Asikkala.
Where to book a room: You'll find their website here.
6. Fresh bread and views at Kinnarin Tila
Kinnarin Tila is a family-owned farm from 1667 in the town of Hollola. The owners Teemu and Terhi Kinnari keep the tradition and spirit of the 350-year old farm alive and have transformed it into a cafe and interior design boutique. There they sell Finnish design and local produce, such as cheese and sausages, but more importantly, serve traditional homemade rye bread which we had the honour to help bake and try during our visit!
The farm opens in May and can be visited until Christmas, and if you're visiting the Lahti region, I'd definitely urge you to drop by! The owners Teemu and Terhi invest a lot of time and energy into keeping the place alive and you can really see and feel their love for the place and attention to detail.
How to get there: The Kinnari Farm is situated at Soramäentie 1, 15880 Hollola - a 15min drive from Lahti.
Opening hours: Between May and December, Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. Closed on Sunday.*
You can find more info on their website.
7. Bread and oatmeal at Viipurilainen Kotileipomo
Viipurilainen Kotileipomo is a bakery and cafe in Vääksy that specializes in fresh bread without any additives. They have been around since 1924 but only recently moved from Lahti to the small town of Vääksy when the brothers Tuomas and Teppo took over the family business.
Apart from selling and serving delicious Finnish bread, pastries and cake, they also produce and sell oatmeal - a staple of a traditional Finnish breakfast I've learnt! Tuomas and Teppo founded Oatlaws - an oats brand with the little extra to make it really easy for you to enjoy a healthy breakfast with Finnish oatmeal and smoothies.
How to get there: Viipurilainen Kotileipomo is situated at Pasolanharjuntie 1, 17200 Vääksy - a 25min ride from Lahti.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 7 am to 5 pm, Saturday 9 am to 3 pm. Closed on Sunday.*
8. Gin Long Drinks from Hartwall
Hartwall is a brewery and beverage company in Lahti, producing soft drinks, beer and long drinks for all of Finland. They produce, for instance, the well-known Lapin Kulta - the beer from Lapland - but are best known for their Gin Long Drink.
This gin in a bottle was originally produced for the Summer Olympics of 1952, that was held in Helsinki, but has quickly become Finland's most consumed long drink.
I reckon there's nothing more refreshing after a long day in the Lakeland of the Lahti Region - canoeing in summer maybe or snowmobiling in winter - than a gin.
Where to get it: Pretty much any supermarket in and around Lahti will do.
Can't get enough of Finnish cuisine? Watch my video from Lahti for more of the good stuff!
What would be your culinary highlight of a visit to the Lahti region?
Tell me in a comment below!
PIN IT FOR LATER
*Opening hours as of February 2018