The life of a chef can be equal parts grind and grand. Years are spent perfecting their craft and a large part of that learning process includes experiencing new food cultures whenever the opportunity arises. For celebrity chef Ranveer Brar, the story is the same, and he’s set off on an adventure into the wilds of Finland to explore the secrets of Scandinavian cuisine. 

Voted the happiest country in the world, Finland’s food is a reflection of its connection with nature. The harsh climate made people very conscious of the foods they grew and how to make use of even the unlikeliest of crops to sustain themselves. Crop cycles are set by the weather, meaning many local products are only available for a limited amount of time and seasonality is a huge part of Finnish diets.

There are however a few staples that feature on every Finnish menu and are truly the essence of the country. Get to know a few of Finland’s most famous dishes below.

Also Read: Indians Practice Seasonal Eating

Salmiakki

Completely different to the liquorice sweets you usually find on the shelves, this black candy is flavoured with ammonium chloride to give it a strong, salty kick. It’s an acquired taste for sure but it’s one of the most beloved flavours in Finland. 

Aside from the straightforward candies, you can find Salmiakki in ice creams, chocolates, fudge and even vodka. So if you’re looking to throw your tastebuds in at the deep end of Finnish gastronomy, here’s a great place to start. 

Rye Bread

When in 2017 it was named the national food of Finland, Rye Bread’s status was truly cemented in the country’s gastronomic line-up. Eaten with breakfast, lunch or dinner ruisleipä is truly an inseparable part of Finnish cuisine. 

Made from sourdough and high in fibre this slightly chewy bread can be served with any toppings, sweet or savoury but is best enjoyed with just a touch of butter and a hunk of cheese.

Karelian Pie

Originally from Karelia in the eastern part of the country which is now a part of Russia, this pastry is made from rye and filled with thick rice porridge. Also known as karjalanpiirakka it’s a popular savoury snack to refuel through the day.

It’s most commonly eaten with munavoi, a spread made out of chopped hard-boiled eggs and butter but can also be filled with vegetables or potato mash.

Pickled Herring and Potatoes

Known locally as Uudet perunat ja silli this dish is usually served during the summer seasons (June-August) when there’s an abundance of fresh produce. The dish is traditionally made with spring potatoes which are smaller and sweeter than regular potatoes.

The pickled herring is another Scandinavian staple and in Finland, they temper the strong flavours with dill, rye bread and butter and it’s usually served as a main course rather than an appetiser.