“You have Lachs in your hair,” said my husband as he gingerly picked a bit of salmon off of me and flicked it to the ground. I didn’t care; after three years in the US we were finally back at our favorite little holiday market.
The Finnish Christmas Market is more of an open house for the Finnland Center, than a full-scale holiday market (for that we’ll have to wait one more week). There are stalls of handmade crafts (many out of Marimekko fabrics), Finnish candies, and even an iitala booth. This year, instead of squeezing everyone into the itty-bitty courtyard, the market was spread out within the center. This made it so much easier to get what we really went there for: the food.
First up: Glöggi or Finnish-style Glühwein. I don’t know how this differs from the German version, but I find it so much better. We had ours with an extra Schuß of vodka and extra almonds. S had a kinderportion of warm spiced grape juice.
The drinks are the perfect way to start, because the line for the Flammlachs and Elchbratwurst were very long. The Flammlachs, literally “flame salmon,” is a whole side of salmon, covered in rock salt and honey, then cooked directly in a wood-burning fire. Here’s a look:
Photos courtesy of Jon who very much wants to take one of those wood-burning ovens home.
The salt was a little too much for my taste, but easy enough to scrape away. Each piece of salmon was served on a slice of dark rye bread, which the man serving the salmon told us had to be imported. We also tried it with a slice of boiled reindeer, which wasn’t as big of a hit with us.
And then there was the elk sausage! Last time we were here, the cook couldn’t keep enough of them on the grill and we didn’t get a taste at all. This time I still didn’t get a taste – S wouldn’t let me!
If that didn’t fill us up, the dessert table certainly did. The only thing I know for sure is that we had Finnish cardamom buns. The cakes – all delicious and covered in cream – are sadly unknown. One of them had lingonberries and the other two were some sort of Christmas flavour. As you can see in the photos, there was very little difference other than the shape. Further research is certainly necessary.
The Finnischer Weihnachtsmarkt is held only one weekend a year, usually before the main market season starts. If you’re in the Berlin area and missed your chance for Glöggi with the Finnish community, you can still visit the Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt in der Kulturbrauerei. The Swedish market opens this week and runs through December. You can read about our last visit here.