Särä in Lemi


In Finland we have a thing called kotiseutumuseo (roughly translated as home area museum). Every rural village seems to have one and they are fascinating places for people who have a thing for folklore (note that I am very easily moved by everything related to folklore, 95% of people could find kotiseutumuseos pointless). The museum in Lemi is especially fascinating because they have upheld a 1000 year old tradition of preparing a dish called särä. Särä consists of lamb and potatoes slowly cooked on wooden platter in a wood heated oven for up to eight hours. The only seasoning in salt.

The museum offers särä on certain set dates which can be found on their website. For groups of 10 people or more its possible to organise a private feast. There is also another restaurant offering särä in this very very small town, but I'm completely biased towards the museum restaurant. Lemi is about a 2 hour drive from Helsinki. In Michelin terms I would definately say it's worth a detour for the overall gesamtkustwerk appeal.

My two favourite things in Lemi (beside the food) were this beautiful ryijy (a traditional rug-like textile) and the fence below. The fence is also a very traditional design which I love because:
1. you can use thinned out wood from the forest to make it
2. there is very little work that has to be done to the wood
3. the fence will look better the less measure (unevenness and asymmetry look better)
4. after having served you well you can heat the sauna with it.
I think I want to make one.