A taste of Finland – The newest Nordic food hotspots
Credits: Finland Naturally
Press release, Helsinki, 27 September 2022
Award-winning culinary experiences bring together pure, natural ingredients from forest to field, sea to lake in unforgettable Finnish settings from the city to the wilds.
Credits: Finland Naturally
When the BBC dubbed Finland’s ancient capital of Turku “a Nordic food hotspot,” it confirmed what culinary insiders have long known – there’s a delicious scene cooking throughout Finland centered on fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients served up with a unique twist.
Here are 8 foodie experiences, with something for every taste, that will leave you well-sated, and with a stock of gorgeous photos.
Hotel Punkaharju, Punkaharju
A touch of Finnish luxury: Jazzy truffle hunting weekend Embark on a journey into the secret world of truffles in Punkaharju, named one of the top 50 awe-inspiring natural wonders for your bucket list by CNN Travel. At the stylish Hotel Punkaharju, run by model, entrepreneur, and mushroom forager extraordinaire Saimi Hoyer, guests are guided through a truffle-themed weekend with expert foraging guides Kirsi Saloniemi and Maarit Liukolampi, who take guests into the forests with truffle-hunting Lagotto dogs. Live jazz by top Finnish musicians Mikko “Gunu” Karjalainen, Verneri Pohjola, and Ville Herrala rounds out the weekend, which culminates in a multi-course truffle dinner created by chef Mikko Lahtinen, where both domestic and foreign versions of the gourmet underground mushroom are served up.
October 15-16, 2022
Credits: Hotel Punkaharju
Magical Pond, Ruka-Kuusamo
Polar night nights: Dine under the stars and the Aurora Borealis
Tucked into the Magical Pond igloo village near the popular ski and nature resort Ruka-Kuusamo, Kataja (“juniper” in Finnish) restaurant is slated to open this December. The much-awaited eatery will serve exquisite three-course dinners, accompanied by fine wines and Arctic cocktails, with special menus for Christmas and New Year’s. Kataja’s unique location and glassy modern igloos offer a clear view of nature’s most fantastic light show, the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, as they dance across the sky in Lapland.
In Turku, the food capital of Finland by the coast, chef Erik Mansikka recently earned Finland's first Michelin star outside Helsinki for his excellent culinary creations at Kaskis restaurant. Mansikka’s loveof local ingredients shines through on his menu, with dishes celebrating every aspect of the region’s bounty from foraging in the forests to fishing in the sea. Delicious dishes include cured rainbow trout with pickled rhubarb, turnip, local apple, and wild truffle from the nearby island of Ruissalo, and Finnish caviar gathered from sturgeon in the archipelago.
Turku, once the capital of Finland, was formerly a trading gateway to the world, and Turku Archipelago is the world’s largest archipelago, where about 40,000 islands stretch across the Gulf of Bothnia towards Sweden.
Credits: Kaskis Restaurant
Blueberry pie baking in Nuuksio National Park, Espoo
Culinary Zen: Forest baking
Finnish forests are bursting with pure, edible ingredients such as blueberries, the perfect addition to many a dish from salads to sauces and scrumptious desserts. Close to Helsinki, Nuuksio National Park is a local favorite for outdoor enthusiasts, with one of the popular activities being picking blueberries to make a pie. On a Finland Naturally tour, a guide will take you into the woods of Nuuksio to pick Finnish blueberries, which brim with health benefits and grow abundantly in the forests during autumn. After you’ve gathered enough blueberries, you’ll be guided to a cottage where a pie crust is ready, waiting for your blueberries. When your freshly-baked pie comes out of the oven, you can enjoy a slice or two with your tea or coffee break the traditional Finnish way – with a hot beverage made over an open fire
Credits: Harri Tarvainen
Wine in the woods of Nuuksio National Park, Espoo
Drinks Zen: Wine bar in the forest
For those who prefer to leave the baking to others and just take it easy, Finland Naturally offers a Wine in the Woods expedition in Nuuksio National Park close to Helsinki. After a short forest walk, as the senses become attuned to the lush natural surroundings, the group is taken to an al fresco dining area, a wine bar in the middle of the woods. Here, the tastes and smells of drink and forest come alive through the stories told by guides. The two-hour exploration offers an entirely new type of journey.
In the magical atmosphere of Lapland’s Arctic Circle in Santa Claus Village, Kota Restaurant has a magical ambiance of a traditional kota (“hut”) shelter with a fireplace. Try the signature dish, mouth-watering glow-fried salmon, prepared the traditional Finnish way, or delicious traditional salmon soup. For something cooler, at the nearby legendary Ice Restaurant – made of ice – guests can warm up with local cuisine ranging from creamy forest mushroom soup to mouth-watering roast elk with carrot purée, or braised Arctic Ocean salmon with cauliflower purée and crayfish sauce during winter.
At guesthouse Puukarin Pysäkki in Northern Karelia, the focus is on well-being at this dream destination for a recharging and restorative break in the woods. After a day spent outdoors, enjoy Puukarin Pysäkki’s Karelian à la carte cuisine at the onsite 3-star organic restaurant with delicacies including homemade traditional rye bread. Puukari’s menu highlights Mother Nature’s gifts: game, fish, berries, roots, mushrooms, and herbs, with a focus on minimizing food waste and respecting all forms of life. At the heart of this kitchen lies the oven, where melt-in-your-mouth organic bread, pies, and casseroles are baked and served to accompany delicious dishes such as vendace from the local lake and lamb cooked in a smoke sauna.
Credits: Puukarin Pysäkki
Bob’s Laundry, Helsinki
My Beautiful Laundrette: Helsinki’s hippest new bar
Nestled into the heart of Helsinki’s trendy Punavuori neighborhood, Bob’s Laundry serves up food, beer, wine, and taptails (handcrafted premium cocktails served fresh) with cheeky names such as “Peach, Please Do My Laundry” in a super Instagrammable setting complete with washing machines and loads of space for hanging out.
Finnish culinary stars on the global scene
At the 2022 Global Culinary Travel Awards, given out by the World Food Travel Association, two Finland-based businesses were recognized for excellence and innovation in culinary products and experiences for travelers. HaliPuu, Campfire Barista coffee by an open fire, took first place in the Best Focus on Wine & Beverages in Culinary Travel, while Heather’s Helsinki walking food tours was a runner up in the Best Celebration of Culinary Culture in Culinary Travel.
Visit Finland, a unit of Business Finland, is a national authority on tourism and an active force in promoting international travel to Finland. Its main goal is to develop Finland’s international image as a destination. Visit Finland supports the travel industry through research and helps businesses and groups develop products and services for the international market. For more information, please visit www.visitfinland.com.