Finland, a Nordic nation renowned for its stunning landscapes, is rapidly gaining recognition among avid travelers and food enthusiasts alike. The country’s burgeoning gastronomic scene presents a harmonious blend of freshly sourced ingredients, traditional Finnish favorites, and contemporary twists on age-old recipes. From indulging in Michelin-starred dining experiences to embarking on forest foraging expeditions, Finland offers a delectable adventure for those seeking a taste of its unique culinary culture. Here’s a list of some of the country’s unmissable foodie activities…
The Ancient Helsinki Baltic Herring Festival
Taking place from the first Sunday of October to the following Saturday, the Helsinki Baltic Herring Festival stands as an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the distinctive fusion of wild and urban life that Helsinki embodies. Nestled at the heart of the city, the festival unfolds at the iconic Market Square, where local fishermen showcase their catches, and Finnish culinary traditions come alive, capturing the curiosity of discerning tourists. The event features captivating fair activities, including a race of traditional sailing ships and a herring filleting competition that showcases niche skills.
As one of Finland’s oldest enduring traditions, dating back to 1743, the Baltic Herring Festival’s roots run deep. The Market Square’s evolution into a cherished community hub intertwining archipelago customs with contemporary food culture adds a rich historical tapestry to the market’s allure. Visitors can expect an unforgettable experience brimming with joyous festivities and a fervent celebration of cultural heritage.
Event Details: The Helsinki Baltic Herring Festival takes place from October 1st to October 7th. For more information, please visit here.
Turku’s Gourmet Rise: Kaskis’ Michelin Star Cuisine
Turku, Finland’s oldest city, is rapidly ascending the ranks of Nordic culinary destinations. Turku’s distinctive gourmet identity has been nurtured by innovative culinary experiments with locally foraged treasures. At the forefront of this movement is Chef Erik Mansikka, whose restaurant Kaskis secured Finland’s first Michelin star outside of Helsinki. Mansikka’s menu is a testament to his love for regional ingredients, showcasing the bounty of the land and sea, from forest foraging to sea fishing. Dishes like cured rainbow trout with pickled rhubarb, local apple, turnip, and wild truffle, as well as Finnish caviar from native sturgeon, paint a flavorful portrait of the region.
Experience It: Indulge in the flavours of local Finnish ingredients with set menu prices starting from €69 per person. Explore more here.
Superfood Foraging in Finnish Nature
Foraging for superfoods becomes a delightful adventure during Finland’s Spring and Autumn harvest seasons. Rooted in the nation’s culture of fishing, hunting, and foraging, this practice has profoundly shaped modern Finnish lifestyles and cuisine. Embracing the concept of “Every man’s right”, which allows for the gathering of nearly anything from the forests, Finns explore the sprawling woodlands for edible treasures such as wild berries, mushrooms, and fresh herbs.
This emphasis on locally-sourced produce has translated to restaurant menus, with many establishments adopting seasonal and organic offerings. The Nolla Restaurant in Helsinki stands as a beacon of sustainability, crafting a bespoke menu based on the season’s bounty to minimize waste, a cornerstone of their innovative ‘zero-waste’ concept.
Get Involved: Wild Nordic Finland offers a 5-hour mushroom picking tour in the renowned Punkaharju Ridge Area, starting at €107. Learn more here.
Discover Finnish Wines: A Unique Arctic Twist
Finland’s emergence on the global wine scene is defined by its production of red, white, and sparkling wines crafted from Arctic berries like lingonberries, blueberries, and cloudberries. These aromatic fruits flourish during the intense northern summers, yielding truly distinctive Finnish wines.
For an unforgettable experience, Finland Naturally offers guided excursions such as ‘Wine In The Woods,’ a two-hour journey into the harmonious blend of wine and forest. Guests embark on a guided trail in Nuuksio National Park, followed by a 90-minute wine-tasting session with an expert sommelier, immersing themselves in the captivating flavours and aromas of Finnish wines.
Savour the Moment: Experience ‘Wine In the Woods’ with a two-hour exploration followed by al fresco dining for €118 per person. Learn more here.