Delicacies of Finland — Artisan Food and Craft Beers Come To Helsinki
This month, Finland’s rich food heritage and diverse regional produce are on display in the capital city, as Helsinki hosts the 5th annual ‘Delicacies of Finland’ (Herkkujen Suomi) festival in Rautatientori Square next to the central railway station, from 20th — 22nd August.
From Lapland to Åland, small and medium sized producers will showcase their fresh ingredients, innovative concoctions and locally-made foods. The Delicacies of Finland festival gives farmers and businesses the chance to bring specialist products from their own towns or regions and put it on display in Helsinki for a wider national and international audience.
Tastings and Cooking Demos
Around 100 local companies from all across Finland will have their products on display at the event, with more than 50,000 people expected to attend, including many tourists who discover the event each year. But what can visitors expect at Rautatientori? Of course there’s many chances to taste the food at different stalls, and live cooking demonstrations, but that’s just a part of the festival experience.
“The basic idea is to combine food from different regions of Finland — we sell portions and there are free small tastings” explains Hartikainen. “You can enjoy the taste and smells in the square. You can get catering that you don’t normally find in Helsinki, and you can be sure that this is authentic food produced in Finland”.
There’s also the chance for tourists to buy Finnish souvenirs, and learn how food is produced in different parts of the country.
Traditional Products, New Products
The wide variety of farmers, producers and products on display at Delicacies of Finland means there is real diversity in the sorts of food you will see. There are certainly traditional products like the savoury Karelian pastries karjalanpiirakka (stuffed with rice and served with warm egg butter); or fish bread called kalakukko from Savo region. But there are also some unexpected products that might be unfamiliar to visitors. One company from south west Finland will bring its range of hemp products to the festival, with hemp flour, oil and ‘hemp superfood’ snacks on sale. Another farmer is growing roses and making jelly from rose petals, which he is already exporting internationally, and which will be available to taste at the event.
There will also be twists on traditional products: like the Argentinian-style sausages made purely from Finnish meat. Or the rye bread from North Karelia region spiced up with chili. Producers are finding innovative ways to fuse wholesome, natural Finnish ingredients.
Alongside the main food festival, you can find a variety of the best Finnish beers at the Syystober Beer Festival. Last year there were more than 40 different beers from mainly smaller breweries. The Syystober beer tent is open late every night, and hosts live music with Finnish artists to add to the atmosphere.
A connoisseur of Finnish produce, Klaus Hartikainen already knows what he wants to sample at the festival. “I like many different foods but I have a weakness for cheese and ice cream” he says. “There are two ice creams coming from farms using farm milk, and there are also smaller cheese producers taking milk from local farms. Usually these products are very good and I would recommend anyone to try them”.
If you’re attending Delicacies of Finland and the Systober Beer Festival, look out for these producers and see what they have to sample or purchase:
- Finns love ice cream, so farmhouse-produced ice cream from Finnish cows in North Karelian should be something very tasty to try and Vuonoksen Jäätelö will be at the festival. is available at the festival.
- Many Finns include rye in their daily diet — with rye bread being very popular. But a company from Central Ostrobothnia region is producing tasty, healthy. low-fat Ruislandia rye chips. They come in different flavours, but why not try the smoked venison version for unique twist on a traditional Finnish grain.
- In central Helsinki — between the Market Square and Senate Square — you’ll find Bryggeri, a small local brewery. Try their Pils and Weizen beers, and if you get hungry, then they also serve food using Finnish ingredients.
- You can find reindeer meat from Lapland at the festival. One family-run company, Lapin Kaamosliha, has a range of gourmet meats like venison, wild boar, bear and beef, as well as reindeer.
- Sample artisan cheese from a farmhouse in the small rural town of Leivonmäki in central Finland. Jukolan Juusto produces cheddar cheese that is soft, rich and creamy, and of course made with Finnish milk.
- There will be several Finnish honey producers involved in the event, like organic Lammun Lumo from North Karelia, where the bees collect pollen from wild raspberry, fireweed and other forest and meadow flowers; and Huhtasrinne from the small town of Askola in southern Finland where they make a range of flavoured honeys like bilberry, salmiakki licorice and chili.