To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence, I write 4 articles about typical Finnish food for the benefit of my English-speaking readers. This article is about food that Finns and others might enjoy in spring.
Schools usually end at the end of May and that month is full of both savory cakes and sweet cakes. Savory sandwich cakes usually have lots of layers with fish or ham paste in between and a creamy garnish with vegetables or slices of smoked salmon. Although the festive servings are quite heavy, Finns tend to make their food lighter in spring in order to be in good shape for the summer beaches. Vegetables and fruits sell well although the new growing season has barely started. For the May day, Finns like to brew mead and eat a special pastry called tippaleipä (picture search in Google!), which is a kind of a funnel cake or a fried dough.
Nature offer lots of possibilities to enjoy healthy spring food. In May wild herbs already grow fast although they are tastier when still very young. The very common fireweed can be used as aspargus when the sprouts are very young, and if you can prevent the stinging of nettles with your gloves, you might wish to cook a healthy soup of the young leaves like spinach.
Although Finns are not very religious, some like to fast before indulging themselves into Easter delicacies. Roast lamb or smoked ham can be found on the Easter menus along with boiled eggs and different kinds of roes. The desserts are a feast for chocolate enthusiasts, but you might find that many like Russian specialities, for example a sweet bun called baba. Quark is a common ingredient, but a refined version of it is called pasha (contains raisins or candied fruit). The notorious mämmi (put that word as a picture search into Google!) tastes a lot better than it looks. Actually it is a sweet rye pudding that is enjoyed with milk or cream.
This might sound quite poetic, but the best food in spring is fresh Finnish air. When the earth has dried up from the melting winter snow and just before the trees start to bloom (the pollen is problematic for some), the air is fresh and crisp although there are obvious promises of a forthcoming summer heat. During that fresh moments you do not need heavy food to fill your body and soul!