Cultured Palate: Dishes from Finland


Another traditional Finnish fish dish, hailing from the Savonia region, is kalakukko – a dish made with succulent chunks of fish covered in bread to make a gigantic pastry. Finns enjoy this dish because it allows them to carry a complete lunch in one container — no need for side dishes! The best place to get excellent kalakukko is in Kuopio, the capital city of Savonia, where there are tons of bakeries specializing in kalakukko, as well as a yearly kalakukko bake off!

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Reindeer are mostly found in the northern part of Finland. The indigenous Sami people of Lapland keep reindeer as herd animals. Today, 10% of Sami people rely on reindeer to make their living. Their traditions have been adopted by many Finns, who enjoy eating reindeer meat in multiple ways. It can be sautéed and served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam, or smoked and dried to make a long-lasting reindeer jerky.

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In the height of summer, when it’s light for the majority of the day in Finland, there’s nothing more satisfying than a cookout with family and friends. In Finland, the dish of choice for the best summer cookouts is grillimakkara, juicy sausages that taste best when grilled over a fire and served with plenty of mustard and cold beer. Fortunately for Finns, who have to suffer through long, gruelling winters that most of us can’t even imagine, these sausages taste just as good in the winter cooked over a bonfire.

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