9 best vegan meals in Finnish islands – what I ate in Finland
Trying to follow my gluten-free vegan diet on the road can be a challenge in some destinations. I am usually pretty fine just eating raw fruit and veggies when the weather is nice but on the other hand when it gets colder, occasionally I am craving a warm vegan plate.
I have to say that when I visited the Finnish islands in July 2016, trying all the vegan meals they were preparing for me was such a nice surprise. I was the only gluten-free vegan in our group which made me appreciate the effort of the kitchen staff in all the hotels we stayed at even more as they had to prepare special meals for me. They not only did their best to make my meals taste great but also to look pretty.
If you ever visit Finnish islands and would love to eat healthier, give the following meals a try…
9 best vegan meals in Finnish islands:
1. Vegan pancake with plum jam at Silverskar
There is this tradition in some Finnish islands (at least in the Aland islands to which Silverskar belongs to) that the guests get greeted with pancakes and an alcoholic shot. But as traditional pancakes are not dairy-free, the Silverskar chef made a vegan pancake for me. I loved the plum marmalade topping, so yummy! Plums reminded me of my childhood summers spent at my grandparents’. Nom nom. PS: I did not drink the shot because I don’t drink alcohol at all.
2. Mushroom risotto at Silverskar
Those who know me are familiar with the fact that I used to hate mushrooms when I was a kid but in the past few years I began to be crazy about them. And one of my favorite cooked vegan meals is for sure a mushroom risotto. I also think that if you can make a tasty risotto which does not turn out very dry, then you are a really good cook! And they so know how to make it at the Silverskar 🙂 I do believe this was my first chantarell mushroom risotto I’ve ever tried and still remember the taste on my tongue. Loved the fact at Silverskar they make everything from locally grown mushrooms and vegetables (except the rice I guess).
3. Freshly picked berries
Berries are very common on the Finnish islands as they grow in the forests and gardens all around. You can find raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, Saskatoon berries and many other kinds. I have to say I was looking forward to having a bowl of them for breakfast each morning. Delicious! Berries are my favorite kind of fruit that grows in Europe and I just cannot get enough of them. Which is what made me include berries on this list as one of the vegan meals in Finland.
4. Mercedes Chocolaterie Amorina in Eckero
Unfortunately, we only had time to spend a few hours in Eckero on Aland going for a walk around the beach and port and then having a quick lunch at the Caffe Tsarevna. Just next to it, the Mercedes Chocolaterie Amorina can be found. Both are located in the historical Eckero Mail & Custom’s House. They have different vegan chocolate bars to choose from, but also dairy chocolate. I had a vegan chocolate bar with raspberries, oh my!
5. Vegan salad with peas and hummus at Cafe Tsarevna in Eckero
The vegan salad was not on the menu but the Cafe Tsarevna staff was so helpful and made me a salad with my favorite hummus. They were also very quick at serving us as we didn’t have much time to grab the lunch. I really enjoyed the young green peas as I eat them a lot if I happen to be at home in Slovakia in summer months. And in many places people do not know that you can eat the whle green peas, not just the rounded peas found inside. Yummy!
6. Rhubarb jam and rhubarb juice Pensar Syd
It is funny to see that I hardly ever eat any jam/marmalade but at Pensar Syd I was offered home-made rhubarb jam for breakfast and after trying one spoon I just had to keep eating it. I added a few spoons of it into my gluten-free granola with vegan milk. Haven’t had any granola for 8 months since my Ayurveda and yoga retreat in Bali in November 2015. Not a bad breakfast choice on a colder morning. They also know how to make really yummy rhubarb juice which we drank in sauna and pesto from the local herbs.
7. Seabuckthorn sorbet and raw vegan chocolate cake at Havsvidden
I am all about chocolate and when it’s raw, even better (but please don’t tell anyone as some people think I only eat super healthy meals and never ”cheat” with something sweet). I have to admit that the raw chocolate cake I had for dessert at Havsvidden was the best combined with the cold seabuckthorn sorbet. That’s what I call heaven on Earth! No kidding.
Seabuckthorn berries have a specific taste which I am very fond of, especially when it comes with something sweet such as chocolate. Remember, when in Finnish Archipelago, you have to try something made of local seabuckthorn.
8. Gluten-free vegan burger with potatoes at the Koulu Brewery in Turku
If you are looking for a healthy version of the well-known unhealthy meal, then this might be your choice. The Koulu brewery is mostly famous for other things, such as making their own beer and cider, and also burgers, hot dogs etc but you can definitely ask for a vegan meal, too. Just be ready to handle a bit of spicy kimchi inside of the burger.
9. Buy vegan meals and go on a picnik in nature
I recommend you apple or berry juice and iChoc vegan chocolate for dessert (the choco cookie and almond orange are both super tasty). Then make a salad of tomatoes, small potatoes, lettuce or other green leafy veggies, hummus/pesto and try different gluten-free vegan snacks/pastries to go with it.
I am not much into bread any more as I’ve spent more than 2 years trying to live without it completely but sometimes, especially when it’s colder outside and I am visiting new destinations, I do try some gluten-free vegan bread.
And in the Finnish islands they seemed to have more options to choose from. In every place I was offered something different, which is great! You can take these meals with you while going cycling (which is what we did on our last day), and then stop by a lake on the way or enjoy your lunch in Nagu/Nauvo overlooking the port.