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Frozen Finnish treats

Salmiakki ice cream novelty

Salmiakki ice cream novelty

According to a website on Finnish cuisine, ice cream dominates the dessert list. “Ice cream has maintained its place as the queen of desserts for a couple of centuries now, although tastes have changed. A hundred years ago, people favoured ice cream flavoured with fresh pineapple, almonds, chestnuts and other nuts. Ice cream with foreign canned fruits and chocolate sauce was regarded as a delicacy in the 1950s. In the present century, wild strawberry ice cream with a garnish of puréed wild strawberries is typically served as a dessert at lunch.” – http://finland.fi/

For me though, I wanted to try some flavours that I couldn’t try at home…

So much to choose from!

So much to choose from!

At the S-Market near our hotel in Helsinki, there was a huge frozen section dedicated to ice cream. There were wire bins upon bins of individual frozen novelties available – so much space that this couldn’t possibly be a seasonal section as far as I could tell, and it was near the front of the store – a popular treat for sure!

It was a hot day, and we didn’t have much for dinner, so we picked out two treats each (ok.. and we love ice cream!) We each selected one of the Magnum treats (mint for me, an unphotographed plain one for my travel companion – who was already eating by the time I got my camera out!). My companion chose a toffee one for the second treat, while I went for the Ingman Lakritsi cone instead…

A few different ice cream novelties

A few different ice cream novelties

Of the four treats we had that night, the Lakritsi was the best! My companion had to snag a bite too of course!

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So good!

The Lakritsi had licorice sprinkles on top of plain ice cream with a licorice core. The Magnum Mint wasn’t so good for me – it was plain vanilla ice cream, and only the chocolate coating had the mint – with tiny mint candies in the chocolate coating. It was crunchy instead of the smooth texture I prefer.

Once we’d tried one licorice ice cream though, we were keen to try another, and this is where it got really good – Salmiakki ice cream. This is a licorice ice cream with a licorice-flavoured coating. I wish we could get these here… I’ll definitely have to keep my eyes open when I get to specialty shops…

licorice & chocolate ice cream novelty

licorice & chocolate ice cream novelty at the Helsinki Airport

As we were leaving Finland, heading to Toronto on FinnAir, to spend the night before returning to Calgary, I went on the hunt for another ice cream treat. I was looking for the Salmiakki ice cream we’d tried before, but the little convenience store in the airport didn’t have it. Instead I picked up this Lakupala bar – which had the same licorice-flavoured coating, but inside was chocolate ice cream. It was good, but not nearly as good as the Salmiakki ice cream bar!

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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Breakfast for dinner

Well I had hoped to bring you a few more non-Finland posts, but I guess I’m clearly not drinking enough new teas or going out to enough new places for sushi, because I don’t have anything ready to post that isn’t from my trip to Finland. (Or perhaps I just can’t wait to get back there!)

This is actually a kind of silly “oh, look at the unusual names & flavours” post, which perhaps you’ll find silly or funny or useless – but maybe it will also make you think “hmm I wish we had that here!”

A light dinner after those delicious, large Finnish breakfast buffets!

A light dinner after those delicious, large Finnish breakfast buffets!

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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Helsinki Market Square

While on vacation in Finland, the last city I visited was the capital Helsinki. I would have loved to ‘play tourist’ a bit while in the gorgeous and vibrant city, but I was there for a much less touristy reason – the annual Tuska Open Air Metal Festival!

Since I was spending three whole days in metalhead bliss seeing some of my favourite bands, live, in their home countries (I’m sure any North American fan of Scandinavian/Nordic metal can agree what a treat this is!) I didn’t really go out too much to eat while in the city. Most evenings I was heading home from the concert grounds too late to get more than just hamburgers (there was both a McDonalds and a Hessburger close to my hotel), and for other meals there were several vendors at the concert grounds, plus there was a grocery store a block away, and across the street was an open-air marketplace.

Market in Helsinki

Market in Helsinki

The marketplace was amazing – bustling with activity! There were many stalls with vendors selling fresh berries like the strawberries above (blueberries were also plentiful!) and many selling flowers as well. There were also vendors selling other fresh produce, nuts, preserved meats, and a few selling consumer goods like leather purses. It reminded me a lot of the Market Square in Turku, and made me envious that we don’t have neighbourhood markets like this in Calgary.


Just like in Turku, we discussed how lovely it would be to bring some of those lovely fresh flowers back to our hotel room – if only the room had a vase!

As a note, this is just one of the market squares (in the Kallio district) – not “the” Market Square, which is near Helsinki’s South Harbour.  The harbour front market square was similar – but was so exceptionally busy that I didn’t get a chance to take any photos. They had similar items for sale, but had a lot more consumer goods along with produce, and seemed to cater more to the tourist market due to their location. (I even saw Reindeer fur items for sale!)

Neat Angel-Demon statue in downtown Helsinki

Neat Angel-Demon statue in downtown Helsinki

I adored my trip to Finland, and can’t wait to go back again. Before going I did look for sushi places, and had picked out a few, however because of my concert schedule, and my travel companion’s disinterest in sushi, I never had the chance to try anything.  Helsinki is known for having amazing food though, like the modern take on South Asian cuisine at Farang. Blogger Foodie In Finland shared a blog post recently – check it out! http://foodieinfinland.blogspot.ca/2012/03/farang-helsinki.html

Want more posts from Helsinki? Follow the Helsinki tag, here on Happy Sushi Belly, or check out the other posts from my trip to Finland with the Finland tag!

If you’re interested in my music travels, check out Throwing Horns Abroad – where I’m sharing some of my music-centric travel adventures!

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Treats: lemon cheesecake

While on the fortress island of Suomenlinna (a short ferry ride from Helsinki’s Market Square) we needed a rest, a drink, and a chance to get out of the sun.

We had lots of options, (including a restaurant with lots of fish dishes) but we were in the mood for lighter fare, so we opted for Café Piper, a small, quaint, summer café with a few seats inside, a few tables outside on the shady, covered patio, and ample seating outside in the sunshine. The café is located on a small hill surrounded by an English-style garden, offering a view into the Gulf of Finland. They offered a small lunch buffet with soup, but instead we picked a lemon cheesecake along with a cold drink.

Yummy lemon cheesecake

Yummy lemon cheesecake

The site where the café currently sits previously was the location for a Roman Catholic chapel and two gazebos.  The current building was constructed in 1928, and it has been a café since it’s construction.  The café location is along a wheelchair accessible route, however the café itself has a small staircase without a ramp.  Some of the seating can be accessed with a wheelchair, though not all of it.  There are, however, other more accessible places to dine on the island(s) for visitors with limited mobility.


The cheesecake was delicious, but not at all what I’d think of to make for a lemon cheesecake. I think this would be super-easy to replicate using a regular cheesecake recipe, and some delicious lemon curd (found in the jams, honey, and other toast-topping section of some grocery stores).

Want more posts from Suomenlinna? Just follow the Suomenlinna tag! You can also check out my other posts from the Helsinki area with the Helsinki tag, or the other posts from my trip to Finland with the Finland tag! If you’re planning a trip to Helsinki yourself, I highly recommend following Visit Helsinki on Twitter @HelsinkiTourism; I followed their feed well before my trip and during as well! (I also walked past their office, but didn’t pop in – Helsinki was so easy to get around – just my iPhone and the maps in our hotel were all we needed!)

Speaking of Twitter… don’t forget to follow @HappySushiBelly on Twitter too!

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Sitruuna-Lakritsi ice cream

Since I’ve posted a few more local posts, I’m back to posting about my Finnish culinary experiences. Since I last posted about ice cream, I figured I’d stay on the topic, and share even more about the flavour I’m still keeping an eye open for over on this side of the world…

Lemon-Licorice Ice Cream

In an earlier post I mentioned ice cream in Finland. With every sidewalk filled with people enjoying frozen treats, it’s easy to see why Finland tops the global charts as consumers of dairy products!

A chart shows that in 2007 Finns consumed over 360 kg/capita/year of dairy products (excluding butter) well above the 206 kg/capita/year that Canadians consume, and leaps and bounds above the global average of 108 kg/capita/year.  They aren’t the only dairy-loving nation though, their neighbors in Sweden come close with an average of 355 kg/capita/year in dairy product consumption according to the chart which comes from the FAO Statistics Division 2011.

I first tried scooped salmiakki (salty licorice) ice cream in Turku, from a riverfront vendor. When I visited the fortress island of Suomenlinna another ice cream vendor was bound to get my business too! (It was also an uncustomary 33 degrees!). I was so sad to see that although they carried the same brand of ice cream, they didn’t have that specific flavour in the cooler at the moment, so instead I tried something a bit different….

Licorice Lemon Ice Cream

Licorice Lemon Ice Cream

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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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