Hungry for Finland –the national food tourism competition has found its winner: the classic menu Matka by Olo Creative Kitchen is the best food tourism product in Finland in 2017. Mr Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs, and Mr Jari Leppä, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, present the awards. Altogether 73 high quality entries were included in the competition.

 

– The product is a skillfully implemented interactive experience which successfully combines innovative implementation, visuality and excellent flavours – with special attention to detail. The product is a tasting menu with 15 dishes, and it provides an opportunity to observe the preparation and talk with the chefs. The menu Matka illustrates the childhood memories of the restaurateur and chef Jari Vesivala with a focus on seasonal local ingredients. The modernization of traditional dishes and methods, as well as interesting stories, play a central role in the menu. Interaction with chefs and dining room personnel provides an experience of true hospitality to both Finnish and international customers – according to the evaluation team, the service path works excellently well.

In addition, three significant food tourism implementations were awarded:

  1. Mushroom and Herb Weekend provided by Hotel Punkaharju
  2. In Fiskars village, the Three Producers, a guided tour with artisan drink producers: Fiskars Brewery, Kuura Cider and Ägräs Distillery
  3. Skördefesten, Åland Harvest Festival (22 – 24 September 2017).

The evaluation team gave honorary mentions to SMAKU, a guided walking tour in Porvoo, and Studio Restaurant Tundra in Kuusamo.

The evaluation put special emphasis on the customer orientation aspect, locality and stories, local food, experience orientation, collaboration, business aspects, profitability and versatility in using sales and marketing channels.

Enhancing food tourism is a central objective in developing tourism. The competition aims at encouraging food and tourism networks to create new food tourism products based on locality. Companies and communities with an innovative interest in developing food tourism were targeted. The competition is part of the Suomi Finland 100 years celebration.

The trends in food tourism show a strong emphasis on craftsmanship and local ingredients. Tradition and history is sourced for example in the form of flavor memories.  There is a special focus on creating experiences and customer learning. Drink culture has strongly emerged as a vital part of food tourism.

The competition is carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Visit Finland (Finpro) and MTK, the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners. The competition is coordinated by Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences.

For more information, here is the contact information of the evaluation team:

Kirsi Viljanen, Senior Specialist, Coordinator of Local Food Programme, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, kirsi.viljanen@mmm.fi, tel. +358 40 509 8986
Terhi Hook, Development Manager, Visit Finland, terhi.hook@visitfinland.com, tel. +358 50 597 0999
Mariaana Nelimarkka, Beer and Food Journalist, mariaana.nelimarkka@gmail.com, tel. +358 50 548 9999
Anni-Mari Syväniemi, Ombudsman for Food Culture, MTK ry, anni-mari.syvaniemi@mtk.fi
Kristiina Havas, Project Manager of Food Tourism, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, tel. +358 500 688 332, kristiina.havas@haaga-helia.fi
About the food tourism competition and the competition video http://hungryforfinland.fi/ruokamatkailukilpailu