Ever since former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was left with egg on his face thanks to local pizza chain Kotipizza, Finnish food and ingredients have been enjoying a growing audience of appreciative foodies globally.
Here are five prime examples from the past 12 months.
Chilli and barbecue brand Poppamies tasted international acclaim back in September at the International Flavor Awards in the US for its Cherry & Cola BBQ Sauce.
”Poppamies’ Cherry & Cola sauce was launched in April  and has made waves domestically throughout the long Finnish summer,” we wrote. “The sauce is made for barbecuing, but it works well in other cooking as well, since the taste is derived from actual cherries.”
Not content with producing delicious rye bread on a mass scale, Finland’s bakeries have busied themselves with other alternatives. In 2018, Fazer’s cricket bread won the Bronze Lion in the Sustainable Development Goal section at Cannes Lions, under the Responsible Consumption and Production category
With each loaf containing 70 powdered house crickets, the bread made the world sit up and pay attention.
“As a major operator in the industry, our actions also set an example for others to follow,” commented Markus Hellström, managing director of Fazer Bakeries. “Food production has an enormous effect on the environment and society.”
Last year, Finnish dairy company Valio’s MiFU strips were named the best new brand at the World Dairy Innovation Awards. The unique product can be used as a substitute for meat or chicken and is best served in a hot meal.
“One of the most important tasks of product development was developing a texture that could be pan-fried,” explained Valio researcher Niko Nurmi. “Creating a good texture and mouth feel, however, wasn’t enough: the product also had to remain the same when heated and be easy to use in food preparation.”
Valio stepped up to the podium on two occasions last year, also taking home the prize in the Unsalted Butter category at the 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest in Wisconsin, the US.
The butter was lauded especially for its superior flavour and consistent, high quality. The butter is one of Valio’s most important export products and is used by dairies, bakeries, ice cream makers, food processing companies and other industrial customers in more than 30 countries around the globe.
“Valio’s customers and consumers around the world appreciate not only the outstanding taste of Valio butter, but also the fact that it is made from pure, high-quality Finnish milk,” said Annamari Lammi, the director of international marketing at Valio.
“Our butter-making craftsmanship spans beyond a century,” she added.
Premium raw honey producer Hikiän was awarded at the world’s largest annual food trade show, Gulfood, in February last year. The company was recognised in the Best Health and Wellness category. Unheated, untreated and sourced directly from the bee hives, the end product is 100 per cent free from pesticides and GMO.
“It all comes down to the purity of our product,” master beekeeper Reko Nieminen told us, pointing out that the Finnish climate and clean nature have had a distinct effect on the honey’s success. “Finland’s summer offers a short window for harvesting the honey.