Eat and drink like a local
One of the special characteristics of Finnish food preparation is that the food is often very pure and locally sourced. As part of our everyman’s rights, we are allowed to pick mushrooms and berries from the forest and to do hunting and fishing. In addition, we have a long tradition of using wild vegetables and herbs.
The long winter and challenging storage conditions have taught us to, for example, pickle and smoke our food. Finnish oats are world-famous and are currently being used to develop new plant-based food innovations, as is the case with the Finnish traditional legume, the broad beam.
We have highlighted the local food delicaties of the Lahti region in our calendar to delight international visitors. Eat and enjoy locally!
Finland has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Each season has its own unique weather conditions and natural phenomena, which can affect the way we Finns eat.
Season's best right now
The warmer the sun is, the better the ice cream tastes. The sweetest ice creams in the region can be found here:
- Café Kanavan Helmi, Vääksy Canal, Kanavatie 21, 17200 Asikkala
- Ice cream boat Banana Split, Lahti Harbor, Satamakatu 7, 15140 Lahti
- Café Asemapäällikkö, Askonkatu 3A, 15100 Lahti
- Bus Gelato, Savontie 409, 15230 Lahti
Eat like a local
Try the many-awarded Restaurant Roux or Restaurant Taivaanranta, known for its whiskey in addition to its food. A more bistro-like world is offered by the restaurant Bistro Popot and Kokka Bistro&Bar. Excellent options are also the restaurant Trattoria or the steak classic El Toro.
Have some coffee, lunch, dinner or local beer at the cosy harbour and boat restaurants – or just hang out and enjoy the atmosphere.
Take a coffee break in the afternoon and enjoy something sweet, just like the Finns do. Café Kariranta is particularly renowned for its cinnamon rolls.
Shop local products
Heila is a local food market in Heinola where you can find over 250 small-scale producers supplying Finnish jams, preserves, cheeses, juice, vegetables, bakery products, honey, handicrafts, gifts and much more.
Local street food & local fish
Lahti street food is a fusion of flavors brought from around the world, tuned to the local taste world. Try local flavors of the world at Kuja Street Food or Cilantro. Fast food from traditional grill kiosk is served by Burger Mafia or Jone’s Grill. Ask for meat mug. One of the most interesting burgers are served by the Motorcycle Museum’s Ace Cafe.
Finns love fish. Each restaurant has its own fish dish on its menu and, as a rule, it is made from Finnish fish. Popular fish delicacies include charred salmon and whitefish, fried red bream, grilled trout, stickleback, carved whitefish and salmon. We recommend tasting it in all forms.
Drink like a local
Best cafés in the area
The position of coffee in our food culture is undeniable. That is why there are many wonderful cafés in our area such as: Café Kariranta, Café Oskari, Café Harjupaviljonki and a atmospheric coffee roastery Kahiwa.
Finns like high-quality beers and there are many breweries in our area. Check out the selection of Kanavan Panimo brewery at Vääksy, enjoy fresh beers at Ant Brew or visit Hartwall’s brewery store.
The capital of Finnish whiskey
Teerenpeli is a Finnish distillery that is located in the town of Lahti. Teerenpeli Distillery has won several awards for their whiskies, including a gold medal at the 2020 World Whiskies Awards for their Teerenpeli 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky.
Ainoa Winery is a many times awarded winery located in Lahti. Ainoa Winery makes wine from berries, honey and other wild ingredients. Located in Asikkala, the Pihamaa wineyard and berry farm sits amid some of Finland’s most picturesque countryside and is known for its award-winning berry wines.
The landscape of Lahti region is nominated by numerous water bodies. The reserved groundwater hidden inside the ridge’s sand and gravel layers provides water with the highest quality to local residents. While the high-quality groundwater is used as drinking water, it is also important natural resource for the region’s strong brewing and food industry.
Please note that buying bottled water here is unnecessary, we recommend instead to take your own bottle and fill it with our excellent tap water.
Funny facts about Finnish food culture
01Finland is known of its love of coffee. The average Finn consumes 12kg of coffee per year, which is the highest in the world!
02Finns are also big fans of licorice. In fact, Finland is the biggest consumer of licorice in the world, with the average Finn eating around 3kg of it per year.
03Finnish cuisine includes many dishes that are made of fish, especially salmon. Finland is home to more than 180,000 lakes, which means there is plenty of fresh fish available.
04Finland is the birthplace of Fazer, a well-known confectionery company that produces some of Finland's most famous candies and chocolates. Fazer's signature product is a chocolate bar called Fazer Blue, which has been around since 1922.
05Reindeer meat is a popular delicacy in Finland, particularly in Lapland.
06Finns love their rye bread. In fact, Finland is the biggest consumer of rye bread in the world, with the average Finn eating around 60kg of it per year.
07Finnish cuisine also includes a lot of dairy products, particularly cheese. There a more than 200 different types of Finnish cheese.
08Finnish cuisine has been influenced by its neighbors, particularly Sweden and Russia. One especially popular Finnish dish "karjalanpiirakka" (Karelian pies) has its roots in Russian cuisine.
09Finally, if you are looking for a unique Finnish culinary experience, you might want to try "Salmiakki Koskenkorva", a popular Finnish liqueur made with vodka and salty licorice. It's definitely an unique taste!