Finland Chapitre
Naantali, October 26, 2019
Kekri - a Finnish harvest celebration
" Three traditional elements of Kekri match with those of the Chaîne "

We had the honour and pleasure of celebrating the end of the harvest season in the company of good friends and connoisseurs of fine food. Historically ending the harvest was celebrated by enjoying dishes prepared with the season’s ingredients and drinking the season’s beverages.

‘Kekri’, a Finnish harvest celebration, begins once crops are harvested, autumn slaughtering done, forest delicacies preserved, beer brewed. It is a communal event with rites, rituals and ceremonies to ensure next year’s crop will be good. It would be a bad omen if food ran out or someone was hungry. During the Kekri night and the following nights restless spirits of the dead haunted the living, who walked about with torches, lit Kekri bonfires, and read incantations to ward off the spirts

Three traditional elements of Kekri match with those of the Chaîne: a break from the everyday; enjoying good food; quality time with friends.

Riitta Hirvonen, Bailli of Turku, and her team organised this amazing Kekri Chapitre for 200 guests from across Finland. It commenced with lunch at Le Soleil restaurant part of Naantali Spa & Hotel.

The high-quality, festive Gala dinner was prepared using the season’s best, locally-sourced ingredients, the main features of which were purity, freshness and environmental friendliness. Whitefish and pike-perch caught in local waters, sea buckthorn, and from the local forests, cloudberry, were notable for their use. The main course lamb was from the Halikko-based farm of Peppi and Marko Laine who are Bailliage of Turku members.

Fifty-seven members were registered for the Induction Ceremony. They included new members and those promoted or receiving an award. The Ceremony was presided over by Conseiller Gastronomique Ari-Pekka Parviainen in his capacity as a Member of the Conseil d’Administration. Moreover, 12 members were provided with tastevins on their ribbons as a sign of the Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs (OMGD) membership.

Restaurateur Kari Aihinen of Roster Turku was honoured with the highest Professional kitchen grade in the Chaîne: Grand Officier Maître Rôtisseur. Kari’s expertise as a Chef and the extremely important work he has carried out for the promotion of shared family meals in the “Kaappaus keittiössä” TV programme were key in awarding this honour to him.

Riitta Hirvonen
Bailli of Turku