Q&A: What do you eat for breakfast in Finland?

There is what I eat and probably what many others eat – I only have coffee with full fat cream in the morning before work. At work I’ll have some almonds or some fruit, maybe a yogurt. I’ve just never been a breakfast person!

That said, there are plenty of great breakfast food options around here though – for example, there are many types of porridge available, you can even get porridge at the cafeteria downstairs! You can garnish it with jam, berries or other fruit and it’s really nice and filling. Sometimes I’ll make myself rye porridge and flavour it with some broth, it’s the perfect thing to eat after a cold walk outside. Continuing on breakfast foods, of course you can have a small sandwich made of rye bread with some butter, maybe a slice of cheese and tomatoes. There are also plenty of sweet pastries that you can choose from, cinnamon ones or doughnut like or some with sweet cheese.

Coffee is also very important. Finland inevitably ends up in the top countries of coffee consumption per capita. It’s not always good coffee but it’s an essential part of the Finnish diet for sure.

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BLOG: About that cricket bread

A simple search for “Finland + cricket + bread” will tell you all about Fazer’s cricket bread so I’ll just give you a personal take on it here.

First of all, it’s not available in every shop but I live and shop in the city centre of Helsinki so there are shops that carry it – hooray for that! First hurdle overcome! The second hurdle were other people who also wanted to try the cricket bread and kept on buying it before I could get my hands on some. Eventually the frenzy died down and there came a day when some bread was left at the time when I go shopping after work. Second hurdle overcome! I had cricket bread, for 3€ and a bit for a loaf. (Side note: now that the craziness of the first days is gone, there is always some available.)

The packing looks quite normal – a bit of green, a little cricket on there. The ingredients of course tell you that it’s not 100% cricket, it’s different kinds of flour, including 3% of flour made of ground crickets. That said, 3% is already a good start in terms of adding protein that have great potential to contribute to sustainability.

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Now for the taste – it tastes like regular mixed-flour bread. I’m not exactly the best person to try and describe what makes bread good, I generally don’t even eat that much bread… but I can tell when a baguette is good or bad (I have strong opinions on which boulangerie makes the best baguette) and know that not all rye bread is good. I could not taste anything strange, there weren’t any bits of insects that would add extra crunch. It was just regular bread, which is exactly what I think they are going for and should be going for – they want to show that there is nothing different and can be easily accepted by the population. Heck, I’d argue that taste-wise this is easier for people to get used to than non-dairy milk/yogurt alternatives and we’ve seen those soar in recent years.

My conclusion is that I hope that the trend of including insect-based proteins in “normal” (=non-gimmicky-omg-look-I’m-eating-an-insect) food will continue. This bread has the backing of Fazer and they’re a multi-billion € company, they can hopefully develop a sustainable supply chain for insect proteins that can be readily used in food.

Q&A: What’s your favourite food?

My favourite food is my mum’s boeuf bourguignon. It’s one of those foods that takes quite a bit of preparation and I would never cook it just for myself and my mum knows that. The thing is, you have to remember my mum did not grow up in France, she did not grow up with French cuisine… and yet she’s perfected this dish in a way that makes all other boeuf bourguignon absolutely impossible to eat.

I’ve never tried to replicate her recipe but essentially it requires good beef cut into small(ish) dice, lardons (bacon-like bits), diced onion, wine and some spices (probably). Then it’s all about marinading the beef in the wine along with the onions, then removing the meat from the wine and browning it, then cooking everything in the wine.

In terms of foods I like to cook myself, I’d say my pea soup is rather good. I also like making homemade pizza because I love the process of making pizza dough (I keep a yeast culture in my fridge because you never know when you’ll want to make bread or pizza).

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BLOG: My love for mämmi knows no bounds

Finland has some foods that might appear strange to foreigners, some so strange that some foreigners will refuse to eat them. Yes, I am talking about mämmi that apparently reminds people of poo but is really the best thing about Easter around here (I’m not huge on chocolate). But it’s not poo, not even close! It’s rye-based dessert that’s been through a very slow cooking process and that you eat with milk or cream.

Technically you can get mämmi year round in bigger supermarkets but it will be frozen, there will be only one kind and it will be on some random hidden shelf. Around February mämmi will appear more prominently in the frozen food section and that’s my cue for getting exited* – soon there will mämmi in the refrigerated section and there will be choice! There will single-serving cups and those biiiig cardboard containers and there will be no need to waste time on thawing.

(* by “excited” I mean excited to the point of instagramming the aforementioned prominent frozen food section)

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I personally prefer to get the no-added-sugar kind and eat it with full-fat cream. I’ve heard rumours of there being flavoured mämmis but why would anything want to eat that?