Smoked, cured, fried in batter or roasted - every true Ålander loves fish, and the recipes are many. Traditionally herring has been a regional staple and in the past the population of Åland would sail to the markets in Stockholm and Helsinki to sell the surplus of their catch. Buckling is the name used for salted and smoked herring, which get a golden tint from the smoking. Redfin perch, pike and flounder are among other traditional favourites - there's hardly any restaurant who doesn't offer battered and fried perch on their menu.
In modern times Åland has become a large exporter of farmed rainbow trout and locals have taken the fish to heart. Salmon and trout are more popular than ever. Preferably cold smoked or hot smoked, but also in sushi or soup.
Large amounts of apples are harvested every autumn. Åland has a mild and cool climate, which is excellent for growing these fruit. A lot of the apples are exported to the rest of Finland, but some are used by local breweries to make juice and cider.
Grannas apple juice is popular among locals and visitors. It's very different and much tastier than the mass produced apple juice many are familiar with. The juice contains nothing but apples and is served with breakfast at many hotels in the region.
Peders Aplagård is located far away on the island of Kökar, where they manufacture non-alcoholic apple cider, "monastery cider", apple chutney and other special brews. Their products can be found in most supermarkets and many cafés.
Ålandic black bread is a really dark and juicy bread, with a sweet and somewhat sour taste. This bread tasstes best with a generous spread of butter on top, and some cheese. Black bread can be found in all super markets, made by the local bread factory and smaller bakeries. Many restaurants incorporate this bread into their appetizers.
Hemvete is another local bread, milder in taste and excellent for making all kinds of sandwiches. If you don't know anybody who bakes it at home, you'll always find it in the shops.
Åland has its own factory for dairy products, called ÅCA, producing not only milk and butter, but also a great variety of cheeses and yogurt. You find their products in all super markets, and they are the preferred dairy suppliers for most restaurants. Especially tasty is the "Kastelholm" cheese, the award winning "Pommern" cheese, and the "Åland Special Cheese", which won a gold medal in the Finnish cheese making competition.
There are also smaller dairy makers in Åland, among them Mattas Gårdsmejeri, which won gold in the Swedish craft food championships for their yogurt and silver in the Finnish craft food championships for their sour cream.
The local brewery Stallhagen has in a few years of operation reached huge success in Åland with their craft beer. They ahve a variety of pilsner, red ale, IPAs and other kinds of beer. Also some very unique products, such as the rich Baltic Porter and their "Shipwreck beer", which has been recreated from a bottle salvaged from a ship that sunk outside of Föglö in the 19th century.
In the autumn mushrooms and berries sprout up from the forest floor everywhere around the islands. Blueberries, lingonberries, chanterelles, boletus and all kind of mushrooms and berries can be found if you look enough. The right to roam gives everybody the right to pick mushrooms and berries for their own needs, no matter who owns the forest. Mushroom and berry picking is a popular past-time among locals. If you're really lucky you can find the delicious cloudberries. Chefs especially are always on the look out for good mushroom spots.
This is a thick and sweet pancake, made in the oven and served in a square shape. It's topped with whipped cream (real dairy cream) and plum jam - or raspberry jam for the kids. Every visitor has to try this classic dessert at least once. Local bakeries and cafés compete in who can make the best pancake.
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