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Finland Food and Drink

As you might suspect for a nation dominated by water, seafood plays an essential role in Finnish cuisine. Salmon, herring and other fish are cooked fresh or served smoked and pickled in cold courses. Meat comes in various forms, including the ubiquitous meatballs and HK Sininen Lenkki sausage.

Reindeer, elk and bear meat are served as delicacies. In summer and autumn, look out for tender new potatoes, fresh fish, fresh peas, wild mushrooms and a fabulous assortment of wild berries, which are often used in jellies and preserves.

Finns drink more coffee than anyone else in the world and kahvilat (cafes, singular kahvila) are found in every village and town square. They’re also partial to beer. And vodka. And wine.

Specialities


  • Skärgårslimpa: Rye bread loaf sweetened with molasses, a speciality of the archipelago region.

  • Karjalanpiirakka: A savoury pastry from Karelia, stuffed with rice pudding and eaten with egg butter.

  • Lihapullat: Beef and egg meatballs, traditionally served with lingonberries and gherkins.

  • Poronkäristys: Sautéed reindeer eaten by the Sámi.


  • Pullat: Sweet cardamom-flavoured buns – a traditional accompaniment to coffee.

  • 
Leipäjuusto: Cow’s milk cheese, oven-baked or fried leaving it brown on the outside with a squeaky interior. Traditionally eaten with cloudberry jam.

  • Viili: A type of soured milk, eaten like yoghurt.

  • Silakat: Breaded fried herring seasoned with salt.

  • Perunarieska: A flatbread made from potato, often served with gravlax.

  • Lakka: Cloudberries, native to Lapland. They look like yellow or orange raspberries and have a unique flavour. Cloudberries cannot be cultivated and therefore are picked by hand in the wild.

  • Koskenkorva: Commonly referred to as Kossu. A clear, distilled grain spirit usually served ice-cold and straight up.


  • Berry liqueurs: Try mesimarja (arctic bramble), lakka (cloudberry) and mustikka (bilberry).

Things to know

Waiter service is common in restaurants. Bars and cafes are usually counter service. Alcohol is served until half an hour before the restaurant closes.

Tipping

A service charge may be added in restaurants. Tipping is otherwise not expected, but appreciated.

Drinking age

18 years; 20 for anything over 22%.

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