Lapland may be a land of snow and ice but it also has a highly under-appreciated food culture thanks to its fresh wild berries, locally caught fish and rare game such as reindeer. These staples of Lappish cuisine, and Lappish culture in general, can be explored at these top food markets and events.
Finland’s largest travelling market attracts over 1.4 million shoppers from across Finland every year with over 100 merchants from 30 countries across the world. The market arrives in Lapland in early September, stopping in Tornio and Rovaniemi, bringing international cuisine, crafts and gifts to Lapland. Some of the best food stalls to try out are the French crepes, the Spanish churros, and the unusual Australian crocodile and kangaroo burgers. You may need to visit during all three days of the fair to taste everything!
Arctic Superfoods is based in Levi and takes ingredients from Lappish nature such as birch leaves, sea buckthorn, and lingonberries and crams them all together into healthy snack bars. These bars can be found at numerous retailers across Finland and at Rovaniemi airport. Each bar boasts of containing ‘100% Finnish Nature’ and bringing out all the health benefits of these naturally sourced ingredients.
Rovaniami’s main square hosts many of the city’s big markets and events, but even on a regular summer day (and even on some winter days) you can find local farmers and food stands selling vegetables, berries, flowers and coffee. Check it out for a taste of local culture and the freshest Arctic fruits and vegetables right as they come into season. The nearby Lordi’s Square (named after Finland’s most famous heavy metal band) also contains several food stands and opens up to Rovaniemi’s main shopping centre.
Cloudberries are small yellow berries native to the Arctic regions and one of the key staples of Lappish cuisine, making great jams, liquors or toppings for Finnish leipäjuusto (bread cheese). The Ranua Cloudberry Market has been held annually in early August for nearly 50 years. As well as celebrating the berry harvest, there are numerous events such as chain sawing contests, discgolf, and the crowning of the ‘Hill Maiden’.
Finland’s largest charity event is also an annual celebration of the old times and life in Lapland, featuring costumes, crafts and food. You can pet the reindeer from the local farms, watch traditional musicians and performers, and taste traditional Lappish cuisine cooked on an open fire. While each fair has its own theme (the 2018 fair commemorates the centenary of the Finnish Civil War), you will see visitors in costumes from every time period – from cavepeople to Victorians – so it’s worth putting on your best costume to join in with the atmosphere.
While it is called the fish market, this event held in Posio in July is really more of a community fair selling all types of food and gifts. The ‘muikku’ or vendace (a species of freshwater whitefish), which gave the fair its Finnish name, are still a major draw. However, visitors are often challenged to see how many they can eat whole in one sitting. Visit for a fun local event and delicious fresh food in a vibrant and friendly community.
Each of Lapland’s Christmas markets are magical but the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is particularly special. As well as being an all-year-round Christmas market, the buildings and festive atmosphere of the village make it one of the most beautiful marketplaces at Christmas time. For food, you can enjoy traditional Lappish meals at the restaurants, a warm hot chocolate from the cafes, or some fresh fish or meat to make a Lappish Christmas dinner.
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