One of the best experiences of traveling is eating what the locals do. If you're going to Finland, you're in for an adventure. Traditional Finnish food is usually quite simple and fresh. Most dishes contain potatoes in some form, and most of the ingredients are local and organic. Here are the seven most quintessentially Finnish foods. Try as many as you dare.
Also known as "squeaky cheese", this dish is traditionally made from cows "beestings," which is essentially colostrum. The milk is curdled and placed in a round dish to set and is then baked, flambeed or grilled to give it golden brown markings. It is usually eaten right after being cooked, but it can also be dried and stored for years and then warmed up and eaten. There are many ways in which people enjoy this cheese. Usually it is sliced and eaten with coffee, either on the side or with coffee poured on top. It is also sometimes served with cloudberry jelly or used as a replacement for feta cheese in salads. You can find this dish at various cafes or cheese makers in Finland or you can buy this cheese commercially. However, the commercial type of the cheese is made from regular milk and lacks the flavor and color of the traditional version.
Vispipuur is a dessert porridge made from wheat semolina and lingonberries. The semolina and berries are cooked together with a sweetener and then left to cool. Once cooled, the mixture is whipped until it has the consistency of a mousse. The dish is then served with milk and sugar. Vispipuur can be found on the dessert menu in many Finnish restaurants.
Lohikeitto is a soup made with salmon, potatoes, and leaks, and sometimes milk is added to give it a more creamy texture. Finnish families often have this nourishing soup for dinner, and it can also be found at many restaurants in Finland.
This dessert is a beautiful Finnish blueberry pie. Instead of being made with pastry, it has more of a cake-like consistency, and it is gluten-free. Mustikkapiirakka is usually accompanied by coffee and is often on the menu at Finnish cafes and restaurants.
Reindeer meat is a common staple in most people's diets in Finland. Reindeer farms are common in Finland, and very few reindeer are exported; they are mostly all consumed in Finland in various forms. It is similar in taste to beef but tougher and has a stronger taste. In Finnish restaurants you'll find many dishes featuring this meat, such as reindeer stew, reindeer steak, reindeer roasts, and pasta dishes containing reindeer.
Kaalilaatikko is a cabbage casserole, a favorite Finnish dish. It is a traditional Finnish meal usually eaten during the fall of the year. It contains ground meat, cabbage, and red berry jam and is baked in the oven. It's often on restaurant menus in the fall.
Although the idea of kalakukko might be unappealing to some, this fish pie is a popular dish in Savonia, particularly in the capital city of Kuopia, where there are bakeries dedicated to kalakukko and the city hosts an annual kalakukko baking contest. The bread is usually made with rye flour, and the traditional filling is fish, pork, and bacon, although there are many different variations of fillings for this dish.