Place of origin
|Water, rye flour, powdered malted rye, molasses, Seville orange zest|
Mämmi is made of water, rye flour, and powdered malted rye, seasoned with dark molasses, salt, and dried powdered Seville orange zest. The mixture is then allowed to go through a slow natural sweetening process before being baked in an oven until set. Preparation takes many hours, and after baking the mämmi is stored chilled for three to four days before being ready to eat. Mämmi was traditionally stored in small bowls made of birch bark called tuokkonen or rove. Finnish packaging still prints birch bark-like texture on the carton boxes.
Generally mämmi is eaten cold with either milk or cream and sugar, and less commonly with vanilla sauce. It is also eaten by some spread on top of a slice of bread. There is a Finnish society for mämmi founded by Ahmed Ladarsi, the former chef at the Italian Embassy in Helsinki, who claims that there are around fifty recipes containing mämmi. There are a number of websites with recipes using mämmi most of which are in Finnish. Mämmi is also used as minor ingredient in a mämmi-beer by Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas.
Mämmi was mentioned the first time during the 16th century, in a dissertation (in Latin). It is claimed that it has been eaten in the southwestern region of Finland, ever since the 13th century, when Finland was a part of Roman Catholic Sweden. It is also claimed that it can be traced to medieval Germany. The food fell out of favour in Germany and now remains mainly in Finland and Sweden.
Persians use a very similar food in the Persian New Year which is the first day of spring. The Persian "mämmi" is called samanu and there have been speculations that mämmi originates from the Great Persian Empire.
Originally mämmi was eaten during lent. Its laxative properties were associated with purification and purging. As the dish keeps well for several days, it was also a convenient food for Good Friday, when cooking was against religious custom.
Modern mämmi is mostly mass-produced. Usually it is available only during the Easter season.
- Nordic Recipe Archive "Mämmi "
- The Finnish Mämmi Association "Suomen Mämmiseura ry"
- Helsinki Sanomat, 16.3.2005 "Mämmi Maestro. Ahmed Ladarsi is an expert on a Finnish delicacy"
- Suomen Mämmiseura ry "Mämmi Recipes"
- Myllynparas Oy "Mämmi ice cream "
- The Martha organization "History of Mämmi ", "Homepage"
- Nordic Recipe Archive "Origin"
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