Finnish Food

The cuisine of Finland has evolved into a mix of old and new. While traditional Finnish food favorites are still enjoyed across the country with frequency, new dishes are constantly being introduced into the mix. Many Finnish chefs are open to new ideas and foreign influences, and oftentimes new flavors are added to traditional recipes to create inspired culinary delights. In many ways, the cuisine of Finland has become lighter, with smaller dishes that are rich in vegetables growing in popularity. Meat eaters worry not, however, as meat is still a large part of the overall diet here, as is milk, and Finns claim that their cows produce the best in Europe. Another interesting thing about Finnish food is the fact that you can eat a raw egg here and not have to worry about salmonella. Finnish people like their food to be not only fresh, but also safe, so if someone here tells you that you can eat a raw egg, then you can pretty much take their word for it.

Traditional Finnish food is something that should be tried while enjoying a vacation here, even if you only sample one traditional dish. Both eastern and western influences have contributed to traditional Finnish food, and if you are familiar with the cuisines of Germany, Russia, and Sweden, then you will likely notice some similarities. Salted fish, meatballs, rye bread, and sweet bread are just some of the traditional Finnish food favorites that have their roots in other countries. No traditional Finnish food conversation would be complete without mention of Mammi, which is a special dessert that is typically enjoyed on Easter. Believed to have been conceived in Germany, Mammi is a most curious dish. A bread pudding of sorts, it consists of rye flour, rye malt, dark molasses, dried orange peels (most preferably from Seville, Spain), water, and salt. Once these ingredients are mixed, the mixture is left to sweeten for some time before being baked. After setting in the oven, it goes into the refrigerator, most often for a few days. Eaten cold, Mammi is typically topped with something sweet, like vanilla ice cream or sugar and cream.

While Mammi is a traditional Finnish food favorite that is enjoyed across the land, others are best found in their native regions. In the northern Lapland region, where the reindeer are plentiful, sauteed reindeer is often on the menu. You will even find some of the Lapland hotels serving it in their restaurants. Once the reindeer steaks are ready to cook, they are fried in either butter, oil, or as tradition would truly have it, reindeer fat. Salt and pepper are all that is used to season the meat, and it is common to add some beer to the frying pan. Pickled cucumbers, mashed potatoes, and mashed cowberries and sugar are the traditional side dishes when it comes to sauteed reindeer. Down in southern Finland, the city of Tampere is known for a certain dish itself, and that dish is Mustamakkara. Essentially a version of blood sausage, Mustamakkara is a mixture of pig’s blood, crushed rye, flour, and pork that is stuffed into an animal intestine casing. Whether cooked over a fire, in an oven, or in a boiling pot of water, Mustamakkara is almost indefinitely served with a side of lingonberry jam. When enjoying the food in Finland, lingonberry jam will almost certainly be something that you will come across.

Potatoes, which were introduced to Finland in the eighteenth century, are a Finnish food staple, and one regional dish that features them is Rossypottu, which is native to the central region city of Oulu. Not many southern Finns know about this dish, so you will be one step ahead of them if you try it. Rossypottu is nothing more than a stew that is comprised of potatoes, pork, blood pudding, rye flour, beer, and different spices. Back in Lapland, Lohikeitto, which is a salmon and cream soup, is another regional specialty, and down in southeastern Finland near the Russian border, those famous Karelian pies and pastries have been satisfying repeat customers for quite some time. Now enjoyed across Finland, Karelian pies are wheat and rye crust pastries that were traditionally filled with barley and a mixture of flours, such as oat and rye. Nowadays, a rice filling is most common, and it is also customary to spread a boiled egg and some butter over the still-hot pastries before enjoying them.

The cuisine of Finland, while not necessarily understood or properly appreciated by many, is quite interesting and varied. For those that like fresh fish, the food in Finland will likely be a highlight of your Finnish holiday. This is also true for those who appreciate good berries. Lingonberries, blueberries, strawberries, and the sub-Arctic cloudberries are enjoyed in a number of ways, and many Finns like to freeze them and enjoy them with sugar and porridge in the wintertime. There are many dishes that you might seek out when trying the food in Finland, and you’re bound to come across some personal favorites during your vacation here.

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