If you can’t make a trip to the other Great White North, why not bring some Nordic magic home with these incredible Finnish Christmas foods?
With its stunning countryside and chilly winters, Finland is the ideal place to spend the Holidays. You’re all but guaranteed a white Christmas, after all!
Don’t worry, there’s no blood sausage or tar-flavored sweet on this list (yes, really).
Instead, you’ll find yummy meatballs, spiced wine, and, of course, Christmas cookies.
Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
If you ever get the chance to visit Europe during the holidays, I highly recommend making a trip to the north, specifically, to Finland.
It truly is a winter wonderland, and one bite of these fruity and buttery pastry stars will make the long flight worth it.
Prune jam is traditional but not mandatory. So feel free to use what you have on hand!
You could even do a whole bunch of different flavors to make the plate more colorful.
Glögi is wildly popular in the Nordics, and you’ll see it at almost every stall at every Christmas market.
It’s warm, spiced, sweet, and intensely flavorful, just like the mulled wine we all know and love.
But what makes this Finnish version unique is the blackcurrant juice. It provides such a deep berry flavor that will have you coming back for more.
I like to use Zinfandel, but Merlot would work too. You’ll just need a wine that’s deep and flavorful and preferably full of fruity berries.
Piparkakut are spiced, orange-infused ginger cookies with a lovely crunch. Unlike some gingerbread cookies, these are a touch lighter and far less sticky.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not tasty!
Between the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and mixed citrus peel, these will hold their own against any cookie on the plate.
Add a dusting of powdered sugar, and they’re ready to be devoured. They also look gorgeous with some fun, royal icing decorations on top.
As with many European countries, the Fins enjoy their Christmas dinner on the 24th.
And unlike us, they usually opt for a juicy, honey-baked ham instead of turkey.
I think most of us would agree that turkey is overrated, right? So why not break tradition this year and serve up this sticky-sweet ham instead?
The key to the best tasting and most tender ham is to cook it in pineapple juice.
Not only will the flavor infuse into the meat, but the acidity will help to keep it soft.
Of course, you could also use orange juice.
I happen to love cabbage in all its forms, and the main reason is how versatile it is. Not only that, but it will feed a table full of people for pennies.
Since it has quite a mild flavor, you’ll need to be sure to cook it with lots of delicious extras.
In this case, you’ll use chicken stock, ground beef, and onions. To bulk it out even more, this recipe also uses rice.
One sure-fire way to guarantee flavor is to use sausage meat instead of ground beef.
You’ll find a variation of this at almost every European Christmas table.
I’ve had it in France, Germany, Sweden, and Finland, and though they were each slightly different, the key ingredients stayed the same.
Along with the traditional beetroot, potatoes, and pickles, this recipe also calls for crisp apples and sweet carrots.
Depending on your preferences, you can use either boiled or pickled beets.
I find the pickles are enough acidity, but if you like it sharp, go ahead and grab a jar of pickled beets.
I know you’ve heard of and devoured Swedish meatballs, but they’re super popular all over the Nords and Baltics, too.
In fact, the Fins like their meatballs just like the Swedes: simple, seasoned, and served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.
I like to use a mix of beef and pork for a richer taste, but if you add the right herbs and plate with the jam, you could get away with chicken or turkey.
They’re not quite as tasty but far leaner.
I always struggle to find lingonberry jam (unless I make a trip to Ikea, of course), so I typically swap it out for cranberries since both are slightly sweet and nicely tart.
It’s a tradition in Finland to serve rice pudding at Christmas, and whoever finds the almond in their bowl will have good luck for the following year.
Although this is tasty year-round, I think it would make a lovely addition to any holiday table.
Unlike some other recipes you may know, this has no sugar in the mix. That makes it relatively neutral and easy to modify.
It’s best served with a knob of butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.
No Christmas feast is complete without some form of spiced cake.
So, whether it’s something deep, dark, and fruity or maybe something lighter, it’s a must-make.
This Finnish spiced cake is wonderfully fluffy and relies on gingerbread for flavoring. That means you’ll need molasses to add depth.
The cake is tender enough that you don’t need glaze or frosting, but a generous helping of salted caramel sauce is never a bad idea.
Cardamom has such a unique flavor, and it’s definitely a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing.
I happen to like the piney, floral, and licorice-like taste, but I know it’s not for everyone.
The Fins, like the Swedes, love licorice, so it’s no wonder cardamom is found in so many treats. But this wreath is something full of tradition.
Making the braids is pretty easy, as you only need three pieces, but the buns are super cute, and I love the sweet jam in the middle.
Either way, you can’t go wrong.
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