Towards the horizon

Ylä-Karjalassa harjoittelijana oleva Matthias Bellgardt kertoo arjestaan Suomessa. Matthias on Suomessa pääsiäiseen saakka Hyvärilän Horisontti-hankkeen kautta.

Finnish Food


To get the full Finnish experience, I had to try their food. In my researches, I haven’t found really outstanding or exotic food items, something like the Swedish surströmming or other. Some of the dishes are quite a bit similar to German food. Nonetheless I was curious.

At Hyvärilä, where I currently live, I met the first time with the Finnish cuisine. I tasted a Karelian pasty called karjalanpiirakka. I ate it with nothing on it and it tasted kind of dry. Later I saw, how some Finns put butter and scrambled eggs on it. I tried that too and it tasted a bit better, but I’m not convinced yet. Maybe I should try them warm.

A similarity with German cuisine here is, they both use a lot of potatoes on any occasion. There are some new dishes to me, but in the end potatoes taste like potatoes.
One time at lunch I ate some kind of goulash. I couldn’t taste what kind of meat was in there. It surely wasn’t pork or beef. I think it was the first time I ate some reindeer meat. I like it. I hope in the future I can try reindeer meat in other dishes.
The fish here is also really good. The salmon here seems naturally pink and not artificially coloured like in Germany. It also tastes better.

Another thing I noticed, was that the Finns love coffee and milk. At every meal and in between they drink a cup of coffee or a glass of milk or both. A behaviour I soon imitated. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Back home I am more of a tea drinker. I come from a region called East Frisia (Ostfriesland), where a special tea culture with its own tea mixture exists. If it were a country, it would have the highest tea consumption per capita in the world (300 litres per year). I took some of this tea as an iron ration with me. Heimat in a cup.

The pretzels (viipurinrinkeli) here tastes kind of funny for me. They are sweet with some spices in it. Yet I had only one piece, so I can’t decide, what to think of them. In Germany we have many sorts of pretzels, but the most common one is made of lye dough with salt on it. Some variations have been scalloped with cheese and/or bacon. I can’t complain about the bread, even if it has not the variety like in Germany. I still do miss a slice of black bread with tilsit cheese.

I would like to try out more of the traditional Finnish or Karelian cuisine. I heard some mixed reception from locals about it, but I want to form my own opinion. At the moment I don’t know where to look, but I will keep an eye out for it. Even if I like only one or two dishes in the end, it will be worth it.

If that’s not working, I can fall back on pizza.



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