Finnish treats – the favourite delicacies of a Finn abroad. As any expat may know, there are and always will be some foods and snacks from one’s home country that almost form an essential part of one’s being.
Finnish cuisine is not famous for being “fine” – at least not according to Silvio Berlusconi. I disagree – in my book all those mushroom, berries, game, and fresh fish are very tasty and healthy indeed. Someday I will share some great Finnish recipes. However, there are some simple food items that I would like to talk about today. They are the ones that I rush to buy or request people to bring whenever they come to visit – they are my Finnish treats. Finnish treats are those foods that bring back memories and always give comfort.
Karjalanpiirakka (Karelian pasty) are traditional pasties from the region of Karelia. The crust is often made of rye or a mix of rye and wheat. The filling consists of rice. These can be bought in any supermarket, but the homemade ones are the tastiest kind, of course. The pasties can be eaten warm or cold, often with a mix of butter and egg. The pasties in the photo are probably not made in Karelia, as they are called riisipiirakka (rice pasty).
Finns love coffee and we are notorious for the amount of coffee that we drink. Hence it should not come as a surprise that we (at least some of us) are very fond of coffee yogurt. I don’t think that I’ve been to any country with as many options of yogurt than Finland. Welcome to dairy paradise!
We do not need to talk about that energy drink.
Varrasleipä is probably an interesting acquaintance for foreigners. Basically it’s very dry and very hard rye bread. Furthermore, it’s delicious with real butter and some cheese. Rye – as you may have figured out by now – is very popular in Finland and proper rye bread is one of the Finnish treats that I miss the most when abroad. Baltic, Russian, and Polish breads have sometimes been able to compensate. However, nothing tastes quite as good as my mother’s homemade bread straight out of the oven.
Kainuun leipäjuusto (bread cheese) with cloudberry jam. This mildly flavoured fresh cheese is known in the United States as Finnish squeaky cheese and it’s one of my favourite desserts (actually it doesn’t have to be a dessert). My mother knows this very well and usually there is some cheese waiting for me when I go to visit my parents.
Let’s be fair. Life for a Finnish expat living in Sweden is not all that difficult. Most of this stuff can be found in normal supermarkets (with the taste being almost right) and Finns in Stockholm can also enjoy the Finnish store in Hötorgshallen.