Finland Grand Chapitre
Kotka & Hamina, August 25-27, 2017
Celebrating Finland's 100 years of independence

The National Bailliage’s principal event in 2017 was this Grand Chapitre held in two seaside coastal cities: Kotka and Hamina. Finland is celebrating the centenary of its independence this year and the three-day event was part of the official programme of festivities.

The Bailliage of Karelia was responsible for organizing the event in which 300 members and guests from all over Finland took part. All the venues were unique in that they were related to Finland’s one hundred years’ history.

The first event was at the Kotka Club where everyone participated in a seminar about the history of Finnish gastronomy. Afterwards, there was an interesting wine presentation with a tasting.

Dinner was arranged in Kotka’s iconic venue, the Maritime Centre Vellamo. Its museums are full of stories of the sea and the local region. Held in the Centre’s majestic Boat Hall we were surrounded by mementos of Finnish shipping history. The menu featured local produce: bread, fish, meat, vegetables, and desserts. All displayed lots of awesome flavours.

Saturday morning saw the National Bailliage’s Annual General Meeting followed by lunch in the beautiful building that is the Kotka Concert Hall. Lemon-marinated white fish with summer vegetables and neck of lamb with dark gooseberry sauce were two stand-out courses. The decorations followed a blue and white theme – the colours of the Finnish flag – thus providing a direct link with the centenary celebrations.

The induction of new members and the promotion of others took place in the afternoon at the Reserve Officers’ School in Hamina. The Inducting Officer was Philip Evins, Member of the Conseil Magistral from Great Britain. He was assisted by Bailli Délégué Ari Arvonen.

Hannu Muhonen, Mayor of Hamina, warmly welcomed the Grand Chapitre participants to his city with glass of champagne after the ceremony.

The culmination of the three-day programme, i.e. the Gala Dinner, was served in the vault of the Hamina Bastion where Finnish history and the present day came together. A fortress built in the 18th century, the Bastion is now an events’ arena which claims Europe's largest summer marquee with stand and stage.


Salted herring
blackcurrant, roasted garlic, regional bread

potato puree, root vegetable chips, gherkins

Spruce granite with rosemary cream

Pike perch “C.G.E.M”*
mushrooms, truffle omelette, fried potatoes
horseradish sauce, brown butter

Moose fillet
pumpkin puree, freeze-dried lingonberries
dark thyme sauce

Swiss chocolate
honeycomb crunch, cherry jam

After dinner in the Bastion’s courtyard the staff members were acknowledged for the great food and service.

Kari Martiala
Vice-Chargé de Presse

Photos courtesy of Kari Martiala

* Named after the Finnish military leader and statesman, Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, Commander-in-chief of Finland's defence forces during World War II and the country’s 6th President (from 1944–1946).