Official Ambassador for Kuopio, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2020-2021
What are you known for?
I am an entrepreneur in the tourism industry from the village of Jyrkä in Sonkajärvi. In particular, I am known as the host of Ruukin Tupa. I am especially proud that my company has developed and grown over the last 12 years into a true year-round tourist destination. Tupa is located 27 kilometres from Sonkajärvi.
What is your favourite flavour memory?
The best flavour memory from my childhood is the butchery soup (mykyrokka) that my grandmother used to make. I have experimented preparing it, but I still would not dare to prepare this traditional dish on my own. In this case, I am still an apprentice.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the surrounding nature – especially when it is connected to hunting, fishing and gathering mushrooms or berries. Ruukin Tupa’s catering services are also based, as much as possible, on the delicacies of local nature and farms. These days, I spend less time gathering and fishing as the business takes more of my time. Fortunately, I am well connected. Every autumn, I make time for hunting because it is a great way to be in nature and get food on the table.
What is unique about the North Savo region and food culture?
Savo is a matter of taste. For me, gastronomy is about good times spent with people that are close to you. At the same time, it is about learning and developing. Tourists from outside Scandinavia in particular may be surprised at how many ingredients can be gathered directly from the forest. Many ingredients, such as berries, can be eaten as is, and you can also be involved in acquiring the rest, such as fish or mushrooms.
What food related secret would you like to share?
Experiment boldly with different things, recipes and flavour combinations. Do not be scared to fail!
What kind of local gastronomic item would you bring as gifts?
Definitely self-hunted game, as it always has a story behind it. Another option is to pick up meat from a nearby farm.
Text: Oodia/Heta Jyrälä
Henri Jauhiainen, restaurant and tourism entrepreneur, wilderness chef and hunter