A very common and important question to ask when traveling to foreign countries is, “How is their food?” And as exciting as it is to research, it’s even more fulfilling to experience with your own taste buds alone. Lappish cuisine has always heavily relied on local materials. In Ruka and Kuusamo, reindeer herding became a way of life in the 19th century. Prior to that, most people were bird hunters and fishers. While reindeer is vital to Lappish cuisine today, game, fish and wild birds are also significant. The cuisine of Ruka and Kuusamo consists of a variety of dishes.The natural livelihood is still an important tradition today and is essential in Lapp culture.
Traditionally, the recipes were passed down from generation to generation orally and only just in later years have the recipes been actually written down. Among some of their most popular meals, reindeer, fish, and eclectic berries are the predominant. Berries have been important food, because other kinds of vegetables were not available during the long winters. The most valued berry is the cloudberry. In addition, there are plenty of blueberries, cowberries or lingonberries in Lapland, which are used for jams and desserts. In recent years, cloudberries and blueberries have been used in liqueurs. You’ll also find large quantities of crowberries which are mainly used for juice and wine.
Many restaurants in Ruka and Kuusamo offer these traditional dishes and even cultural dancing post meal and drink. If you’re worried about eating reindeer, don’t fret! They, of course, still offer the comfortable international foods found in many countries like delicious steak restaurants, pizza joints, burger stops, and well-known fast food restaurants. As they say in Ruka, hyvää ruokahalua! (Bon appetite! Enjoy your meal!)
Photo by Flickr User RukaKuusamo.com