Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's Runeberg Day!

Runeberg statue on the Esplanade in Helsinki

Every 5th of February, Finland celebrates the anniversary of Johan Ludvig Runeberg by raising the flags and eating a delicious... Runeberg torte. Runeberg, Runeberg,... his name probably rings a bell if you have been to Helsinki. Like many people, you have probably photographed his statue in the middle of the Esplanade, always with a seagull on his head. But Runeberg wasn't a baker or a politician as some people might think. He was the national poet who wrote a lot about the rural life during the 19th century in Swedish language. But his most famous piece is undoubtably the poem "Vårt land" (Our Land Maamme in Finnish) which became the lyrics of the Finnish national anthem.

The Runeberg torte or Runebergin torttu in Finnish, is a cylindric pastry flavored with almonds and decorated with raspberry jam in a white or pink sugar ring. The pastry got its name as the poet was used to have them for breakfast. They are only available in Finland and during the months of January and February. Of course, you can always bake them at home anytime. Check the recipe: here

Homemade Runeberg tortes in Porvoo

But if you are not in a baking mood and it's not anymore January or February, you can still enjoy the pastry in one city in Finland! You will have to visit the beautiful city of Porvoo at 50km East from Helsinki. The poet died there in 1877 and in his memory the little dessert is always on the shelves!

Want one more tip? Next to the bus station, there is a white old house which doesn't look very interesting. But inside there is the café Cabriole. For me, it's the best place to enjoy a Runeberg torte. Soon there will be an article about this place.

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