Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Finnish Cuisine: Better than You Think

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
chocolate chips
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).


Marie Reed said...

This recipe sounds just divine! I am actually quite fascinated by Finland so this post and this blog are right up my alley!

Cheema said...

Hello from Pakistan!
Happy Postcard-Crossing Friendship!!!

You have a very nice collection here.

I am Cheema from Pakistan. I am a new postcrosser at site. I have also made a couple of beautiful blogs promoting my hobbies and sharing my collection.

My postcrossing's profile can be seen at:

At the moment, I am interested in Blog link exchange. If interested, you can add my blog to your postcrossers list and leave me a message at or leave a comment on my blog

I am also interested in swapping postcards with world UNESCO heritage site from your country. Can you send me any such card? At the moment (25 Apr 2009), I donot have any UNESCO site card from anywhere so all are welcome. Afterwards it will be selected cards which I would be missing. If its possible please send me the name of the site in your message and we can go ahead with our swap.

In return I can send you a nice postcard with beautiful landscape or UNESCO heritage sites from Pakistan - which I think will be a nice addition in your collection?

So are you interested....???

Waiting anxiously for your kind reply
Best Regards
Yours Cheema

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