The delicious food culture of Finland comes from both eastern and western sources of influence. Since the Middle Ages, many novelties from Sweden (the west) and Novgorod (the east) have come to Finland bringing new inspiration. The cold buffet of Finland has been inspired by both the Russian zakuska table and the Swedish smörgasbord.
Nowadays, Finland takes it’s ideas and inspiration from foods all over the world and then combines the ideas to develop an original and unique Finnish cuisine. The excellence of the head chefs and their professional success can be acknowledged by the fact that six Michelin stars have been given to four restaurants in Helsinki.
Wild berries, mushrooms, game, and fish form the gastronomic culture of Finland and the different seasons play their part as well. Burbot roe and blinis at Shrovetide, roast lamb and a pudding created from malt and rye flour at Easter time, herring and potatoes during Midsummer, games in Autumn, crayfish in August, ham at Christmas, and burbot stew at winter time. These dishes are known to taste much better when they are eaten at the perfect time of the year.
Fresh fish can be found in Finland all year long and it can be prepared in a number of ways. In Nordic kitchen Finnish restaurants, freshwater pikeperch and zander are used in a number of their dishes. Steamed zander with smoked perch, spinach, and pumpkin flower stuffed with salmon and Baltic herrings layered on lettuce with classy French white wine are some of the tastiest Scandinavian food delicacies!
Wildfowl, elk, and reindeer are also some of the most appreciated foods of Finland. Reindeer hash is one of the most popular reindeer dishes accompanied with cold beer or French red wine. Modern Scandinavian kitchens serve tasty elk filets stuffed with goat cheddar cheese, apricots, and spinach flavoured with balsamic syrup and Soignon goat cheese. Elk sauce, baby fenugreeks, Portabella mushrooms, and sweet potato are served with the filet.
Nordic cooking is very popular in Finland and when visiting, you will find that wild mushrooms are very popular among Finnish people as they go great with fish and meat. Mushrooms are also used in stews and soups. A nice chanterelle salad with grilled whitefish, berry tarts and crayfish sauce make a delicious summer meal. In eastern Finland, milkcaps, russulas, and other edible fungi are very popular whereas only chanterelles and ceps are eaten in western Finland.
Bilberries, lingonberries, strawberries, cloudberries, cranberries, arctic brambleberries, and sea buckthorn go great with ice cream, parfaits, and cold puddings. Finnish berries also make tasty garnishes for game and meat food items. Frozen redcurrants with delicious hot butterscotch sauce make a wonderful desert to follow up the main course of Nordic reindeer meat.
The Finnish foodie culture also consists of crayfish parties on late summer evenings – just like in Sweden. Crayfish was the big thing in the old days and these gatherings attained a climax when chilled and boiled crayfish with chilled bottles of schnapps were brought to the table. Ever since those times, crayfish parties have changed. Nowadays, the crayfish is eaten in the form of a delightful starter, followed by a tasty main course meal of fowl, and juicy wild berries for dessert! Crayfish tails and butter are used in Scandinavian kitchens as one of the best healthy dinner recipes all year long to bring wonderful cuisine choices for the people to select from.