The gastronomy of a country is more than its food, the typical dishes of a specific region are usually a representation of its culture and history; Its ingredients, cooking techniques and the traditional rituals that surround them are important examples of its folklore. Finland is a country located in northern Europe, in Scandinavia, which is part of the Nordic countries along with Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, with which it shares many cultural and historical elements, but still each manages to have its own personality and essence when it comes to food. In this article I will tell you about some of the typical dishes of Finland, gastronomy that is characterized by its abundant use of rye and marine species such as salmon.
During the autumn, this is the dish that predominates in the lunch of Finnish families and is also considered one of the most famous in the gastronomy of this country. It is a stew made from cabbage, rice and ground meat.
Although it is a very common recipe in autumn, it is possible to find it in restaurants throughout the year, as well as in the homes of the native Kaalilaatikko lovers.
These are a Finnish version of the famous meatballs that you can see in Sweden. Basically they are a good size grilled and baked sealed buns, made of seasoned pork that turn out to be very juicy and soft. What most characterizes the dish is the use of a curd cream, called kermaviili, in the preparation.
The local tradition is to serve these meatballs with steamed or mashed potatoes, gravy, pickles and a little blueberry jam, which is in keeping with the common use of berries in Scandinavian food.
This is a very famous rye-based baked dough in Finland, its origin specifically located in the historic region of Karelia. The crispy crust of the Karjalanpiirakka, according to tradition, is filled with cooked rice or rice porridge and covered with an egg-based butter.
It is popular that it is served during breakfast, as a snack, but it is also common to eat them at weddings.
This is a rye bread, but with the purest Finnish essence. When you taste a rye bread made with real Finnish yeasts, you will notice the difference in its intense dark color and its particularly dense texture. It is often used to prepare open sandwiches or as an appetizer with butter.
It is part of the Finnish staple diet, eaten daily and has been a symbol of the country’s cultural identity for thousands of years.
This is a very traditional type of cheese from Finland, it has the peculiarity of being somewhat crunchy and is prepared specifically with milk milked from a cow that has recently given birth. You can see it in some parts of the world as “crunchy Finnish cheese” and it is usually eaten with a little coffee and some jam, such as camemoro or arctic berry, to contrast the flavor.
From the Savonia region, in Finland, comes this traditional dish that is based on the mixture of meats, specifically fish and pork. Rye again has a presence in a Finnish recipe, this time in the form of a baked dough that is filled with fish, meat from some part of the pork and bacon.
This dish is baked for hours until the bones of the fish soften and melt with the meat and liquid of the fish, resulting in a moist filling that goes very well with the crispness and dryness of the rye crust.
As I mentioned before in the introduction, fish is common in Finnish recipes, but the most common is salmon, this is the case in much of Scandinavia. Graavilohi is a dish that is prepared with raw salmon that undergoes a cure based on salt, sugar and dill.
For Finns in particular, it is traditional to serve this historic dish with a sauce made from mustard or dill and accompanied by rye bread or simply with some boiled potatoes.
Red fruits or berries are very representative of the cuisine in Finland. In the summer time, it is typical to take advantage of the richness of the forests in the region that are completely full of blueberries, the most common is that they use them to prepare simple cakes. But, the Mustikkapiirakka is a special Finnish cake that is filled with blueberries and yogurt, which is usually eaten with a rich glass of freshly milked milk. Without a doubt, this is a dish that reflects the customs of traditional Finnish very well.
It is true that licorice can be highly rejected by many in much of the world, but for the Finns, it may become their favorite. Salmiakki is a kind of black liquorice that goes through a process through which it is flavored with ammonium chloride, which also gives it a salty taste.
Also known as “salty liquorice,” Salmiakki is consumed with a treat, but it also has other uses, such as flavoring ice cream, beverages, and meats.
An element not so common but very representative of Finland in general, not only its food, is the reindeer, this animal accompanies much of the history of the Finns.
The Poronkaristys is composed of a reindeer loin fillet cut into small pieces and fried in fat, and then cooked in water, cream or beer, until it is tender. It is popularly served with mashed potatoes, sliced pickles and homemade blueberry jam.
This recipe is a green pea soup with pieces of pork and a generous amount of mustard. It is popular in Finnish lunches accompanied by traditional rye bread.
The custom dating from the Middle Ages, when it was eaten before Good Friday, indicates that it is served every Thursday during lunch at work and at school.
Now that you know the typical dishes of Finland, which one would you like to try?