Veps people are surprisingly hospitable. You will be offered a great variety of Veps food, and you will be able to participate in preparation of some of these dishes. You can choose to have your meals with hospitable Veps families, in guest houses or with us in the museum.
A Veps saying claiming that ‘you cannot live without bread’ shows the role bread and flour products play in the traditional Veps cuisine. Bread (liib, leib) was of round form and made from rye flour. Early on the children would be fed with crumbs of rye bread mixed into the bowl of milk. Rye flour was used for the famous Veps baked goods — for kalitki, skantsi, fish pies. Kalitki were made from thick unfermented dough, the main ingredients of which were rye flour and milk, sour milk or water.It was a custom to bake kalitki and skantsi every Sunday. They were always made also for every celebration.
‘Son-in-law pies’ were baked when visiting a house of the parents of a married couple, but mother-in-law offered sweet pies to the young son-in-law when he first visited the house of his wife after the wedding. These pies could be filled with oatmeal and sour cream or millet porridge.
Pancakes were made from oat flour. They were eaten with salted mushrooms, cottage cheese or sugar-coated lingonberries. Veps people also baked original scones from pea meal that was beaten together with snow and then quickly placed in the oven. Oat, barley, or millet porridges were made in milk.
Fish had and still has a major role in Veps cuisine.Fresh fish are used for fish soup; fish are also sun dried or dried in ovens. Fish pies are the most popular among the fish dishes. Smaller fish were usually dried without being cleaned and they were held in salt water for some time before being dried. Potatoes and spring onions were added in soup made from dried fish. This soup was eaten in winter. The Veps people even had this saying: «Kala — pen’, a keitmene — maged» — «Small fish makes soup sweet».
The Veps people ate meat quite seldom. Cattle were slaughtered in late autumn. Meat was placed in barrels and salted. They also used to dry the meat in the sun. Dried meat was used to make soup, meat jelly in summer when people were busy clearing land, gathering hay, timber rafting, and in winter when people worked in the forest. Just like fish, meat was used for filling the rye pies. This dish was called ‘kurnik’.
Dairy products were prepared for future use as cottage cheese in barrels, and butter was made from cream. These were used for various baking purposes.
Flax and hemp oil was made by crushing flax and hemp seeds in special presses. These oils were used for cooking during Lent and as seasoning for various dishes. Turnips were the only vegetables in past, and they were used in making various dishes.It was used to make kvass; it was baked in oven, sun dried or dried in oven.
Traditional cuisine turned out to be the most steadfast part of traditional Veps culture. Every Sunday the Veps people still bake kalitki, fish pies, kurniki, skantsi and sweet pies. In summer they dry small fish.