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Finnish Foods I Miss

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Hola!

Every now and then I get really frustrated when I can’t buy certain Finnish food items in the supermarkets here. Even more so now when I’m pregnant for some reason. I also think the fact that my last visit to Finland (before our holiday last August) was as long as 8 months ago made me crave these foods even more than usual. So I made sure I stuffed my face during my visit, resulting in me missing them even more having just come back…:/ Hope it’ll pass soon!

So, to make myself crave my favourite Finnish food items even more, I’ve compiled a small list of some of the stuff I miss the most living in the UK. Naturally, the first one is proper rye bread as in the first picture. This is Finland’s most popular bread, and it’s not like the German rye bread. Matthew seems to prefer this bread when we visit, so it can’t be that bad! I really think it’s about time we start to export it to the UK, it’s healthy and so much tastier than toast!

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It’s not only that specific rye bread I long for, but the much bigger selection of different kinds of breads we have in Finland. And they’re all sooo nice! This one is also a rye bread with loads of seeds, and one of my absolute favourites.

Cottage cheese on a metallic spoon.

I ate tons of cottage cheese whilst in Finland, I think it’s great on a sandwich, in salads or pretty much with any food! The cottage cheese here is very thick and creamy and tastes a bit sour, whereas in Finland it’s light with a much rougher and more defined texture.

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A traditional Finnish speciality, oven cheese is a type of fresh cheese pressed into a flat disk and broiled on the surface until nicely browned. It’s great just as it is, but also a popular dessert that you serve hot with cloudberry jam. Needless to say, I ate lots of leipäjuusto too!

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I may be a bit weird, but I’ve been eating baby food as a snack for years…The fruity ones that is. And the ones you get here are just not as good, so since I moved here I’ve stopped eating them. But when I was in Finland I sneakily ate a few of my nephew’s jars…

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It doesn’t get much more Finnish than Karelian pasties. They’re made from a thin rye crust with a filling of rice, and you often spread butter mixed with boiled egg over the hot pasties before eating. Delicious! I’m yet to try to make these as they’re supposed to be quite tricky.

xylitol

Something I really miss and always bring back to Edinburgh with me is 100% xylitol chewing gum. The chewing gum you get here doesn’t have much or any xylitol in it, and can even contain sugar – not very good for the teeth. I bring at least 4 of these big bags every time I visit Finland.

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I miss “real” blueberries. By “real” I mean wild blueberries that grow in the forest and not the bush-grown huge blueberries you can buy in shops. I’m not saying they’re bad, but wild berries are sweeter and just taste more natural – but guess that’s just something I’ve gotten used to.

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We put salmiakki (salty liquorice) in many things, including chewing gum, chocolate, ice cream, alcohol, cakes etc. If you haven’t gotten used to the distinctive flavour since being little, chances are you will find it disgusting – but Finns love it!

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Luckily we do have a few Finnish foods available here in Edinburgh. Piimä, a kind of a fat-free buttermilk, is not topping my list of foods I miss, but I was glad to find a Polish version of it in Tesco that is quite close – Maslanka.

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Larger Sainsburys sell the crispbread above, imported from Finland.

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Another very traditional crispbread I found in Holland & Barrett the other day (a health & wellness store).

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Holland & Barrett also sell Finnish Panda liquorice – does this mean it’s a health food? =) In fact Sainsbury’s also sell a small Panda liquorice bar, and I think I’m probably the only one buying them…

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I made traditional cardamom/cinnamon buns last weekend when my cravings got the best of me. They turned out better than I expected, so will definitely be making them again!

I hope I don’t sound like I’m trying to put down British food, these are just things I’ve eaten all my life, and my taste buds grew up and got used to these tastes. Obviously there are foods here that I would miss if I moved away, but that would be another post!

Now I’m hungry! Time for some traditional (vegetarian) British Shepherd’s Pie =)

x Nina x

Nina Äikäs

I’m a Swedish-speaking Finn who left Finland for the lovely and thrilling London town in 2011, but after meeting an equally lovely and thrilling Scotsman I somehow now find myself in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. In February 2015 our gorgeous little girl arrived and made us a happy family of three. Follow my blog and get to know us!

  • shazzarob

    Intrigued by the oven cheese with cloudberry jam.Lots of foods I havn’t heard of there. We are going to Iceland in October.Have you been? Looking fwd to trying some of the Icelandic food.x

    September 11, 2014 at 10:49 pm Reply
    • ninaaikas

      Oh I love oven cheese, it doesn’t have a strong taste but texture is really nice (I’m a texture person). Haven’t been to Iceland, but would love to go – looking forward to your post about it (assuming there will be one) x

      September 12, 2014 at 11:29 am Reply
      • shazzarob

        I’m sure I will blog about it.:) x

        September 12, 2014 at 2:58 pm Reply
    • ninaaikas

      Thanks for the mention! 😀

      September 12, 2014 at 11:25 am Reply
  • Ellie

    Wow so many intriguing things I want to try now! Although you’re right, a blog post is needed about the best of British!

    September 13, 2014 at 12:21 am Reply
    • ninaaikas

      Glad you think they look intriguing! You’ll have to visit Finland one day 🙂

      September 15, 2014 at 9:19 am Reply
  • Mel_inHelsinki

    I’ve grown to love rye bread since moving to Finland – and those alku loaves! Funnily enough I felt like cottage cheese yesterday but have yet to acclimatise to the Finnish texture, it’s quite different isn’t it? As you say, it’s just what you’re used to. The foods I mention in my posts about what makes Finnish food unique are almost the same as those you miss!

    September 20, 2014 at 7:49 am Reply
    • ninaaikas

      I’ve tried cottage cheese here many times (even the different flavoured ones) but have given up now – never going to like it …:) I had a look at your food posts, and realised there are quite a few things I left out, such as sinappi, läkerol, lingonberries, mannapuuro and oltermanni cheese of course! And your blog makes me miss Helsinki too 🙂 Are there any specific foods you miss from NZ?

      September 20, 2014 at 10:52 am Reply
      • Mel_inHelsinki

        Now you mention it, I do miss L&P (drink); paua fritters; white, non-oily fish like snapper; green lipped mussels, malt vinegar, salt n vinegar chips with french onion dip and really good sushi at really cheap prices. ; ) But there’s plenty to like here, especially the berries and mushrooms right now. My main concern is putting on too many layers of ‘warmth’ (fat) over winter!

        September 20, 2014 at 11:48 am Reply
        • ninaaikas

          Well you need a few extra layers to get through the Finnish winter! 🙂

          September 20, 2014 at 11:08 pm Reply
  • annika b

    Your cinnamon buns look better than the ones in bakeries. There is something new on Finnish food market,something I’m totally crazy about: Reissumies Tositumma.you know it? Do you really eat mannapuro? I eat manna as a carb (paste) with African food.

    September 24, 2014 at 5:44 pm Reply
    • ninaaikas

      Thanks, they were pretty nice 🙂 Don’t think I’ve tried tosi tumma, but will do it next time I’m over! Don’t know if I’ve had mannapuuro since school, but have craved it for ages – but there aren’t any berry soups to go with it here 🙁

      September 24, 2014 at 6:17 pm Reply

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