Russian President Vladimir Putin was scheduled have his goose cooked by the European Union yesterday.
Putin will be the guest of honor at a dinner with leaders of the 25 EU nations in this lakeside town, which the Finnish hosts hope will showcase a cuisine that has faced something of a roasting by some European leaders.
French President Jacques Chirac provoked a minor diplomatic incident last year when he was quoted by the Paris newspaper Liberation as telling first Putin and then former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany that Finnish food was the worst in Europe.
He reportedly claimed it was even worse than that of the British, having said: "We can't trust people who have such bad food."
Chirac wasn't alone in casting aspersions on Finnish fare.
Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi once successfully campaigned at a European summit to have an EU food safety agency located in Parma rather then Helsinki, arguing that "the Finns don't even know what prosciutto is."
To counter such comments, the Finns are laying on a feast.
The leaders will start with a whitefish tartar with grilled fennel. Then they move on to artichoke soup before tackling a main course of rosemary roasted goose supreme in rowanberry sauce.
Presidents and prime ministers with a sweet tooth will have a mousse of chocolate and sea buckthorn berries, one of the many berries Finland is famous for.
No french wine
Chirac may be won over by the food, but he's unlikely to appreciate the wine list, where French wines are notable by their absence.
Instead, the leaders will start out with a 2002 Am Sand Gewuerztraminer from northern Italy, move on to a Spanish red, Corullon 2003, and end up with a drop of the renowned Austrian dessert wine Gruener Veltliner Eiswein 2005.