Today once again the flags are raised everywhere in the country, also on our building, because it’s Runeberg Day. Johan Luvdig Runeberg is Finland’s national poet and composer of the National Anthem’s text. Funnily enough (at least I find it funny), Runeberg was from Swedish speaking Jakobstad (in Finnish Pietarsaari – although I have no idea what Peter’s island has to do with Jack’s city), and therefore of course wrote in Swedish.
The words of the national anthem “Maamme” (“our land”) are taken from the Swedish poem “Vårt land”, part of the long verse cycle “The Tales of Ensign Stål”. The melody for the anthem, by the way, was composed by a German, Fredrik Pacius (and is apparently also used as the national anthem of Estonia- but Finns and Estonians are good friends after all). Doesn’t seem terribly Finnish to me.
To mark the occasion, of course there is a special piece of pastry, the Runeberg tartlet. Allegedly Runeberg’s wife Frederika invented it and served it to him every chance she got. I just dared to try one without knowing what exactly it was – a scary idea in a country that hides Salmiakki (salty liquorice) in pretty much everything and considers Mämmi (a baked good that apparently tastes pretty much like Guinness and looks like it has already been eaten and digested) delicacies. The dough of Runeberg tartlets contains lots of cream and almonds, leftovers of bread and/or Christmas biscuits (well, they have to go at some point!), and the one I had also had candied orange in it – I really could have done without those. On the top comes a big dollop of rhaspberry topping and some icing for decoration. And then, alas, the whole thing is soaked in rum. Personally, I think it is an insult to sweet dishes to bring them near any kind of alcohol. Without the rum and the oranges, it would have been quite tasty though. If you want to bake them at home, good luck – I couldn’t find an English receipe that sounded correct, but try google translate on this one – it sounds like it could be pretty much the right thing.