In my last post, I showed you some of the things I had for breakfast at the Centro hotel in Turku. I thought I’d share with you the huge variety that they had to offer, just so you can see what breakfast might look like there.
Now, the Finnish breakfast buffets (we had one at each of our hotels in Finland) seem to be a bit different than what I’m used to at home. Normally a breakfast buffet in a Canadian hotel would have (some of):
- breads: muffins, croissants, whole wheat and white bread (plus a toaster), and a selection of cereals
- fruit: sliced melon, whole apples, oranges, pears, fruit cocktail
- hot breakfast foods: scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes or waffles (with all the toppings), poached eggs, porridge/oatmeal
- dairy: yoghurt, cottage cheese
- and then beverages…
Well, perhaps either Finns like their breakfast a bit different, or the hotels all cater to a much more international audience (like the miso soup served in Hawaiian breakfast buffets for the Japanese tourists), because the selection was quite a bit different.
The variety at the Centro hotel was wider than any of the others we tried, and there was an attentive staff person replenishing dishes when they ran low when it was early, though as the breakfast period ended, they weren’t – so getting there earlier would give you more choice than arriving for breakfast quite late.
For hot dishes, there wasn’t a lot to chose from. They rotated between hash browns, sausage, and eggs I think and always had porridge available. (In Savonlinna, they called this a ‘local specialty’ though it wasn’t too different to me…)
For cereals, they had a number of types to choose from including an oversized Cheerio-looking item, crisped rice cereal, corn flake cereal, a bunch of different granola-like cereals, and regular bran cereals. I especially liked the granola with dried apple. Along with the cereals they offered seeds and nuts – pecans, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and more.
There was also a huge selection of breads and crackers, and pastries that rotated daily. There was a doughnut that was like a crueller, but softer, denser, and covered in sugar. I also found it funny that McDonalds served doughnuts too!
Unlike most of the buffet breakfasts I’ve been to, they also offered dessert each day – rotating through a selection of yummy (and sometimes strange) things.
The Turku buffet breakfast also had Karelian pasties – a rye bread and rice item that I’ll share more about with you later. I didn’t try one here though – I’d tried one before, and don’t think that I was eating them the ‘right’ way…
To drink they offered a variety of teas (plain black tea, green tea, earl grey tea, and a few herbal varieties) along with coffee. To add to the hot drinks they had milk, cream, sweetener (little pellets that were tiny but packed a powerfully sweet punch) brown and white sugar, powdered chocolate, honey, and more.
They also offered orange juice, water, and milk, while the other buffets we visited also offered apple and tropical blend juices.
They offered plain yoghurt, and had lots of things to add to it. In our hotel in Helsinki, they also offered a fruit yoghurt too. Cottage cheese was also available, and luckily it tasted a lot like what I’m used to. (I’ve had some awful cottage cheese while travelling, which is a shame because I like it so much!)
More unusually, they also had a smorgasbord of tomato, cucumber, bell peppers and a variety of sliced cheeses and deli meats like salami and ham. They also had liverwurst and other spreadable items like cream cheese, and what I later found out was “egg butter”. Joining the smorgasbord were beets, salty mushrooms, olives, pickles, corn, pasta salad, and sundried tomatoes. There were also white cubes which I guess was either tofu or feta cheese… I never did give them a try!
In addition to the deli meats they also had a variety of herring, and smoked salmon (lox/gravlax), chicken, and flaked tuna.
To add to the yoghurt (or porridge) they had a sour fruit mix which I think included blueberries, ligonberries, strawberries, sour cherries and strawberries – it tasted a lot like a strawberry & rhubarb pie filling.. with that slightly sweet, slightly tangy flavour.