Are you curious to know what we eat in Finland? You will discover what the Finns eat throughout the seasons and learn all about this authentic, simple and natural culinary culture. A return to the roots and to nature guaranteed. Even more so if you taste your dish in a kuksa!
Authentic, simple and pure. Three terms that perfectly represent Finnish cuisine.
Indeed, the Finns are used to working with what their land and their lakes give them. Organic and responsible food is therefore a matter of course for this people. For a Finn, it is normal and usual to eat food that comes from his country, and even from his garden or his balcony.
Anecdote in passing. Did you know that since 1948, school lunches are free? This makes it possible to teach children and young people to eat healthy, local food together from a very early age.
First of all, it is important to know that, as in many countries, within the country, people do not eat the same thing depending on the region where they live. For example, in the east of the country, people will eat more stews and pies than in the west.
The season for growing food and gathering is very short in Finland, and even shorter in the north of the country. But you will see, they know how to preserve their food so that they can eat it all year round, even in the winter under -30° ❄️
Northern Finland has long summer days and short winter days. These long, bright summer days allow for optimal growth and development of the plants. Also, in summer, there is a big difference in temperature between day and night. These two things combined make vegetables and berries taste more full-bodied and typical in the north than in the south.
In Finland, in the south of the country, spring arrives at the end of April while in the north, you have to wait for the snow to melt, it arrives only at the end of May. This means that the growing season for vegetables and plants lasts 6 months in the south and only 3 to 4 months in the north.
An extremely short period compared to other countries like France or Spain!
In Finland, summer is the time to celebrate the midnight sun. Indeed, on June 21, the sun descends towards the horizon and rises again immediately without disappearing from the horizon, it is already dawn!
New potatoes are part of every summer meal, sometimes served boiled with dill and accompanied by herring or trout.
Summer is the best time to practice smoking drinks and cooking food over a wood fire.
Water in Finland is like the air: unmatched in its purity!
Groundwater is used by many private individuals and waterworks, as this water can be drunk without any treatment.
Lakes can also be a source of drinking water in Finland.
When autumn arrives, it's time to harvest! Get out your baskets to pick up mushrooms and berries!
As mentioned above, the harvest period is very short, lasting only a few weeks before the arrival of winter. It is therefore important to quickly collect mushrooms and wild berries and to harvest wheat and root vegetables.
Root vegetables have always been part of the Finnish diet. They are easy to grow in a short period of time and store extremely well for eating during the long winter months.
With the arrival of winter, stews, soups and casseroles are simmering in Finnish kitchens, to the delight of gourmets!
Some cereals like rye will hibernate under the frozen ground. Once harvested, this rye will have a stronger and more authentic taste thanks to its long cold period.
Another advantage of the cold is that it reduces the installation and proliferation of diseases and insects on the crops. This implies that the food is not or hardly treated.
In the winter, you can also enjoy a homemade croque-monsieur and a warm berry juice served in Kupilka! Then you can be sure your drink will stay warm longer. 👍🏼
You can see it if you go to Finland, the Finns like to have all their meal in one plate. So it will be separated with vegetables or salad on one side and potatoes or meat or fish on the other side.
In all schools and workplaces, food is free. The government's approach ensures that the Finnish people have access to healthy food.
Due to the long winter period and extreme cold, crops require much less pesticide than in warmer climates. Also, the cold weather contributes to the lower use of antibiotics for animal husbandry than the European average.
In Finland, everyone has the right to move freely in forests and other natural areas. This right allows anyone to move freely in the forests on the mountains or on the many lakes in the country. Therefore, anyone has the right to pick berries and mushrooms in any natural area, no matter who the owner is. His authorization is not necessary.
Many Finns have a summer cottage by a lake. Indeed, the thousands of blue lakes offer an excellent opportunity for fishing, swimming or boating.
Lake Päijänne, the second largest lake in Finland, serves as a source of drinking water for Finns living near Helsinki.
Finnish lakes are fished here:
Fish is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and calcium.
Fishing is not only done when the weather is good! In winter, it's called ice fishing. We dig a hole in a frozen lake and then slip a line in.
Finns are very careful about the bread they eat. They like fresh bread from their bakeries, baked with Finnish flour. Fresh rye bread is a safe bet in Finland!
Authentic Finnish bread! It is a national food of Finland. It is the most common variety of bread in grocery stores.
Dark and sweet bread, typical of the coastal areas of southern Finland and the Aland Islands. The sweetness of the bread comes from the malt. It goes very well with salmon gravlax with a little dill and lemon.
These are rice cakes cooked in a very thin rye crust. It takes a certain amount of practice to get the shape of this East Finnish specialty right.
Rieska or unleavened bread is a bread made from barley. It is very soft and much appreciated warm with butter. It is a specialty of northwest Finland.
Another superfood from Finland is nettle! It is the most used edible wild plant in Finland. The young shoots and leaves are the best parts of the plant. You should also know that once cut, the nettle continues to produce new leaves.
Nettle contains a lot of iron, zinc, calcium and vitamins!
A quarter of the world's cumin is produced in Finland. Finland's unique and exceptional light produces a very tasty cumin that is highly prized by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
Cumin spice is used in baking, in marinades and to spice alcohol.
The food choices that every Finnish person makes have an impact on the environment and on their own well-being. The goal is for everyone to eat food in moderation and to reduce food waste as much as possible.
Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, berries are essential in any diet. Thanks to the berry powder, it is possible to take advantage of the virtues of berries even in winter in a yoghurt or in porridge!
The average Finn eats 14 liters of ice cream per year! At present, they are the biggest consumers of ice cream in Europe. Nevertheless, they want their ice cream to be national and made with local ingredients.
Following a gluten-free diet is easy in Finland, unlike in other countries. Grocery stores and restaurants offer a wide range of foods and dishes with the letter "G" after the name of the product to indicate that it is gluten-free.
I'm sure you didn't know that! Finns consume more coffee per capita than any other country in the world. It is for them an important moment of conviviality and a social activity in its own right.