Sunday, May 16, 2010
In addition to the palpable happiness throughout the country, the Finns also celebrate asparagus for a few weeks each May. During "Parsaviikot" each restaurant has various dishes added to its regular menu featuring either green or white varieties of this delectable vegetable.
Kauppatori, the main central market in Helsinki, I noticed that the asparagus for sale was not from Finland, but from Holland or Spain. Surprisingly, there were a number of vegetables that were from Finland ("Suomalainen" items included radishes, parsnips, peppers, and even tomatoes), but the things everyone craved, asparagus and strawberries were from other countries.
From a locavore perspective, it's a little off. But from a seasonal perspective I totally get it and I appreciate celebrating food that is in season rather than forced into season.
While asparagus seems like a national obsession from the menus in all the restaurants, there is still a lot of local food. For example, I noticed that a good deal of cheeses and meats served at the breakfast buffet at my hotel are from Finland. In addition, there are the amazing false morels.
deadly poisonous if not cooked properly and illegal in many countries. Yikes! Okay, maybe THAT is why they celebrate with asparagus.