Karjalanpiirakka are a very popular pastry in Finland originally from the region of Karelia. The rye crust is traditionally filled with rice porridge and topped with egg butter. It is eaten in Finland for breakfast, as a snack, and even served at weddings.
2. Ruisleipa (rye bread)
Rye bread may be nothing new to you, but Finland's version is genuine 100% rye bread made from unique Finnish yeasts to give it a dark, dense character. This bread is one of Finland's staple foods and a part of Finns' cultural identity for thousands of years. Leavened rye breads are often dried into thin crisp for open-faced sandwiches or to be snacked on with butter.
3. Leipajuusto (bread cheese)
Known as Finnish squeaky cheese in the US, Leipajuusto is a fresh cheese traditionally made from cow's beestings - rich milk from a cow that has recently calved. It's often served alongside coffee or with cloudberry jam.
4. Kalakukko (fish pie)
Kalakukko originates from the Finnish region of Savonia. It is traditionally prepared with rye flour, seasoned with salt, and filled with fish, pork and bacon. When the bones of the fish soften, the meat and fish juice cook throughout the bread in the oven for hours to result in a moist filling.
5. Korvapuusti (cinnamon buns)
Translating to "Slapped Ears" in English, Korvapuusti is a Finnish cinnamon roll and type of "Pulla," a Finnish sweet bread traditionally served with coffee. Delicious, fluffy dough is made into milk using fresh yeast and lots of ground cardamon.
6. Muikku (fried vendance)
This small freshwater fish is abundant in Finland. With it being so common, Finns have many ways of serving this delicious white fish. One of the favorite cooking methods is breading the fish and frying it in butter. These crispy little fish are a flavorful treat and since the bones are so small the entire fish can be eaten without worry.
7. Graavilohi (cured salmon)
Finns love their salmon, and Finland is home to some of the freshest fishing sites. Graavilohi is a Nordic dish made from raw salmon which has been cured in salt, sugar and dill. The thinly sliced Finnish cuisine is often served as an appetizer alongside a dill or mustard sauce on bread or with boiled potatoes.
8. Mustikkapiirakka (blueberry pie)
In the summer months, Finnish forests are peppered with bilberries, the healthier Nordic cousin of the blueberry. Other berries, such as lingonberries, can be picked and used to make pies, but Mustikkapiirakka filled with yogurt and served with fresh milk is a much-adored Finnish cuisine.
9. Salmiakki (salty liquorice)
While black licorice is despised in some parts of the world, in Finland, it's a fan favorite. Salmiakki is a type of licorice flavored with ammonium chloride for an astringent, salty taste. The salty licorice is usually eaten alone as a candy but can also flavor other things like ice cream, alcoholic beverages, and even meat.
10. Poronkaristys (sauteed reindeer)
Of course, we had to end with a reindeer dish. The steak or back of the reindeer is thinly sliced, fried in fat, spiced with salt and pepper, and cooked in water, cream, or beer until tender. This Finnish cuisine is then served with sugared lingonberries, mashed potatoes and cucumber pickles.
Photos: Julia Kivelä (main), Julia Kivelä, Visit Finland, Soili Jussila, Julia Kivelä, Julia Kivelä, Julia Kivelä, Jani Kärppä, Pirkko Kanervisto, Marimekko, Soili Jussila
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The dream trip to Finland is sponsored by Visit Finland and operated by Tenon Tours.