Annual Lapinlahti Cheese and Wine Festival took place again in the end of July. Lapinlahti is a small town in Savo area (60 km north from Kuopio) and known for it's artist (Pekka Halonen, Emil Halonen, Kalle Halonen, Juhani Aho etc). Cheese and Wine Festival was set up in the local ice hall. There were sitting place for 1150 cheese eater, 500 kg cheese and the same amount of other food and wine of course. Cheeses are from a dairy company Valio, because there's a factory in Lapinlahti. Huge tables were bending under the weight of cheeses, salads, bread, vegetables and fruits.
In Finland (unfortunately) the cheese culture is nothing compared to France for example. Finnish cheeses are 99,9% made in a factory, it doesn't have that strong taste (there are few exceptions) and the texture is very factory-made kind.
I have to say that there are couple of cheese, which have a bit character: Aura (blue cheese), brie (it's actually made in France), Ritari, Kreivi and Black labeled emmental. The rest taste more or less the same and that was a bit the problem in the Cheese and Wine Festival as well. You cut cheese on your (paper!) plate, sit in the very dim room and try to guess what you're eating. Of course you can also just eat and not care about what it was, but that feels a bit waste of food (and money).
This year the Festival's wine list was fine: Europian wine and even some organic wines. Sadly most of the wines were from South-America. Anyway, it's a very delightful event, which ends always with dancing. It would be lovely to see some year cheese from other countries or at least some cheeses from small producers. Maybe even some sheep and goat milk cheese!
Lapinlahti Cheese and Wine Festival is an experience you should do. You just have to forget about the French cheeses. I hope you don't forget your behaving manners as Finnish people sometimes do.
Book a table ahead, it's going to be sold out. See you next year!