Monday, 4 July 2011

A Finnish Breakfast

Best breakfast ever: Talkkuna with viili and black, strong coffee
Talkkuna flour is made from whole oats, barley and dried pea. It tastes pretty much like toasted rye bread and mixed with low-fat viili (soured milky product - a little like yogurt) tastes just delicious.

My daughter who spent a year in Finland recently tells me I'm pretty unique in still eating this old-fashioned stuff but I think it is the best breakfast fare ever.

When I was growing up in Tampere my mother would mash the flour into freshly picked lingonberries and sprinkle it with a little sugar to make pöperö. We'd all eat it straight from the bowl, fighting over who'd get the most spoonfuls.

When the Englishman saw me mix my first breakfast bowlful of viili with Talkkuna on our honeymoon in Finland, he made jokes about the consumption of such foodstuffs being enough cause for an annulment of the marriage vows.

He says it tastes like wall-paper paste.

But I wouldn't be swayed by the opinion of an Englishman. Didn't think the English had a leg to stand on when it came to culinary matters. They ate spotted dick and couldn't produce a decent cup of coffee anywhere in those days.

So when we first moved to the UK, I phoned the Laihian Mallas factory to see if they could send me regular supplies of Talkkuna. (For some reason I couldn't find the flour at Tesco's - go figure?) A kind man in marketing told me I could have industrial quantities, but even my passion for the stuff couldn't cope with 1,000 bags of Talkkuna in one go. Besides, I couldn't get viili anywhere, although I was willing to make my own. All you needed was the culture from one pot...

As you can see I'm a true Talkkuna girl - any others out there?


Margit said...

A lovely post! For expats, food is a very important topic... and always the last thing to go,how ever long one lives in another country. (Especially when that country is England, she says mischievously;)

Olli Miekka said...

Helena, you don't mention where you get your supplies from these days! Have you found somewhere, or do you have to rely on visit to or visitors from Finland?

Helena Halme said...

Margit, I'm glad you liked the post. It's true that food becomes a very emotional subject when you move countries...

I have learned to live without Talkkuna between supply's really the viili which is the problem. Any suggestions are gratefully received????

Helena xx

Metropolitan Mum said...

Never heard of Talkkuna - but I am going to look out for it next time I am up North. Do they have it in Sweden? xx

Helena Halme said...

M Mum,

Some people in Finland have never heard of Talkkuna - it's quite a regional product to where I was born in Häme - so they don't have it in Sweden, I'm afarid. They don't even stock viili in Sweden; their filmjölk is much more sour and runny.

I'm always amazed when I see Talkkuna on the shelves in the stores in Mariehamn, I always fear this year they will have stopped making it!

Helena xx

Rose said...

the sour milk stuff is so good! am recently back from a Swedish wedding and it was available at the hotel every morning and all the other Brits hated it but I could get enough! and I didn't sweeten... I think I must have been nordic in another life

Helena Halme said...


The Englishman loves Filmjölk and has it for breakfast every day when we're on the island.

Perhaps you have Viking genes????