Today, the flags salute Finland’s national poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877).

Johan Ludwig Runeberg, a painting by Albert Edelfelt in 1899-1900.

Mr. Runeberg produced an ample corpus of works in Swedish including poems—epic and epigrammatic, hexametric and romantic—as well as critiques on the works of Swedish authors while writing in various newspapers of the time. (Some say he invented the literary criticism in Finland.)

Yet Runeberg is today, above all, associated with two things.

He authored the lyrics to “Maamme,” a poem that became the Finnish National Anthem.

He was addicted to a torte baked by his wife, Frederika. According to the legend, he enjoyed it every breakfast with punch.

Runeberg’s tortes are found in most cafeterias on February 5. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The torte is flavored with almonds and rum or arrack. There is usually raspberry jam in a sugar ring on the tart.

Runeberg’s tortes are typically eaten only in Finland and are generally available from the beginning of January to Runeberg’s birthday on February 5.

Are you going to have one? Or two?


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