I received this lovely Finnish recipe card in April from user IC. According to Wikipedia, there have been some public figures (Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, former French president Jacques Chirac) who publicly denounced the quality of Finnish food. Before I tell you all about why they're wrong, let me translate this lovely recipe for you.
"Sand Under, Snow On Top" - An Apple Dessert
5 dl (deciliter = a little under half a cup) rye bread, crumpled
50 g butter
100 g sugar
1 tbs cocoa
1 tbs cinnamon
2 dl apple sauce/jam
2 dl whipped cream
2 dl raspberry jam
Crumple the rye bread and dry it in the oven. Melt butter in a pan and add the crumpled rye bread. Let it cool, then add sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon. Add the mixture to the bottom of the serving dish, then layer half the apple sauce, whipped cream, and raspberry jam. Then add a second layer of apple sauce, whipped cream, and raspberry jam. Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips.
Yum! Doesn't this sound like a delicious treat? And doesn't it make you want to learn more about Finnish food? I know I do...
Of course, in this very global economy, there's a lot more uniformity in the foods people eat. The items I mention are traditionally, historically common Finnish foods, but may not be frequently eaten anymore. Some ingredients that seem present in lots of Finnish dishes include cabbage, smoked fish, cheese, viili (a yogurt-like fermented milk product), smoked ham or beef, potatoes, rye bread, fresh berries (including the high-falutin', relatively rare berry called cloudberry), lingonberry jam, pulla (a sweet dessert bread), salmiakki and other types of licorice. I know plenty of Finns will see this post, so if you have things you'd like to add (recipes to share? common foods?), please leave them in the comments!
And I'd like to leave you with this Washington Post article which tells one man's adventure exploring Finnish food in Helsinki. By and large, his experience was quite positive.
"Chirac and Berlusconi are wrong! Finnish cuisine is much more international than I expected. I have eaten very good food in wonderful restaurants, visited market places and enjoyed in good cafeterias. Cheese is very good in Finland. I also love Finnish cloudberry and smoked fish." (Ute Junker, Australian Financial Review Magazine, Sydney, Australia)
"Food in Finnish restaurants is extremely good. Especially I love Finnish salmon, mushroom soup and desserts. I have also got very good Finnish wines. The worldwide reputation of Finnish cuisine isn't very good – but it should be!" (Liliane Delwasse, Le Figaro, Paris, France)
"I have eaten only good food in Finland. Food in Finland is very fresh. Bread, berries, mushrooms and desserts are very delicious. Finnish berries (especially cloudberry), salmon, cheeses and reindeer should be available in London, too." (April Hutchinson, Abta Magazine, London, England).