Discover the world of Finnish cuisine and traditional culture taking a gastronomic journey through both Finland and its regional dishes while cycling through the countryside. The Finnish people have developed a unique menu combining country recipes with contemporary continental-style cooking; learn to bake your own sweet treats and savoury delicacies and delve deep into Finnish sauna culture by enjoying different types of sauna experiences.
Please note that transfers from guesthouse to guesthouse are by bike and non-guided.
Fly to Kuopio, transfer by taxi to Pihlajapuu guesthouse for your two-night stay. In the evening, meet your hostess Minna and enjoy a delicious dinner. (D)
Today, Minna, the hostess of Pihlajapuu, takes you under her wing and introduce you to Finnish cooking during your first cuisine workshop. Start the week off by learning how to cook, bake or preserve wild vegetables. Prepare lunch together and in the evening enjoy a relaxing sauna. (B,L,D)
In the morning, explore the nature trails around your guesthouse or visit Nurmes, before travelling by bike to the next guesthouse, Laitalan Lomat (22 Km). In the afternoon, meet your guesthouse hostess Henna, hike through the 'Laitala sauna trail' and reach a sauna located on the banks of Karhujoki River. Enjoy "an experience lunch" prepared by Henna - which includes handmade 'karjalanpiirakka' and egg butter, 'leipäjuusto' (Finnish squeaky cheese) and more delicacies. In the evening, enjoy dinner and sauna at your guesthouse. (B,L,D)
Rejoin Henna for today’s task: baking sweet cardamom-flavoured buns called 'pulla'. These buns are traditionally eaten with coffee or as a desert, before trying soft 'korvapuustit' – delicious cinnamon rolls. In the afternoon, embark on a canoeing tour on the river. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, bike through the 'Männikkölän Pirtti sauna trail' to a summer cottage beach sauna. On arrival, hop on the sauna benches and enjoy a gentle sauna steam, and admire the scenery of Lake Pielinen. It is a magical experience to take a swim in the clean waters of Pielinen during the sauna session. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, bake Karelian pies with Ritva, and learn how to make a 'karjalanpiirakka', a traditional Finnish Karelian dish similar to a pasty. Historically, these are eaten with a spread of butter and boiled egg. Spend the rest of the day at leisure shopping and sightseeing in Nurmes. (B,L,D)
Cycle back to Pihlajapuu Guesthouse (20 Km). On arrival, enjoy 'Kukkonen' (traditional pastry) with wild fish cream cheese, before experiencing a smoke sauna and tucking into glow-fried salmon, a Finnish delicacy, by the campfire. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, transfer back to the airport for your flight back to the UK. (B)