Tag Archives: food

A few things about Finland

Cold, dark and lots of snow; these are the things that pop into most people’s heads when asked about Finland. To me, however, Finland has always been at its best during the summer. There are several jokes about the Finnish summer, like how short it is, but at least it doesn’t snow much, or how last year Finnish summer was on a Tuesday. Still, cold or warm, wet or dry, there’s nothing that compares to it, to me at least. Everyplace is green, and you can literally smell it in the air. Seriously, if you’ve ever wondered what the color green smells like, just come to Finland in the summer.

tampere kesä

 

Still, it is the light that has the biggest effect on people. Or that’s what I think anyway. See, most people remember Finland for how dark it is in the winter, but what they forget is how light it is in the summer. The sun just doesn’t seem to want to do down. It really is in the summer that the Finnish nature, and even more, the Finnish people, come alive. Or maybe that’s just me.

keskiyönaurinko

 

Despite the coldness of our winter – and sometimes the summer as well, there is one food that Finns enjoy more than any other country in Europe, and that’s ice cream. Even if you look at the whole world, we eat more ice cream per person than almost any country in the world, only Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders eat more. We eat approximately 12 liters of ice cream every year, and considering the ice cream “season” only lasts approximately from June to August that is a lot of ice cream to eat. Our ice cream consumption is only rivaled by our coffee consumption, where we are undisputed winners with 10kg per person per year. In Finland, ice cream and coffee are literally their own food groups and during the summer it feels like there isn’t a street corner where you can’t find a hot cup of coffee, and a cold ice cream cone.

vanilja_kenya

Finland is full of large forests and beautiful lakes, and many tourists come here to enjoy the gorgeous nature. Despite that, you shouldn’t ignore the city life in Finland. Our cities seem small to us compared to the metropolises of the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find things to do in Tampere or Helsinki. Finns, just like the rest of the world, are busy, city-dwelling people, not some mystic nation living in the forest, in igloos, communing with wild animals. That isn’t to say we don’t enjoy our beautiful nature and everything it has to offer but sometimes ordering takeout home without having to leave your couch is just as enjoyable.

helsinki

3 things to love about Finland

Delicious food

There are many great foods in Finland. Most of the people are totally in love rye bread, which is not just healthy for you but is a Finnish super food too. Other delicious foods are for example smoked salmon with potatoes with a side of fresh salad from your own garden. One of the most famous treats are Fazer’s chocolates which are popular abroad as well.

RUISLEIPÄ

Cottage life by the lake

Finland is know for its many lakes and about 10% of Finland’s surface area is covered with water. Therefore, lakes are a huge part of our nature. The other thing thta is really common in Finland are the summer cottages. Almost every Finn loves to go to the country side in the summer time and some cottages can be used in the winter time as well. Spending time at the cottages has become a tradition and a trend. The cottage boom began when people moved after their jobs to the cities, but they didn’t want to spend all of their freetime in the city. Finns are nature lovin’ people and what could be better way to explore the nature than enjoy the day in the lake house.

KESÄMÖKKI

Finnish design

The country is know for other things too besides food and nature, it is known for modern yet classic design pieces. You may have heard of Artek, Iittala and Woodnotes. They have at least one thing in common, which is quality. Finns value quality and good desing, which in fact is combined in these brands. They are all unique and known for their designs, people recognize them easily and they are classic symbols to the Finnish design. The designed furnitures tend to be minimalistic and they remain classic throughout the years and for this reason they can be combined easily with other furnitures and different styles.

ARTEK

What are Finns like?

Most of the people, even Finns, think that we are a introvert population. But really we are kind, hospitable, we enjoy other peoples company and laugh together.  http://www.visitfinland.com/article/what-are-the-finns-like/

But also, every now and then, we Finns need our own space and some alone-time. We might be shy people who don’t like or know how to “small talk”, at least some of us. I think the Finnish Nightmares -comic sums up the finnish mentality pretty accurately.  http://finnishnightmares.blogspot.fi/

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One thing is for sure that Finns love our home country and we are very proud of it. For example, the main thing we are proud of is nature. We have four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter (at least we used to have (thanks to global warming)).. http://www.visitfinland.com/article/greatest-things-about-finland/

And then there is the finnish traditional food, many different options, so good! http://www.visitfinland.com/article/iconic-finnish-foods-of-all-time/ Looks delicious, doesn’t it?!

One more thing I believe everyone links to Finland is the sauna. Ask any Finn, one best thing’s we know in Finland is a warm and bright summernight, calm lake, a cold beer or a soda and a warm sauna. And talking about shyness, for Finns being naked side by side each other in the sauna is a very normal thing, meanwhile for foreigners that might be the weirdest thing ever.

kesäyö

My thoughts about Finnishness

Finnishness is something that I’m proud of. Finns are often seen as a silent and even rude people but underneath there is a loving and polite nation. I like learning about the other cultures and travelling to see the breathtakingly beautiful places around the world but what I really love is coming home.

It is hard to tell people abroad what is Finnishness. You have to travel to Finland to see and feel it yourself. But there is something I can tell you about us and Finland.

Nature and climate

When I think Finland, the first thing that pop up to my mind is nature. Obviously. Nature here is just so beautiful. Finns like to go out and enjoy the nature. In summer we swim in thousands of our lakes and pick berries and in winter time we ski to ice fishing.

Finland is a country that should be seen around a year. Seasons stand out here in an extraordinary way. The temperature varies from the summer + 35 degrees celsius to winter – 40 degrees. Myself I love Finnish summer but unfortunately it’s quite short if you compare it to the cold and dark winter. So if you travel to Finland, make sure you have enough clothes with you but pack also pair of shorts in case of warm days. And don’t forget to take an umbrella, there is about 200 rainy days per a year!

Kuvat marian koneelta 538Kuvat marian koneelta 010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food

What comes to food, Finns are extremely practical. On weekdays we like to cook a huge amount of food and eat it fast after work. If you want to cook for a Finn for example a macaroni casserole is often a good idea. Except if your  dinner date is a vegetarian which is quite common nowadays in Finland also.

But of course we can enjoy too. If you want to taste some Finnish goodies, I would recommend to try chocolate and especially Fazer Milk Chocolate. Another very traditional delicious dessert is a blueberry pie. What could be more Finnish than dress up a wind suit, go to a forest pick some berries and bake a pie (and of course go to sauna after eating).

fazermustikkapiirakka

 

Holidays

Finnish loves holidays. Particularly Christmas and Midsummer have a special place in our hearts.  In every year we want to eat a Christmas ham and see the white snow  covering the ground. Unfortunately, we often get just the first one and the snow comes in January. In Midsummer you can see how the cities settle down while people pack their goods and travel to their summer cottages to celebrate the midnight sun. Traditionally people gather to watch a Midsummer bonfire.

joulukuusijuhannuskuva

Sauna

At the end, you can’t tell about Finland without telling about sauna. Okay to be honest, not even all Finns like to have a sauna but still that is one of the most tradtional thing in Finland. I advise even to try it. If possible, the best sauna experience is in a wood-headed sauna by the lake. But if that is not at hand, an electric sauna in an apartment building is also a good option. Just make sure that you share that experience with a Finn and have a good time!

sauna

Something about Finnishness

Finnishness is a combination of many characteristics and stereotypes. These are my opinions about Finnishness and I am proud to introduce myself as a Finn and also tell people about these characteristics when I’m travelling.

Finns are punctual and honest people especially when it comes to business life. People arrive to a business meeting 5 to 10 minutes beforehand and if something is agreed you can trust that the Finnish business partner keeps his word. Don’t be hurt if a Finn address you with your first name since that is the common way to address even strangers. In business life you might call your manager with his/her first name and that is totally normal.  You might also want to know that Finns don’t brag about themselves and usually success should be kept to yourself because otherwise someone might feel bad or even jealous.

People really appreciate their personal space and you should remember this because otherwise a Finn might feel uncomfortable. Using a public transportation is a good example. You shouldn’t stand too close to the person next to you at the bus stop and also everyone likes to have the seat next to them free if there only is still room in the bus. Oh, and small talk is sometimes difficult for Finns so you can try to speak about the weather if the person next to you doesn’t look to indifferent and is willing to continue the conversation. It’s funny how this personal space and inability for small talk doesn’t apply in sauna. Finns turn out really social in sauna and I don’t really know the reason for this.

FinnishNIghtmares4

Finnish nature is clean and really one of a kind because its four seasons. In the fall season you might be delighted with all the fall colors that you can see in the leaves and also in the ground. In my opinion Finns hibernate during winter because people usually stay at home when it’s cold, snowing and dark outside. On the other hand, this is the best time to play ice hockey which seems to be the Finnish national sport. Spring is the second best season because you can see more and more light and you can go outside without freezing. But Finnish summer is the best, people are more positive and they’re spending their leisure time outside for example in their summer cottages or at festivals.

Finnish food is something really special. We seem to love salty liquorice and rye bread. These are the foods I usually miss when I’m travelling.  If you don’t want to shock your foreign quests I would say tasting Karelian pasty with egg butter might be a good start exploring Finnish cuisine rather than make them taste for example Mämmi. Mämmi is rye pudding and people usually eat it with cream and sugar.

mämmi