Kunal Majumdar

Do you know that Finns make almost a dozen of types of berry pies? Blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, cloudberry, strawberry...the list goes on. Berry picking is a national hobby in Finland. It’s even there in the law. All Finnish citizens have a right to pick berries and mushrooms in all forest lands irrespective of the ownership! It is not just the pies. They love their fresh berries with whipped cream and berry fillings in their sweet buns.

Finnish food is all about taste and aroma. It has a distinct flavour of the northern nature combined with pure natural raw ingredients. One would find an influence of both the east and the west. Rye bread, quark, sour cream, blins (similar to crepe), buckwheat and Finnish beetroot salad (rosolli) have an eastern origin while salted fish, meat balls and sweet bread come from the west. Just like its foreign policy, Finnish food is pragmatic and practical.

The early summer brings perch (type of fish), new potatoes and rhubarb. August is the time for mushrooms, crayfish, roasted wild duck and fresh vegetables and roots. In the autumn the hunters go after game and it is the time for reindeer round up.

Typical daily meals consist of meat balls, minced meat in sauce, meat loaf, macaroni casserole, steaks, and broiler in various forms. Rye bread and potato are a must have in the Finnish diet.

Finland is a coffee drinking nation. They drink coffee with breakfast, after lunch and dinner, during break and meetings. Finns just need an excuse to have their cup of coffee. The only other beverage that could give a competition to coffee is beer. Though there are a wide variety of alcoholic beverages available in Finland, it has traditionally been a beer-drinking country. Beer is often drunk at mealtimes and at saunas. Berries are also used for producing alcohol-containing beverages. Popular raw ingredients are currants (type of berry), strawberries, raspberries and cloudberries. They say the most popular word in Finland is kipis (cheers in Finnish).

Plenty for the five senses: Finnish food table

Golden taste: Arctic Char (fish) dish

Berry berry everywhere: Sorbet with berry sauce

Yummiest piece of fish: Smoked salmon

Kitis (cheers in Finnish): Strawberry juice