Written by Lina Abrahamsson
Fish has always been an important source of food for the Ålanders. Generation after generation of hunters and fishermen have provided for their families. Today fishing isn’t quite as important as it used to be, but the fish that is being offered here is exquisite. Outside of the supermarkets, there’s often local fishermen selling their recent catch, and if you get the chance to try smoked salmon you should absolutely do it. It needs to be said though that the salmon in particular is usually cultured in fish farms and not wild. But if you do eat fish, you should try it together with the famous ”black bread”.
Svartbröd, ”black bread” in English, is a very typical bread from Åland. And it’s no fuss about the name – the bread is truly is entirely black. This is because of the flour mix which consists of malt, rye flour and graham flour. With only these ingredients it doesn’t sound very tempting, but by adding a good amount of molasses the bread becomes a little sweet and soft in its texture. You typically find this bread on all festive occasions; midsummer, Christmas, birthday celebrations and graduation parties just to name a few. You can eat it solely with butter or have any savory topping of choice.
This is yet another very traditional dish from Åland, as you might hear in the name. It’s an oven pancake made with either rice grains or semolina, the original recipe might differ depending on who you’re asking. The pancake is made with cardamom and the whole pancake itself is quite sturdy, so you won’t need much more to your afternoon coffee! By tradition, it is always served together with cream of plums, which on Åland is called ”sviskonkräm”, and whipped cream, or ”snömos” as the Ålanders call it, which means snow mash in English.
Locally produced apple juice
One of the most farmed product on the island is apples. You will see lots of apple trees along the way, especially if you’re going to the north east part of the island to Saltvik and Geta. Two farmers have also started producing their very own apple juice, which is highly appreciated among both the Ålanders and tourists alike. To get yourself a taste, you should look out for ”Grannas” or ”Karl-Ers” apple juice in the restaurant or in the supermarket. The taste is rich, sweet, a bit tart but one thing’s for sure – there is not a single trace of concentrate in these juices!
If you’re looking for a really good pizza, this is the place you should be heading. Originally founded by the Åland-famous chef Michael Björklund, Pub Niska was quickly established as the go-to restaurant for delicious pizza. You find the restaurant in the Sea Quarters, just outside the city center of Mariehamn. For example, their pizzas include ingredients such as goats cheese, cured ham, herb oil, sauces of different kinds and fresh vegetables. The concept has been so successful thar Niska now has opened its doors also in Turku, Vaasa and Ekenäs in Finland.
Stallhagen is Åland’s very own beer brewery. Since it first was founded in 2004 with a tiny assortment, they now have expanded and have over 10 different kinds of beer, with new ones coming along every now and then. The original and and the honey beer are the two most popular ones, and you’ll most probably find them in any restaurant or café that serves alcoholic beverages. The brewery is also a restaurant and visitors are welcome for both dinner, beer tasting or a guided tour in the manufacturing area.
Written by Lina Abrahamsson