European Food Gift Challenge_Icon

European Food Gifts 2020

IGCAT’s European Food Gift Challenge 2020 took place in Kuopio, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2020-2021, on 10 September 2020, hosted by Savonia University of Applied Sciences.

The top 10 food and food-related gifts from the European Regions of Gastronomy for 2020 were selected by an international jury of experts as best practises for their ability to combine sustainability, storytellinguniquenessinnovation on tradition and connection with the region.


The jury appreciated the fine design of the packaging and the fact that the box is recyclable.  However it was the originality of the products that was the winning factor, based on very unique ingredients found in the region (e.g. the dandelion “capers”). The jury also appreciated the information on how to use the product contained in the packaging.

About the product

Gift collection containing:

Spruce sprout syrup (100 ml)
Spruce sprouts are the newly-grown parts of the spruce from which the syrup is made. The taste of the product is mildly softwood. The product may be used with desserts, in drinks, salads, as a marinade and with cheese.
Ingredients are water, Finnish spruce sprouts, sugar, emulsifier, citric acid and preservatives. Storing in ambient, opened in a cool place.

Dandelion buds “capers” (100g / 200 g)
The dandelion buds are wild plants that are collected in summertime, the collection period lasts a few days in June. The dandelion buds are not collected in fertilized areas or from the roadsides. The buds are frozen and used in manufacturing through the year. The product is preserved in vinegar and may be used e.g. with potato salad and with meat (instead of caper)
Storing in ambient, opened in fridge under +6 C.
Ingredients: dandelion buds (50%), sugar, vinegar, water, salt.

Non-alcoholic sparkling drink with meadowsweet taste (0,75 L)
Meadowsweet is a wild plant that is collected in summertime. The wild plants are not collected in fertilised areas or from the roadsides. The plants are frozen and used in manufacturing through the year.
This non-alcoholic sparkling drink is sweet with strong taste of meadowsweet and nuance to honey. It is served cold and is well suited for parties.
The glass bottle is recyclable.
Ingredients: water, sugar, Finnish meadowsweet, carbon dioxide, acidity regulator and preservative.

About the producer

The common thread of the family business is old traditional recipes, traditional food and locality. The company uses wild plants that are bought directly from local collectors.

Contact details:
Production facilities: Valtakatu 2 74700 KIURUVESI, Finland
Email: Emmi Tikkanen (; Kirsi Tikkanen (
Phone: +358 (0) 40 149 2080; +358 (0) 40 182 4433

Product purchasable at: Cafè – Restaurant Iltalypsy in Kiuruvesi (Lähteentie 10 A, 74700 Kiuruvesi) and Iisalmi (Kilpivirrantie 3, 74120 Iisalmi)


The idea of a picnic basket is a beautiful concept and the jury appreciated the sustainability of the cardboard package that could be recycled. The story about how the  gift box comes from a local tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages of bringing food and drinks to friends and family for celebrations conveys a deep connection with the region and its culture. The jury thought the jelly product was excellent.

About the product

A box shaped as a shipping basket, which recalls the old local tradition of bringing food to celebrations. It contains different artisanal products are manufactured by Gangstad Cheese-Factory and other cooperating companies, all you need for any gatherings or celebrations! It is a nice give away for guests, family, friends and employees.

The following story is included in the gift packaging: “In ancient times, it was a formalised part of the local tradition to bring food and drinks to celebrations such as weddings, funerals, christenings, etc. The celebration became a popular custom among neighbours and relatives and was a valuable contribution to a family when the food supply was scarce and most people were poor. The custom dates back to the Middle Ages, but may also have been practiced earlier. The tradition of bringing food and drinks to visits still continues today, giving an enjoyable contribution to gatherings.”

The gift box contains:

Camembert cheese: Camembert cheese made by Gangstad. Cow milk.

Edel Blå cheese: Blue cheese made by Gangstad. Cow milk.

Gangstad Morrpølse: Traditional Norwegian style sausage made with cow meat from Gangstad, produced by a local butchery. Extra dried, slightly smoked and little added fat.

Fikenmarmelade: Marmelade made with figues, recommended with the blue cheese. (Contains: Figue, apricot, water, sugar, portvine, calcium sorbat).

Aquavitgele: Jellow made of aquavit, a Norwegian spirit with long traditions back to the 15th centuries. The name is derived from the Latin aqua vitae, or water of life (Contains: Water, sugar, pectin, lemon acid, calcium sorbate, spices).

Salatost (salad cheese): Trøndelag version of the greek feta cheese, made by Gangstad.

Huså crackers: Made in Sweden with caraway from the area around Gangstad. Perfect to eat with salad cheese and sausage (Contains: Oatmeal, rymeal, yeast, milk powder, salt, caraway, oil).

Chocolate: From Bjørka, a neighbour producer.

Honey: From Bjørka, a neighbour producer.

About the producer

Gangstad Cheese-Factory
Gangstad was the first farm-cheesery in Norway, established 1998. They are the pioneers in the collaboration called “The Golden Detour”, which is a set of collaborating companies within tourism, art and food. They have been an inspiration to many collaborating networks in Norway for 20 year.

Contact details:
Address: Nessetvegen 11, 7670 Inderøy, Norway
Phone: +47 74 15 64 45; +47 958 90 776

Product purchasable at: see here all outlets that sell the item; the product can be purchased online on Gangstad website, but the company does not ship outside Norway.


The jury especially acknowledged the contemporary and appealing packaging and branding of this food gift as well as the connection it has with the region and the festive season. Also, they appreciated that the product was able to communicate an interesting story explaining the mulled wine tradition in past and present times, as well as clear information about the ingredients.

About the product

The present includes:

Mulled wine concentrate (500 ml)
The mulled wine concentrate is preservative-free and hand-made with Finnish blackcurrant. The package is a tailor-made clay bottle.
Ingredients: blackcurrant juice, sugar, vanilla sugar, spices.
Stored in the fridge after opening. Dilution: 1 part concentrate 4 parts water.

Mulled wine marmalade (120 g)
The blackcurrant mulled wine marmalade is suitable for a festive Christmas table.
Ingredients: sugar, starch syrup, water, mulled wine concentrate (e.g blackcurrant juice, vanilla sugar, spices), emulsifier and acid regulator. The packaging is an aluminium pouch. Store in a dry and cool place.

About the producer

The common thread of the family business is old traditional recipes, traditional food and locality. The company uses wild plants that are bought directly from local collectors.

Contact details:
Production facilities: Valtakatu 2 74700 KIURUVESI, Finland
Email: Emmi Tikkanen (; Kirsi Tikkanen (
Phone: +358 (0) 40 149 2080; +358 (0) 40 182 4433

Product purchasable at: Cafè – Restaurant Iltalypsy in Kiuruvesi (Lähteentie 10 A, 74700 Kiuruvesi) and Iisalmi (Kilpivirrantie 3, 74120 Iisalmi)


The jury recognised that the product has a fresh and delightful taste and offers an interesting, unusual and innovative combination of flavours (honey and Isabella grapes). Furthermore, they highlighted the attractiveness of the container (especially for its wood lid) that can be reused once the product is finished, as well as its small size, ideal for travelling.

About the product

Creamy honey with with added lyophilised Isabella grapes (125 g)

Noble Isabella is a new product of Mr. Bee, Beekeeping Company, which can be a great gift for anyone who appreciates Slovenian handmade and made-with-love products. The product if the result of a combination of the rich heritage of beekeeping, viniculture, as well as craftsmanship and art that make Slovenska Bistrica region recognisable. The lyophilised Isabella grapes give the honey a unique and very unusual flavour. Both the honey and the grapes are produced locally.

Isabella grapes – Wine and the memory of the childhood
Isabella grapes is an old vine that has been part of Slovenska Bistrica region for many years. Strong and resistant, this dark purple grape has an enticing aroma that reminds its picking in Autumn. The touch of nostalgia and memory conveyed by the product’s smell is what makes it peculiar.

Honey – Tradition, nature and purity
Slovenska Bistrica has a long beekeeping tradition, where bees symbolise the purity of nature. Slovenian honey is one of the best-quality honeys in the world and a perfect gift that represents the region and its heritage.

The honey is packaged in small, practical glass pots sealed with an aluminium lid covered by a handmade wooden lid, which highly contributes to the product’s visual appeal. Made of walnut tree wood, the lid is manufactured by local woodworker, Bojan Ratej.

Noble Isabella pots come in small wrapped cardboards with a black and white graphic landscape of Ritoznoj region on the front and a short story of Isabella grapes, traditional wine picking and craftsmanship in Slovenska Bistrica on the back. The cardboard also communicates other local motives such as the industrial heritage of Slovenska Bistrica.

Daily usage
Noble Isabella can be added to sweet and savoury dishes (pastries, cakes, ice creams, dumplings, meat dishes and many more) and can be used as topping or dressing. Because of its thickness, it can also be used as a spread.

About the producer

Mr. Bee / Beekeping / Nika Poslek s.p.

Product designers:

Nika Poslek. Architect, designer and creator of the Mr. Bee brand
If we describe her in one sentence, she is a ‘one man band’. Previously she was an architect, but nowadays she is a designer of unique honey creations and head of Mr. Bee brand. She has an artistic soul and is in love with everything that is beautiful and aesthetically pleasant. Creativity, curiosity and boldness are her main assets to face everyday life. Music and design are her greatest passions but animals, nature and bees are the ones that show her the path she bravely walks on. When designing Noble Isabella she put flavour, quality of ingredients, exclusive design and uniqueness of the product first.

Bojan Ratej. Master of woodwork
A creative soul and nature lover, who makes unique wood products and gives them a timeless feel. With a lot of patience, persistence and great imagination he creates beautiful masterpieces. A champion of local materials, he exclusively uses wood from Slovenia. When designing Noble Isabella’s packaging he prioritised quality, usefulness and durability of the product.

Contact details:
Address: Mariborska ulica 45, 2314 Zgornja Polskava, Slovenia
Phone: +386 415 685 13

Product purchasable by contacting the company at: or on Facebook


The jury appreciated the sophisticated connection of the emblem on the product to the most emblematic building in the region (Puijo Tower).  In addition, the honey is 100% locally produced and is unique in the region due to the fact that it is the only titled honey in Kuopio. Sustainability was also a factor given that the honey is totally organic and packaged in the same farm where it is produced. Finally, it was acknowledged for its particular fine taste. It is also a small product and ideal for travelling.

About the product

Organic honey from Kuopio (250 g)

Kuopio-hunaja is the only titled honey from the area. The honey is crystallised to soft, so it never hardens to rock hard. Therefore, it’s easy to spoon out of the glass jar. The honey is 100 % from Kuopio and it is also packed in the same farm. The honey has an official organic production status. It is packaged in glass jars, which can be recycled or reused. Local companies have been used for the layout design and printing. The glass jars are purchased from a trader nearby. The Honey is stored ambient and has a shelf-life of two years.

About the producer

Virtalan tila

Virtalan tila is a farm in the Kuopio region countryside. The family history goes back to 1860’s. In addition to honey, the farm has suckler cow production.

Contact details:
Address: Litmaniementie 770, 71310 Vehmersalmi, Finland
Phone: +358 443777085


The jury particularly appreciated the information provided on the packaging that not only included its ingredients, but also the vitamins and minerals contained, highlighting the healthiness of this vegan product, as well as suggestions on how to use it. Furthermore, the jury positively evaluated the low sugar content and the fact that the packaging suggested to keep the product WITHIN reach of children, again stressing the healthiness of the hazelnut butter.

About the product

Vegan hazelnut butter (150 g)

Homemade – divine – vegan. The butter is made with 100 % Slovenian hazelnuts, with no preservatives, salt, or sugar added. Packaged in glass jar with metal lid. Store in a cool dark place.

About the producer

Košec Farm

At the Košec farm, we have been processing hazelnuts since 1983: hazelnuts are also our key crop, as well as pig farming, which is an industry where the full potential in Slovenia is not exploited. Among our most unique products is hazelnut oil and a new line of spreads or butters, including hazelnut butter. We are currently in the project of arranging premises for complementary activities of the farm. The premises will be equipped for meat and hazelnut processing and demonstration of technological procedures. The tasting room will allow us to receive up to 50 guests, to whom we will offer a tasting of our products and the purchase of these, as well as a presentation of the production and processing of hazelnuts. Part of the premises will also be used for a boutique store, which will offer products from our farm as well as neighbouring farms. Basically we plan to sell mostly online, which has already proved to be the right decision for the hazelnut crop.

The main advantage of our farm is that it is engaged in the production of hazelnuts. We usually hear the phrase: “I did not know that anyone grows this in our country.” A great advantage is also a strategically good location – 500m from the Šempeter exit, so we are practically at the entry point to the Municipality of Žalec. By switching to a more market-oriented farm, we will try to make our offer as unique as possible with products such as: hazelnut butter, mint juice, pumpkin compote, grape jam, and maybe, in cooperation with neighbouring farm, we will develop another product from hops, which is typical for the Savinja Valley. For us, short supply chain and the presentation of all suppliers in pictures and videos via the website, social networks, e-mail marketing is of the uttermost importance. In this way, we will gain even greater approach to the customer and gaining their trust.

Contact details:
Address: Ločica ob Savinji, 3313 Polzela, Slovenia
Phone: +386 041 878 135; +386 041 526 275

Product purchasable online at:


The jury acknowledged the remarkable taste of this product, as well as its packaging and label that recall the shape of the content (pike fish). Also, they could appreciate the connection of the product with the region, as well as its healthiness given by its high content in vitamins.

About the product

Canned garlic pike (215 g of which pike 155 g)

The product contains pike with rapeseed oil, garlic, red onion, salt and preservatives. Pike is caught in local lakes in Kuopio. The fish is kept frozen before being processed in the traditional way: the raw fish is highly salted. All the ingredients are local or domestic. The product may be served on a banquet table or on a bread and can also be applied in cooking. The package is recyclable glass jar with a metal lid. The product should be stored in a refrigerator and has a shelf- life of 30 days unopened.

For many years, the garlic pike has been served mainly in Haapaniemi mansion’s buffet. It was so popular that the customers wanted to buy the pike as a takeaway. So, the company decided to make a canned product that can be sold.

Additional product details

About the producer

Haapaniemi Travel

Haapaniemi Travel offers a restaurant and accommodation in holiday cabins and at the Haapaniemi mansion. The company organises a variety of programmes, outdoor activities, nature trips, canoeing and fishing trips.

Contact details:
Address: Haapaniementie 165 74150 Iisalmi, Finland
Phone: +358 440207701


by Silvia Vivó (Syf-Artesana)

The jury especially appreciated the crafted design and use of local wild olive wood and esparto rope, common in Menorcan popular culture. Furthermore, they appreciated the design and appeal of the gift packaging and the fact that it includes instructions on how to make coca (local pastry) at home, as well as images of how to use the cutter. Finally, they recognised the high level of craftsmanship involved and the size/weight that would make it ideal for travelling.

About the product

Talla-coques (coca-cutter)

The “Coca-cutter” is a tool made from wild olive wood (a highly characteristic tree in Menorca), finished with esparto rope (a plant fibre commonly found in popular culture) used as a strap. The idea originates from the simple concept of tasting tomato coca (local topped bread pastry), so very popular in Menorcan cuisine. The coca-cutter serves as a knife for cutting coca and serving it to your guests. The package includes ingredients and instructions for making your own coca.

The product is not for sale yet.

About the producer

Silvia Vivó (Syf-Artesana)

Silvia Vivó is a multifaceted artisan with ample experience in the creative world.

Contact details:
Phone: +34 667 439 342


by Podbočje Primary School Tourist Youth

The jury appreciated the design and craftsmanship of the product – as well as its usefulness. The gift packaging (a flannel bag) contained a rolled-up message recalling a scene set in a traditional Slovenian kitchen and this provided a unique and interesting piece of storytelling that intrigued the jury.

About the product

Podbočje brick (hotpot coaster)

If there is anything good in life (except smoked spareribs), are the holidays at your grandma’s. At that grandma, where you need to go hoeing on the field early in the morning or piling the hay because a storm is coming… And after that, a big piece of home baked, still warm bread is waiting for you, some thickly sliced bacon and oiled scallion. In the evening then a bunch of pancakes baked on grease and potatoes in a soup.
Dinner time. Where is the coaster? Where to put the pot? It was only yesterday when we put some cabbage on the table?! Here, in the pantry, there is the BRICK, I put it there next to the bin of grease. Look, grandma, it is on the table…

In the past, people made objects, indispensable for everyday chores and life, by themselves, and they used objects which were originally meant for something else. Therefore, people already knew how to recycle in those days, and we have only awakened that. The clay roof tile is shortened to a 20 X 15 cm dimension, a wrought copper sign is glued onto it, felt coasters are added, everything is wrapped into local newspaper and tied with a string which is sealed on the top. The souvenir is kept in a neat flannel bag.

The product can be used as:

  • a coaster for a hot pot – LONCENOSEC (THE POTHOLDER);
  • a heater for the feet – NOGOGRELEC (THE FEET HEATER);
  • a self-defence accessory – NAGLAVOPADEC (THE ON-THE-HEAD
  • a tool for breaking walnuts – OREHOLOMEC (THE WALNUT BREAKER)

Warning: the metal on the brick can warm up so extra care is needed when handling the brick.

About the producer

Podbočje Primary School Tourist Youth

The Podbočje Primary School Tourist Youth focuses on the heritage of Podbočje and its vicinity.

Contact details:
Address: Turisticno drustvo Podbocje, Podbocje 70, 8312 Podbocje, Slovenia
Email: Ivanka Cernelic Jurecic,
Phone: +386 41767679

Product purchasable at:


The jury thought this was a very clever use of design and imagery, taking the shape of a traditional kitchen tool (recognisable throughout Menorca as the tool used to cut the local biscuits – or pastissets) and transforming the shape into a surprising and unexpected jewellery product (earrings). The jury noted the attractiveness as well as the uniqueness of this crafted product and appreciated the information about the producer and the images of the pastisset cutters that would help explain the connection to the island. Furthermore, the jury recognised the sustainability of the gift packaging made of cardboard and the ease of transport.

About the product

Pastisset flower biscuit cutter earrings

The Pastisset flower biscuit cutter earrings are inspired by the typical moulds used to make pastissets, very common in Menorcan family celebrations. The shape has been simplified, the size adapted for comfortable wearability. Made from sterling silver. Two different finishes: the exterior, smooth with a shiny finish similar to the aluminium moulds, and the wavy interior with its matte finish that gives the piece a more contemporary look.

The product is not for sale yet.

About the producer

Núria Deyà

Núria Deyà has a workshop in the small town of Ferreries (Menorca), where she creates her own designs, using precious metals like gold and silver, semi-precious stones and innovative metals like titanium and niobium. She also likes to give a chance to some other unconventional materials in jewellery.

Her designs are inspired by the island, by its nature and its colours. They feature sinuous and suggestive curves that are transformed into rings, earrings, necklaces or bracelets where the contrast of the different coloured materials is emphasised.

Núria Deyà is an accredited artisan in Menorca and she was granted the use of the stamp ‘Artesania de Menorca’, which is a quality mark awarded on the island to distinguished professional artisans.

Contact details:
Address: Carrer Ciutadella, 12, 07750 Ferreries, Balearic Islands, Spain
Phone: +34 971 37 35 23

The European Food Gift Challenge 2020 was organised by IGCAT and hosted by

Kuopio, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2020-2021_Logo

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