Finnish culinary involves continental gastronomical experiments and the country’s own inputs combined together. While they prefer pork, beef, reindeer for meaty preparations, they balance their appetizers and desserts nicely with berries (all kinds of), milk, and rye. Soups are not merely starters, rather a sumptuous meal themselves. The savories and desserts mentioned in the list that follows would for sure tempt you to taste at least a few of them at the earliest.
What is it: One of Finland’s traditional food, it originated in the country’s eastern part. Fish baked within a bread loaf is all that the dish is about. Originally rye was used in preparing the dough. However, the addition of wheat helped giving it a better and more pliable texture. For the fillings besides fish, pork and bacon are also the other options. European perch or vendace are the main preferences for the fish, though some alternately use salmon.
Its long shelf life keeps it fresh for an increased duration when unopened, making it a perfect lunch option for workers having long work hours. A popular item in most bakeries, buttermilk goes as its perfect accompaniment.
What does it taste like: With each bite you would feel the crustiness of the bread, alongside the softness and juiciness of the fish and meat within. Sipping into a glass of buttermilk simultaneously would for sure give you a refreshing taste.
What is it: Stuffing cabbage rolls in meat and other fillings has become a standard norm in the cuisine of most countries, and this is what makes up this exciting platter. For the filling, pork, lamb, beef, vegetables, alongside seasonings of spices and onion, are primarily included.
What does it taste like: The cabbage and the meat produce a savory taste. Finnish people mostly team kaalikaaryleet with lingonberry jam enhancing its sweetness.
What is it: Also known as Karelian pirogs or Karelian pasties, this is a crust made of rye with a rice filling, besides carrot and mashed potatoes included additionally.
What does it taste like: The crispy base and the soft topping are great duos to impress your taste buds. Spreads of chopped boiled egg mixed in butter bring in a more delightful flavor.
What is it: Merimiespata is a delicious stew prepared from beef cubes, beer, potatoes, mushrooms, onions, and bay leaves.
What does it taste like: The richness of the beef and the freshness of vegetables enhances its taste further. Team it with pickled beets and bread for a delightful experience, especially on a wintry day.
What is it: This lip-smacking dish is prepared from pork fat, pig blood, oatmeal, flour, and crushed rye. They have a long history dating back to the 17th century cooked in an oven over fire. Presently more popular as a store-bought food rather than a homemade one, it is mostly sold in Styrofoam boxes.
What does it taste like: It tastes the best when hot and fresh. The Finns, mostly eat it with lingonberry jam, that adds a tinge of sweetness to the savory sausage.
This one is a delicious meal of sautéed reindeer, one of Finland’s traditional dishes. The back or steak of the deer used in the preparation is thinly sliced and then fried in the fat of reindeer, traditionally though the present version uses butter. Seasonings of salt and black pepper, alongside cream, and beer, takes its taste to another level. Mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam, and pickled cucumber mostly go as accompaniments.
What does it taste like: The strong taste of reindeer could attain a softer and juicier texture when seasoned well with butter and other ingredients.
This one is a creamy soup primarily made with salmon fillets alongside leeks, boiled potatoes, cream, or even milk. The soup is eaten chiefly hot, with garnishes on dill conveniently spread on top.
What does it taste like: Soft and buttery, each spoon you take would melt into your mouth instantly. The refreshing taste of salmon dominates throughout.
This s Finland’s traditional Christmas casserole with swede (a yellow-fleshed root) as the main ingredient, sweetened in bread crumbs, butter, cream, and egg. Seasonings of spices like cinnamon, and ginger, and salt enhances the flavor further. Before baking, a decorative design is made on the top of it, and more breadcrumbs are added.
What does it taste like: It is crispy on the outer end, while as you bite deep into it, the earthy flavor of swede combined with the aroma of several spices would satisfy your taste buds to the core.
Besides the savories mentioned above, Finland has its share of delectable desserts most of which are eaten during the festive seasons or on auspicious occasions.
What is it: Rice pudding forms an indispensable part of the Finnish holiday cuisine mainly Christmas and New Year. The ingredients vary from one region to the other, though the standard ones include rice, milk, spices like cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon, flavorings like lemon, vanilla, and orange, sweeteners, and even eggs occasionally.
In some versions including those made in Finland, and Sweden, chopped almonds also go in as toppings. Interestingly, during Christmas almond remains hidden deep within the pudding and the person to find and eat it would supposedly have good luck the following year.
What does it taste like: It has a thick consistency with overall sweetness, the taste altering as per the spices and flavorings added.
What is it: Gingerbread confectionaries are famous worldwide, and in Finland, Santa’s land, it is known by the name of piparkakut. They are a Christmas specialty, eaten throughout the country during the festive season and even given as gifts.
What does it taste like: It is crunchy, but there are softer variations as well. The subtle mixed taste of cinnamon, cloves, and dark corn syrup is also present in every bite.
What is it: This one is a perfect delight for those with a sweet tooth. Some of the several ingredients that go into its preparation include rye flour, malted rye powder, seasoned salt, and powdered orange zest. Traditionally the mixture is kept for a while till it naturally sweetens, though in the present time seasoning it with dark molasses helps attain its sweet taste.
Mammi is a perfect Easter dish. Since it remains fresh for long, Finns even eat it during Good Friday when they cannot prepare or cook anything fresh. Presently, it has made its way into most stores, though some families still make it at home.
What does it taste like: Not that it is exceptionally sweet or pleasant. Rather, mammi has a flavor similar to dark bread. Yet, when eaten with milk, cheese or cream it would taste a lot better.
What is it: Pulla is a cardamom-flavored circular pastry, with a braided appearance. The preparation process of this sweet, aromatic dessert may go up to three hours. The toppings mainly include almond flakes or pearl sugar, while some versions even add vanilla icing or walnut. Sometimes the dough is also mixed with saffron for a yellow color and raisins for increased sweetness.
This dish has several variations. When there is whipped cream and almond paste on the cake, it is known as Laskiaispulla, a Shrove Thursday favorite. On the other hand, buns filled with curd and topped with berries are named rahkapulla.
Finnish people serve this in thin slices during auspicious ceremonies. However, a small pulla can be consumed whole and does not require to be cut into pieces.
What does it taste like: You would find the fruity piney taste of cardamom in every bite, blended with a sweet, nutty flavor of the nuts and raisins. On the other hand, those with saffron would also have an added earthy aroma.
What is it: Literally meaning bread droplets, this is a golden brown fried cake with a shape of a bird’s nest. The batter, used for this, is poured through a funnel, (hence it is also known as the funnel cake) in a round pattern on hot oil. During the May Day or Vappa, this cake is eaten with an alcoholic beverage, sima.
What does it taste like: The crunchy cake has a sugary taste due to the powdered sugar it is served with. When whipped cream, jelly or fresh fruits are used as its topping, it tastes accordingly.
Finnish Traditional Food: Kaalikaaryleet, Lohikeitto, Karjalanpiirakka
Finnish Christmas Food: Piparkakut, Riisipuuro, Lanttulaatikko
It is because of the diversity that Finnish people manage to have unique and special dishes for their every occasion. Like other European countries, they have imbibed variations regarding sausages or marakka, like some are grilled (grillimakkara) and some are not. Also, their choice of meatballs or lihapullat conforms to the fact that they welcome other cuisines as well. The demand for Kosher foods and Halal meat prove the fact once again.
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