Warning: Don’t read this article on an empty stomach.
In recent years Scandinavia and the Nordic countries have been going through a culinary renaissance, so I wasn’t surprised by how good the food was in Sweden or Denmark. These two countries have been getting a lot of press recently, especially with restaurants like Noma in Copenhagen and Frantzén in Stockholm becoming household names and winning countless awards.
However, when it came to Finland, my culinary knowledge was severely lacking, in fact it was completely non-existent. I believed if the food was as good as its neighbour then I would have heard it on the grapevine, surely?
This doesn’t mean I expected the food to be bad, because again, I’m sure I would have been forewarned in one way or another. The conclusion, I therefore came to, was to not expect anything out of the ordinary.
But, oh boy, how wrong I was…. It was anything but ordinary.
If I were to describe Finnish cuisine in 5 words, it would be: Local, experimental, healthy, light and delicious. There is a strong emphasis on keeping things local, so eating fish caught from the nearby lake, having berries specific to the region and seasons, and using meats which are found on Finnish land, such as reindeer and lamb, goes without saying.
There really are only so many superlatives I can use, so I’ll let the photos do the talking now:
Place: Restaurant Näsinneula in Tampere Dish: Salmon and hollandaise with puy lentil salad
Place: Restaurant Näsinneula in Tampere Dish: Pike on a bed of risotto and pea purée
Place: Restaurant Näsinneula in Tampere Dish: Reindeer from Kaldoaivi
Place: Restaurant Näsinneula in Tampere Dish: Sour milk, blueberry and malt
Place: Restaurant Näsinneula in Tampere Dish: Carrot cake, sea buckthorn and liquorice
Place: Ravintola Pöllöwaari in Jyväskylä Dish: Pike-perch & potato with celery, pea and lemon
Place: Ravintola Pöllöwaari in Jyväskylä Dish: Strawberry & Mascarpone
And what about the food outside of the restaurants?
It wasn't just the restaurants that offered delicious food - the cafes, the markets and even the railway station was something to make a song and dance about. I found myself waiting in a railway station for my journey to Helsinki airport when I spotted a curious looking brown cake that looked a little bit like a mandarin cake, I had to try it, so you can understand my surprise as I took my first bite and discovered a filling of sweet bilberries - it's called Mustikka Kukkonen and something you must try if you get the chance!
Have you tried the food in Finland before? If so, what did you think about it?
If you like to visit Finland and enjoy indulging in Finnish cuisine, please visit our website: www.taberhols.co.uk or call us on: 01274 875199.