Because I travel on a budget, and because it is fun, I usually forage for food in market halls and at farmer’s markets, and if I am lucky – in the countryside. One of my favorite places to shop for food in Helsinki is the Old Market Hall and Square where you can find fresh, local, and reasonably priced food – fish (smoked and fresh), berries in season, mushrooms, fresh veggies, freshly baked breads, coffee, pastries, and beautiful, tasty open-faced sandwiches, along with preserved foods.
Like other Nordic cultures, the food in Finland is steeped in history and nature – and new ideas. And along with the food found in the local markets, Finland’s nature provides a rich array of foods for the picking. The Everyman’s right ensures free access to the forests to pick berries and mushrooms where anyone can help themselves to what nature has to offer as long as they show respect for the countryside and the landowners.
But don’t just take my word for it. Check out Tidbits from Finland, published by the Programme for the Promotion of Finnish Food Culture – Suomalaisen ruokakulttuurin edistämisohjelma.
And though spring will most likely be even further behind in Finland than in Vermont, I am looking forward to the lengthening May days suffused with nordic light, to food and design closely connected to nature and to the special warmth and kindness of the Finns.