Yes, you read it correctly. We all know that the usual way of introducing people to the curious world of Finnish cuisine is to go through all our culinary extremes, from mouth-burning salmiakki to the suspiciously poop-like Easter surprise mämmi. Then we laugh when people either attempt to swallow these delicacies with a grim look on their face or run around the room looking for a bin where they could shamefully spit out the beloved delights of the local people.
We also tend to share a laugh with other Europeans who make fun of our food. Here is what I have to say to that: Don’t Do That! Despite our relatively large selection of “extreme foods” that serve as an endless source of jokes, we also have a lot of simple and easily approachable foods that will surely melt everybody’s taste buds — in a good way, of course!
Here are six Finnish foods that you can serve to food-lovers from all over the world with guaranteed success.
By the end of June you can usually find Finnish strawberries in the shops and markets. People often tell their children berries and fruit taste better than candy. I personally think it is a big lie except when we talk about strawberries that have grown under the Nordic sun. Eat fresh, add nothing. It’s bliss!
Finnish New Potatoes
It’s the same phenomenon as strawberries. Nordic summer is short, but summer foods have a taste that are simply incomparable. Boil with dill, add a big lump of butter on top and enjoy!
Karjalanpiirakka (Karelian pie)
This tiny pie is usually made out of rye and wheat flour and filled with rice porridge. You can eat it cold or hot, as is or with some egg butter spread on top. You can often find karjalanpiirakka on the table if you attend a Finnish family party, but these days it is also a common, easy snack that busy urbanites tuck in their bags on the go.
Pulla is made out of wheat flour and the dough is yeast-based. You could describe it as sweet white bun bread to somebody who is not familiar with the concept. Pulla comes in many forms. My absolute favourites are voipulla and kanelipulla. The first one is flavoured with butter and sugar and the second one with cinnamon, sugar and butter. Eat fresh straight from the oven accompanied with a glass of cold milk.
Buying pike-perch in a shop hurts, because it is so expensive. The best option is to find a fisherman from whom you can buy the fish, or even better, if you know how to fish and prepare it yourself. If not, no worries! The taste of pike-perch is so wonderful that it’s still worth buying from a shop — if not every day, then at least every now and then. Fry in a pan with butter, or add a few delicate spices, cream and white wine. Voilà, you just prepared a 5-star meal for yourself.
Gravlax is raw salmon, usually cured in salt, sugar and dill, and is similar to the type of salmon you eat with sushi. It’s often served thinly sliced as an appetiser or on top of sandwiches. Make sure your gravlax is fresh for maximum enjoyment!
With so many tasty treats to enjoy, there must be something else this list is missing. Which Finnish food is your absolute favourite? Let us know in the comments below!