Salty liquorice – salmiakki – is liquorice with ammonium chloride added to give it its saltiness. It’s a common sweet in the Baltic countries and a loved treat in Finland. It’s not very known worldwide and most who know of it don’t care for it.
A hundred different types of salty liquorice are available from fish and bananas to pipes to alcoholic drinks to ice cream and chocolate and the list goes on. There is a kind of salted liquorice for everyone, from salt-soaked to sugar-coated, chewy to crunchy, spicy to mild, soft to hard and so on. The uniqueness comes from when the saltiness and sweetness cross each other creating a moment where the two sensations are mixed.
The Finns enjoy making foreigners taste salty liquorice. The reactions go from firstly claiming that it’s not even that bad to spitting out to candy in disgust and horror once they get to the centre and the saltiness kicks in. Someone once described the feeling as if somebody had sandpapered their tongue and then poured salt on top.
Salted liquorice is still worth a try and because of variety you’re bound to find at least one type that you’re able to stomach. And if not it’s good for pulling pranks on unsuspecting foreigners. But don’t judge it before you’ve tried it!
by Kaisa Karimäki, degree student in Environmental Engineering
Most of us Finns have grown up with Moomins. They were the popular cartoons that we all watched every night and they still have a big affect in our adult lives. I among many, have a vast collection of Moomin products.
Moomins were created by Tove Jannson, a very talented Finland-Swedish writer and artist, who was born in Helsinki. She wrote the Moomins originally in Swedish. The Moomins were not originally designed only for children but later on came one of the most popular cartoons for kids.
The Moomins still appear to be a part of many Finnish homes as part of the tableware, cute vases and tin cans or as bed sheets. Most Finns have had their favorite Moomin since they were little; mine was definitely Pikku Myy! Many families still go to visit Muumimaailma (Moomin world) in Naantali.
by Anna-Maija Mattila, degree student in Environmental Engineering
Yksinkertaista ja hyvää! = Simple and tasty!
All Finns know the rye bread. It’s like a basic thing and it is said to be really healthy. Many love it. But also some can not tolerate it. Or their stomach could not, as it may cause bloating etc. for those with sensitive stomach.
You could introduce yourself to this common celebrity with a simple recipe, just fresh rye bread, butter and cheese. It is very simple but absolutely good! And I really mean fresh bread. Then the taste is the best.
Many rye versions of products are made here in Finland, like nachos and pasta. One tasty and easy to get option could be an instant rye flake lingonberry porridge. The taste is a bit stronger than usual oat one but sugar and lingonberry complete it nicely. Just add boiling water!
Organic (=luomu) rye(=ruis) flour (=jauho) for baking and instant (=pika-) porridge (=puuro).
If you really got interested in rye products there are also a lot of traditional Finnish food made of it. Here few examples:
• kalakukko (big rye bread filled with fish)
• karjalanpiirakka (flat rye “bread” filled with rice)
• mämmi (Easter food)
Growing up in Finland in the 90’s there are some definite things that define one’s childhood: getting your tongue stuck in metal in winter, swimming in lake or sea during the summer, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls… and the Moomin cartoon.
Moomin’s (Muumit) are creations of Tove Jansson, a Finnish author. Her books about Moomins and their life were already popular and well known before the 90’s but on that decade something else happened.
In 1991 a Japanese animation studio in cooperation with YLE released a show called Tanoshii Moomin Ikka, in Finnish dub Muumilaakson tarinoita. It became a huge success in Japan (I mean, a HUGE) and a year later when the Finnish dub was finished it became a phenomenon in Finland too. It is a show that lives in cultural contiones, we quote lines from it sometimes not even knowing that, everyone from toddler to granny has seen every episode at least once. Since its first airing in television in 1992 the show has been rerunning almost non-stop to this day and it is one of the most well-known things about Finland abroad.
I can talk about the show for days, it’s really, REALLY good and influenced most of our childhood. I don’t even know anyone who doesn’t like the show! I highly recommend you to look up the show (or/and the books) if you manage to find them. The Finnish dub hasn’t got any subtitles anywhere so if you want to learn Finnish with them, you must have a decent knowledge of the language already.
Luckily, I have made a little help for you. As an Autumn project I subtitled the feature film related to the show. It is called Muumipeikko ja Pyrstötähti (Moomin and the Comet) and it acts as a prequel to the show. It is one of my favorite films and so it is to many others. If you want to learn the language of the into the culture, this is a good place to start.