Culinary region 2017 - PEIPSIMAA

The holder of the title ‘Estonian Culinary Region of 2017’ is PEIPSIMAA (Lake Peipus region).

During the 2016 general meeting of the ‘Peipsi Toit’ [Peipus Food] network in Alatskivi Castle, the non-profit organisation ‘Peipsimaa Kogukonnaköök’ [Community Kitchen of the Lake Peipus Region] initiated the approval of the Peipsi Toit’s Manifesto, which describes the principles followed by ‘Peipsi Toit’.

The Year of the Tastes of Peipus Region was announced on 1 May 2017.

Lake Peipus, fourth largest of European lakes, is what connects the people living along its shoreline, forming a united and unique region. The members of the Peipsi Toit network appreciate this uniqueness and the fact that the area stands out in the Estonian culinary landscape and aim to enrich Estonian food culture.

The latest Ice Age created a distinctive area in the form of Lake Peipus and its lowlands. As the ancient body of water which preceded Lake Peipus retreated, and settlements appeared along the shoreline, what we got in addition to produce from the lake was the land perfectly suitable for growing onions, carrots and other vegetables. It was by drawing on the power left by the retreating ancient water that our ancestors formed their unique food culture. These days, the food of this region is a melting pot of the culinary traditions of Estonian rural areas, Votes and Setos, Russian Old Believers and Baltic German nobility.

We, members of the Peipsi Toit network, feel a strong connection to the values of the New Nordic Cuisine and support the principles of the Manifesto for the New Nordic Kitchen. We are proud to be using the resources and ingredients of the Lake Peipus region, thus increasing their value. We value the cultural peculiarities of our region and its pure nature and highlight its potential and quality. As far as our food is concerned, its origin, the face of its producer and its story are always known.

We consider the following principles important in the context of the food of the Peipus region:

  • What we bring to the table is seasonal in terms of both the time of the year and the product life cycle.
  • We promote and use as many preservative-free and chemical-free ingredients as possible, giving preference to local producers over foreign suppliers. Thus, we are contributing to the motivation of producers in the Peipus region to continue operation and remain the producers and consumers of clean food.
  • Our catering members use as many clean high-quality ingredients produced in the Lake Peipus region as possible in their menus, and such dishes are labelled accordingly.
  • We pay attention to vegetable-growing characteristic of the Peipus region and promote Peipus onions as a part of local culture.
  • We appreciate the Lake Peipus as a living environment, fishermen as the ambassadors and binders of culture of the Peipus region, and we appreciate the local fish-related and fishing culture in a broader sense. We support the fishermen through choosing local fish instead of imported fish, paying a fair price, promoting fish as a valuable ingredient and explaining its price to the end customer.
  • We pay greater attention to the fish species of the Lake Peipus and increasing their value by using salted, smoked, cold-smoked, marinated, preserved and otherwise processed local fish. Our catering members resolve to use more fresh seasonal fish in their menus.
  • We use the ingredients foraged in forests and on bogs and marches as much as we can: these are healthy, rich in vitamins and unusual. We follow the principle of sustainable management.
  • We collect the regional culinary heritage through involving local residents and memory institutions in order to inspire companies to launch new products based on local traditions, prepare special menus, etc.
  • We inform our communities, local governments and, through the media, the general public about our network, values and activities. We involve producers, caterers, cattle farmers, fishermen, elderly people, schools, kindergartens etc. in our region to increase our diversity and membership and broaden our horizons.
  • We cooperate with other food-related networks to support regional identity, preserve and display regional cultural traditions and thus increase consumer awareness.
  • We contribute to the integration of the Peipus region food into a whole while appreciating the unique features of separate locations and the common cultural space.

Photos from the Year of PeipsimaaTastes award ceremony on 1 May 2017.