Ham is the king of Finnish Christmas table – check our restaurant’s offering for the holiday season

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Christmas food plays a very important role in the successful celebration of the holidays, and the content of the festive table may even be thought of a few weeks in advance of the actual main moment. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some traditional Christmas dishes as well as what’s on offer at our restaurant for the holidays.
Christmas food and dinner in Finland

Christmas ham plays the main part at the festive table

When talking about Christmas food, it is probably impossible to avoid talking about ham, which has been playing the main part at the Finnish festive table for decades. An impressively sized and long-maturing Christmas ham could rightly be called the king of a Finnish holiday table.

As far as ham is concerned, it is especially important to ripen it, which has even made us a certain kind of art. This is usually a baking process that lasts at least an hour and is carried out at relatively low temperatures and with constant monitoring of the temperature of the frypot.

Jouluruoka pöydässä
Ham could be considered as the center piece of Finnish festive table | © Jani Kärppä | Visit Finland

In addition to frying, ham is usually frosted during and after cooking. An important role in frying ham is also the degree of ripeness of the meat you want to cook. One likes very tender ham that is ready when the thermometer shows about 75 to 80 degrees, while the other may want to fry their ham very overcooked and well over 85 degrees.

There are many different schools and preferences for ham, and this is another good indication of the importance of ham at the Finnish Christmas table. For many, baking ham is also a good starting point for the Christmas holidays.

In return for the ham, a turkey is now used to some extent, which has found its way to the Finnish Christmas table from American Christmas traditions.

Rice porridge traditionally starts the Christmas meal

Christmas meals are traditionally started in the morning with traditional rice porridge, which is usually cooked in as fatty milk as possible. In recent years, a special milk drink has also been developed specifically for boiling, this milk does not burn to the bottom of the kettle as easily as a normal one would.

Rice porridge is usually served with cinnamon, sugar, butter and plum jam, for example. In addition, it has been a tradition to add almond to Christmas porridge. Getting an almond on your plate means good luck in the near future.

Casseroles and fish play an important role in the Christmas table

In addition to ham or turkey, the many dishes on the Christmas table include many other traditional Christmas dishes, such as the stewed potatoes, carrots, lute and liver casseroles.

Gravy fish and herring have become known as appetizers for the festive table. Grail salmon and herring in particular are part of the traditional delicacies of the Finnish Christmas table. In addition to the actual fish dishes, the appetizers taste like roe delicacies, boiled potatoes, raisins and mushroom salad. The popularity of traditional lye, on the other hand, has declined in recent years and is perhaps the most divisive of traditional Christmas dishes.

Christmas desserts

Piparkakut, eli piparit
Gingerbread cookies are traditional Christmas desserts | © Lauri Kivikataja | Visit Finland

The Christmas meal ends naturally with delicious desserts that taste traditional Christmas flavors such as plums, cinnamon and other wonderfully fragrant spices.

Traditional desserts include gingerbread cookies and Christmas cakes, which have retained their position in the Finnish Christmas tradition for decades. The taste of the gingerbread can also be added to a delicious dessert, and the traditional plum money is easily created using plum marmalade and seasoned curd.

Chocolate also plays a very important role in the Finnish Christmas food tradition today. During the anticipation of Christmas, especially the youngest members of the family tend to open chocolate Christmas calendars, and during the Christmas holidays in Finland, a wide variety of chocolates are traditionally enjoyed.

On the beverage side, the most popular at Christmas are the non-alcoholic home-made cabbage and the mulled wine (Glögi) heated near the boiling point, which is now available in many different flavors both with and without alcohol.

Our restaurant respects Finnish Christmas traditions

The restaurant at Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos is decorated in a Christmas atmosphere | © Anaëlle Chretienof

The arrival of Christmas is also well visible on the side of our restaurant, as the facilities have been decorated this year to suit the Christmas atmosphere well in advance before the holiday season.

Finnish Christmas traditions have also been respected on the Christmas menu. On the side of our restaurant, of course, there is traditional Christmas ham served this year with red wine-based mulled wine sauce.

Other traditional Christmas dishes include the house’s own box of carrots and lanterns, as well as a roast of steam wine. There is also a green salad and a traditional rosolli salad with sauce available.

Local food options include lye, gravy and smoked fish, which are delivered to us by local fisherman Petri Manninen. For bread toppings, there are haikku options from the local Keskitalon Ylämaankarja organic farm.

On the bread side, Lapinniemi rieska and archipelago bread are served directly from our own kitchen. As drinks, we will be serving traditional Christmas beer, apple flavored sparkling water and milk this Christmas.

For more information on Christmas meals, please contact our inn staff either via our contact page or by telephone on +358 50 378 7989.

Sources and about the subject elsewhere: Finland.fi | Christmas food

Main image of the article: © Jussi Hellstén | Visit Finland 

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