FINLAND: Crispbread with herring, mustard, and vodka

I found several Finnish ingredients that I’m going to put together into a nice little dinner – crispbread with toppings! I know you can have a lot of leeway with toppings, but I’m going to aim for Scandinavian flavours incorporating foods imported from Finland. Here’s the Finnish foods I’ll be using:

Linkosuo Nettle Crispy Rye Bread – Two interesting things – it’s flavoured with nettle, which gives it a very subtle vegetal taste. The other is the size and shape – I’m used to getting crispbread that’s in flat rectangles, not a huge round circle. The circle with a hole is a Finnish tradition – it’s meant so you can store your bread up on rafters.

Valio Viola Cheese Spread – A light, almost white processed cheese spread, I’d say it tastes a lot like Laughing Cow.

Viking Pickled Herring Tidbits – I like pickled herring, and these come in small little pieces – perfect for a topping. They also have a bit of flavouring to them – I’m thinking a little bit of allspice or nutmeg? Neither would be surprising, those are both used a lot with meat in Scandinavian cooking.

Turun Sinappia Strong Mustard – A Finnish mustard that comes in several strengths – mild, strong, and fiery. I got the strong version, and it’s got the same kind of “use the cap to puncture it open” seal that I normally don’t see on foodstuffs. It’s got a good honey mustard taste; I have a feeling it’ll go great with the herring.

Finlandia Vodka – Crucially, you gotta wash your meal down with ice cold Finnish vodka.

I’m going to rustle up some other ingredients – I’m thinking hardboiled egg, cucumber, maybe tomato as well and see where my creativity takes me.

The perfect thing about the big round crispbread is that you can make sections with different topping combinations. I’m going for a few combos – I put Viola on 3/5 of it and some kajmak on the rest. On the kajmak I put tomatoes and cucumber (my fav combo on crispbread – goat cheese works well too). I put some of the same on the Viola cheese, as well as a section of cucumber, hardboiled egg, mustard, and pickled herring. I kept one section of Viola and lingonberry jam as a bit of a dessert and, of course – a shot of ice cold vodka to wash it all down! While I couldn’t find a shot glass, this thin glass fit perfectly in the hole.

Now the question is – how to eat it? I assume snapping it into sections will be the least messy way to go, but I don’t think there’s a way to eat it without at least some mess. Great flavour combinations all, though, a full meal deal!

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