16. November 2016

Road to “Hansa culinary”: focus on local possibilities

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Local ingredients have the potential to be an increasingly important part of the modern culinary – this was apparent in Viljandi (Estonia) in the beginning of the week, when chefs from seven Hanseatic cities (Cēsis, Limbaži, Kuldīga, Straupe and Valmiera in Latvia; Pärnu and Viljandi in Estonia) across Baltics met with Swedish colleague Mikael Nypelius.


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Local ingredients and products have several reasons to be used more for cuisine. Locally grown tend to be more natural and therefore of higher quality. Local products have also an additional emotional value, since they grow in local forests, gardens and orchards.

Local ingredients were often used by previous generations, and this knowledge seems to be forgotten, the chefs agreed. “Our grandparents’ recipes are sometimes forgotten, yet they are original, interesting and qualitative. This kind of training is very useful, so we can remember and remind each other to return to our roots and to revive the flavours of the past,” said Lauris Tukišs from restaurant “Izsalkušais Jānis” in Cēsis (Latvia).


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It is even more surprising, that there is an odd paradox – some places tend to import products, which can be found and gathered in local areas. Of course, work with local farmers isn’t without limitations, yet it is very rewarding. Cooperation with the locals must be planned carefully, since they can only deliver certain, limited amounts of production.

In the discussions with the Baltic chefs M. Nypelius also stressed, that professionals should try more different and unusual ingredients from the nature. It is important to know the characteristics of ingredients, and M. Nypelius spoke a lot about various plants (specific for the region), their ripening and picking. The Swedish chef also emphasized the importance of preserving – because of the climate it is very important to know, how to prolong the usability of products.


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Training of the chefs was organised within the HANSA project. One of the project’s objectives is the development of new tourism products, including improvement of the culinary offers. The training was an important step towards creating the “Hansa Culinary” label, that is going to combine Hanseatic heritage and local food.

The training was led by Swedish chef Mikael Nypelius. The participating chefs were chosen by the Hanseatic cities involved in the project. M. Nypelius was born on the island of Gotland. During his career he has worked with local products and their use in preparing modern cuisine. M. Nypelius has worked both as a restaurant manager and as a sommelier. He was awarded “Sommelier of the year 2015” by Sweden’s biggest wine magazine “Livets goda”.

About the project:

From October 2015 to December 2018 11 partners from Latvia, Estonia and Sweden work on the project “Hanseatic Approach to New Sustainable Alliances” (HANSA). The project is implemented with the support from the European Regional Development Fund Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020. The aim of the project is to enhance the values of the historical Hanseatic League. Latvia is represented in the project by Cēsis Culture and Tourism Centre, Limbaži, Pārgauja, Koknese and Kuldīga municipalities, Valmiera City Council and Vidzeme Planning Region. Project partners from Estonia are Pärnu City Government and Viljandi Town Government, and Sweden is represented by Region Gotland and Inspiration Gotland, which is also the lead partner of the project. Read more about the project on our website and HANSA Facebook page!

More information:

Inger Harlevi, Project manager, “Inspiration Gotland”, e-mail: inger.harlevi@balticness.se