Helsinki Railway Square Turns Into a Haven of Finnish Delicacies

Vendors serving fried vendace at Herkkujen Suomi Food Festival at the Helsinki Railway Square on August 4, 2017. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

One of my favorite things to do is meander around markets, speaking to people about their beloved products, soaking in their passion and dedication. So, when I heard Helsinki was hosting an event to display delicacies from the provinces of Finland, I jumped at the opportunity and headed to the Railway Square to investigate.

Over the course of this weekend, Helsinki has rolled out the red carpet to some of Finland’s finest food producers. In its seventh year, this free event takes place in the heart of Helsinki and organizers are expecting over 35,000 visitors over the course of three days. I discovered a vast array of local producers, all vying for the attention of their fellow citizens and offering free samples galore. This event offers something for all ages and tastes with a vast spectrum on offer.

Whether it be locally produced honey, nuts, grains, flour, cheese or jam you are interested in, or if you favor ice cream, sausage, pickled garlic, or fresh fish, you are sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds. Free samples are available and if you like what you taste (which I’m sure you will), the products are available for purchase. There are even fresh potted herbs on offer.

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I spoke to Matti Kotaja at a stall selling his Rose Petal Confiture, “Ruusun Terälehtihillo”. “It is our fifth year coming to the festival. We currently export our product to many countries including Germany, Italy, Japan and Hong Kong but we are here today to increase local awareness of our product.”  Matti has been farming for 17 years and grows his roses in Vampula, north of Turku. I recommend a taste of this delicious jam.

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Chips are made on the spot. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Another producer I spoke to was Virve Kettunen who owns a farm in Marttila, 1.5 hours east of Helsinki. Hamppufarmi is at the festival for its second year and offers chips, oil, berries, health bars and other products all pesticide free. “We want to increase brand awareness within Finland. We have been farming for five years and want Finnish people to experience locally grown products,” Kettunen said.

40 different Finnish breweries serve a wide variety of beer at Syystober beer tent and some whiskey, too. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

If beer is more to your taste, why not head to the Syystober beer tent where up to 40 of Finland’s best breweries and microbreweries are on display. Many of these are the winners of the 2017 Finnish beer competition.

As well as the treats I have already mentioned, there is also an array of food stands selling hamburgers, garlic bread, fish and potatoes, chips, and many other traditional Finnish cuisines. Once you have sampled, purchased lunch or dinner and a beer there are a bountiful number of tables and chairs in which to relax and enjoy your food as you listen to the entertainment provided. Many acts are scheduled to perform throughout the event, through the early hours for the late beer appreciators.

More Info

Friday 4.8 – 10:00-20:00

Saturday 5.8 –  10:00-19:00

With the Syystober beer tent open until 01:00 each night and as I mentioned previously, the event is free to enter.