Tag Archives: Food

My life in Finland

by Maria Mikhaylova, degree student in Media

Dark landscape: a couple of trees in the foreground , then water and city lights in the background

City lights between two lakes

Adapting to my new life in Finland wasn’t too difficult for me for many reasons. First of all, I am used to darkness and cold during winter time, as for I am from Russia and we have exactly the same climate. So I probably don’t suffer from it as much as my classmates who came from warmer countries. What I noticed here is that finns are complaining about it more than we do in Russia, and many people that I met are dreaming to move to some warmer place at least for winters. Maybe I’m the weirdest person on earth, but I really love winter more than summer and I find it a very inspiring and beautiful season. And yes, I also enjoy the darkness (but not in the mornings, it feels so bad to get up when it’s dark outside).

Mainly blue and red sky, in the lower part two leafless trees.

What makes Finns so humble?

I really like that finns appreciate people’s private space. I am an introvert, and I felt really uncomfortable when, for example, random people would start talking to me in public transport. Especially annoying it is during a long-distance train trip. People somehow feel that they SHOULD start a conversation, otherwise they’re not polite. In Finland it’s vice versa. It is polite to be silent and not to bother a person with your presence. I can say that I really enjoy it!

I also appreciate that Finnish people are very humble, never brag and maybe are a bit shy. From my perspective it is a sign of good upbringing and valuable qualities in a person. And also if you break this wall of shyness and coolness (of course it should happen without pressure) you will find out that they are very nice, honest and quite easy-going people. They can even joke 🙂 My experience in meeting Finnish people is only positive.

A basket filled with mushrooms.

Treasures from fresh nature!

Also what I think is great, is that people are helpful, in small and in global things. I used to stop people in the streets to ask the road quite many times when I was here as a tourist and had no internet on my phone. Every time the person would stop and start explaining me in details how to get to the place, no matter what gender or age he or she was. Once I saw how a person fell down on the railway station just while running to a leaving train. The machinist stopped the train, and all the people who were around helped this man to get up and made sure he was alright (it took about 5 minutes or maybe even more), then helped him to get on the train. For me it is a wonderful example of a well organized society where people take care of each other.

It’s time to find delicates in forests!

by Iiro Jalava, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A bunch of funnel chantarelles growing in a forest

They just can’t be resisted!

In Finland we have a thing called everyman’s right. It gives you freedom to wander in wilderness regardless of the person or organization owning the lands for example. Only prohibited things are entering in the direct closeness of personal yards or entering specifically prohibited areas. So now we have this great freedom, what can we do with it?!

I take and advantage of this privilege every autumn and head with my family (inc. persons and dogs) into the woods. In forest I try to collect mushrooms called Suppilovahvero. It is a great cooking mushroom with delicate taste in it. It suits especially well with a game hunted around the same time. Other way to prepare it is mix it with some cream, white pepper, salt and cook it a bit. Yummy!

One must be careful though when collecting these mushrooms. The correct ones have a funnel pointing towards the ground. Very similar looking mushroom with pointy hat pointing up are very poisonous and should not be touched or collected. So if you are heading into the woods to try and find these treasures it is best to have an experienced guide with you because these are not easily found from every corner. Good luck in hunting for everyone!

A salty treat

by Tiia Rintakoski, degree student in Media

salmiakkisuklaa.edSalty 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.

salmari.edA 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 claimingsalmiakkikarkki.ed 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!

Of Finnish food culture

by Jerina Kivistö, degree student in Media

About two dozenz of Karelian pasties both on a plate and on a paper.

Self-made warm Karelian pasties, yum-yum!

Finland has  globally  rather unknown culinary traditions but that of course doesn’t mean such wouldn’t exist. Some say our food tastes bland, others say it looks quite unappetizing. And I can’t argue with that –  some Finnish dishes may look a tad disgusting – I mean, I have never ever heard anyone say how a look of mustamakkara or mämmi makes their mouth water. Needless to say I get the point.

Nonetheless, I still want to defend traditional Finnish food – it is after all what I grew up with and a certain appreciation is expected. Using minimum amount of spices has led us to the point, where the ingredients need to be fresh and tasty on their own without further enhancing. Nothing probably tastes better than wood stove-baked rye bread with salted butter and a tall glass of refreshing full-fat milk. In the traditional Finnish kitchen, the taste comes from the main ingredients itself, not so much from the spices.

Surely, with globalization the Finnish diet might have changed into kebab and pizza but it still doesn’t change the fact how utterly delicious food we have available here. So, the question is, what is your favorite Finnish food?

A recipe for you: Karelian pasties http://www.food.com/recipe/karelian-pasties-karjalan-piirakat-136480 .


Ice Fishing in Finland

by Tyler Rickabaugh, degree student in Environmental Engineering

Tampere winter horizont - ice cover of Näsijärvi lake with sight seeing tower Näsinneula

After hot July it is maybe hard to imagine that in few months the lakes offer an amazing environment for ice fishing!

Ice fishing is a long and deep history of Finland. It is known to be a public rights access, meaning that you don’t have to have a license to fish. All you need is a fishing pole, really warm clothes, a frozen lake, and a tool to break the ice.

The most important thing in ice fishing is preparation. You don’t want to get out to the middle of the lake only to realize you forgot something, or that you are under dressed. Always be prepared. Please note that you can spend several hours on the lake in freezing temperatures, so it’s going to get cold. If you are fortunate enough to know someone who happens to have a tent or hut that they use while ice fishing then it can make the experience that much better.

Common fish you will come across while ice fishing are perch and pikes. Pikes are a bit bigger fish and can really give you a good fight. Although both of the perch and pikes meat are a bit bonier than most fish, if they are cooked properly they can be really tasty.

Be sure to go out on the lake with a Finnish person who has experience. Ice fishing takes a bit of knowledge and experience. The last thing you want to do is get out into the middle of a frozen lake and realize you have no idea what you are doing. Also having the right kind of lures and bait will help as well. Again talk to a Finn first for some guidance on this.

Finally remember to bring alcohol! If you don’t catch any fish at least you can catch a buzz!

Have fun and remember to stay warm!

Minun suomalainen lempiruoka

by Ramil Nuretdinov, degree student in Environmental Engineering
Leivän tuotanto Suomessa on kalliimpaa kuin Venäjällä, mitäs siihen sanoa. Mutta hinta on oikea, koska Suomen tuotanto on parempi, se on oikeasti niin!

Jos haluatte maistaa jotain kansallisista Suomen leivonnaisista, niin ostakaa  ”reikäleipää”: se on suomalainen ruisleipä, jossa on reikä keskellä leipää.

Minä suosittelen myös kuuluisaa karjalanpiirakkaa. Niiden täytteet ovat erilaiset. Aina riisistä perunamuusiin saakka.

Suomalainen piirakka kalan kanssa on tehty rukiista. Sen nimi on kalakukko. Ja jos puhutaan suomalaisesta keittiöstä, niin parasta on kuitenkin ruoka, joka on tehty kalasta! Suomalaiset tekevät ruoan järvi-, joki- tai merikalasta. Monet turistit ostavat kalan Suomesta, koska luottavat Suomen tuotannon laatuun.

Two small pancakes with salty fillings

Fisherman’s delicates: blinit, mätiä, sipulia ja smetanaa.

Suomen kansalliseen ruokavalioon kuuluu mm. kalakeitto ja klimppisoppa. Joitakin kala-aterioita tehdään maitotuotteiden kanssa. Myös Venäjällä tarjotaan kalakeitto vispikerman kanssa, joka tekee keiton herkullisemmaksi.


Rye – Give It a Try!

by Anna-Maija Mattila, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A slice of rye bread with cheese on a plate

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!

Two food packages on the table.

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)






Summer School Nostalgia

by Maksim Mandelshtam, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A couple of students sitting on a lawn, chatting and having beer.

Having a great time together!

The first vaikutus (impression) , nevertheless it’s proved to be true or not, is usually kept in mind for a long time. This applies to people, places, works of art and so on. It also works with cities. My first impressions of Tampereen kaupunki (city) were formed during my first month of stay, which happened to be August, when I was studying Finnish language and culture in Unipoli Summer school.

I have to say with appreciation that this summer school helped to understand better the city, its unique culture and atmosphere. We had great trips around the city on the first week and lectures on Finnish culture and history on the 2 others, along with intensive courses of suomen kieli (Finnish language).

A smiling girl and boy, In the background mustamakkara kiosk.

Eating mustamakkara. The literal translation of this delicate is “black sausage”, trust me!

Lots of events were held during August, when we were studying, raging from Tampere Theatre Festival and various music festivaali (Guess what it means!). I visited some of them with my classmates, which were mainly coming from outside Eurooppa (Now you can understand how to make words sound Finnish!).

The whole year has passed  by since I studied in Summer School, a lot of things have changed, many of my ex-classmates have left Tampere and a lot of new friends I have met here. But I still remember these three weeks in August, when Tampere first demonstrated some of its beauties to me and my classmates from all around the world.


Teemme couscous-päivällistä / Making Couscous Dinner

by Joanne NH Wong, degree student in Media

The first chapter in Finnish, the second the same in English etc.

Tänään olemme päättäneet tehdä couscous-päivällistä. Minä ja minun poikaystävä Slava kävimme kaupassa ostamassa ruoka-aineita. Me seurasimme reseptiä, joka löytyy pirkka.fi:sta: Teriyaki-kasviscouscous. Me ostimme punaisen ja keltaisen paprikan, kesäkurpitsan, kidneypapuja, vähän valkosipulia ja sipulia, ananaspaloja, 1 pakkauksen couscousta, tuoretta basilikaa ja teriyakikastiketta.

Today, we have decided to make couscous for dinner. Me and my boyfriend, Slava, went to supermarket to get ingredients. We followed the recipe from pirkka.fi, kasviscouscous with teriyaki sauce, and we bought red and yellow paprikas, zucchini, kidney beans, little bit of garlics and onions, pineapple cubes, 1 pack of couscous, fresh basil, and teriyaki sauce

Package of couscous

Olen aika innoissani, koska en ole koskaan tehnyt couscousta ennen. Otan couscousin ostoskassista ja luen paketin ohjeet. Tämä on silloin, kun minun suomen kielen koulutus alkaa. Itse asiassa aina kun menen ruokaostoksille, opin uusia suomalaisia ​​sanoja kaupassa. Ohje on helppo: ensiksi keitä 2 dl* vettä, 0,5 rkl** öljyä ja 0,5 tl*** suolaa kattilassa. Ota kattila pois levyltä, kun vesi kiehuu. Sekoita ja lisää 2 dl couscousta joukkoon. Anna turvota kannen alla noin 5 minuttia. Voila! Couscous on valmis!

I am quite excited, because I have never make couscous before. I took out couscous from shopping bag and read the instructions on the packet. This is when my Finnish language training starts. In fact, every time I go grocery shopping, I learn new Finnish words in the shop. The instruction is easy: first, boil 2dl of water with 0.5 tbsp oil and 0.5 tsp salt in a pot. Take it off from stove when it’s boiled. Add 2dl of couscous into the boiled water. Leave it covered for 5 minutes. Voila! Couscous is ready!

Instructions how to cook couscous

Ohjeet suomeksi ja ruotsiksi

Sitten Slava on leikannut kaikki ainekset reseptin mukaisesti nyt. Me lämmitämme pannulla oliiviöljyä, kuullotamme sipulia ja valkosipulia muutaman minuutin, sitten laitamme paprikaa ja kesäkurpitsaa. Lisäämme ananaspalat ja kidneypavut, molemmat valutetut ja huuhdellut.

And my boyfriend has done chopping all the ingredients as instructed in the recipe now. We heat up a pan with olive oil inside, sauté onion and garlic for a few minutes, then put in paprika and zucchini. Add pineapple cube and kidney beans, both drained and rinsed.

Sammuta liesi. Teriyakikastike kaadetaan nyt vihanneksille ja  sekoitetaan hyvin. Seuraavaksi joukkoon lisätään  keitetty couscous, sekoittamalla kaikki ainekset hyvin yhteen. Lopuksi ripottelemme silputtua basilikaa ruokaan.

Turn of the stove. Teriyaki sauce is now poured into the vegetable and mix well. Followed by the cooked couscous, stirring and mixing all ingredients well together. In the end, sprinkle chopped basil leaves onto the dish.

A colourful portion of couscous with black olives, sweet pepper and basili


20 minuutissa nautimme päivällisestä jo ruokapöydässä!

WIthin 20 minutes time, we are enjoying our dinner already on the dining table!

*dl = desilitra

**rkl = ruokalusikka

*** tl = teelusikka



How to enjoy winter below -20°C

by Bokyung Kim, degree student in Media

One of the most common misconceptions about winter in Finland is that it is boring. Once winter starts in Finland, the sun is hardly to be seen in the sky and the daytime is getting shorter and shorter. In addition to the darkness of the winter the degree is always below zero and lots, lots, lots of snow everywhere everyday. However, it does not mean you will have boring winter in Finland! Today, I would like to share my know-how to enjoy winter in Finland 🙂

Three students wearing their skates in a shelter, snowy background

Sun is shining and the ice rink is waiting!

1. Try Winter Sports!

Finland will be truly heaven if you love sports. During the winter season, Finnish people enjoy lots of winter sports. Needless to say, ice skating and downhill skiing are the most common winter sports and you can enjoy them almost everywhere in Finland. There are lots of ice rinks and ski hills around the city and most of them are free. If you want to try more challenging and exotic one, I would suggest you to try ice hockey or cross-country skiing in the frozen lake!


Nine media students - boys and girls - posing for a photo at their pre-Christmas party.

Let’s party: have a nice pre-Christmas!

2. Enjoy Authentic Christmas!

As you might already know, Finland is the hometown of Santa Claus and celebrates Christmas as one of the biggest holidays. During Christmas season, in every city square in Finland Christmas markets sell the authentic and unique Christmas food, decorations and handmade goods. Also, don’t forget to enjoy Pikkujoulu! Pikkujoulu is a pre-party for real Christmas and usually friends gather all together and celebrate Christmas before real one comes.

Buns called korvapuusti, partly under a linen.

Korvapuusti is one kind of pulla, filled with butter, sugar and cinnamon.

3. Time to Know Joy of Baking!

If you don’t want to do any outdoor activities during the winter season, then it is time to know joy of baking! Finnish people love baking and they have lots of recipes for desserts that will melt your frozen heart! Pulla and Munkki are the most common desserts in Finland and usually perfect pair with coffee. Pulla is a sweet roll flavored with cinnamon and Munkki is a moist donut without hole. Once you come to know joy of baking, your kitchen will be filled with smell of heaven!

Those 3 tips are the ones actually helped me a lot to go through the most challenging period for foreign students. At first you might feel depressed for darkness and cold weather in Finnish winter, however, once you decide your mind to fully enjoy every moment, you will find yourself being in amazing place with endless wonder! 🙂