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Joulupöytä (translated "Yule table") is the traditional assortment of foods served at Christmas in Finland, similar to the Swedish julbord. It contains many different dishes, most of them typical for the season. The main dish is usually a large Christmas ham, which is eaten with mustard or bread along with the other dishes. Fish is also served (often lutefisk and gravlax), and the ham is served with laatikkos, casseroles made with swede, potato and carrot, occasionally liver. The traditional Christmas beverage is either alcoholic or non-alcoholic mulled wine (glögi in Finnish).
The traditional dishes of joulupöytä include:
- Christmas ham with mustard
- Karelian stew (not served everywhere in Finland)
- Lipeäkala with melted butter and white sauce
- Gravlax and lavaret, often served with chopped red onion and sour cream
- Pickled herring in various forms (tomato, mustard, matjes or onion sauces)
- Potato casserole (sweetened or not, depending on the region and preference)
- Carrot casserole
- Liver casserole
- Rutabaga casserole
- Boiled potatoes
- Rosolli (salad from boiled beetroots, carrots, potatoes, apples and pickled cucumber. It's sometimes served with herring.)
- Mushroom salad
- Various sauces
Beverages most often served are:
- Schnapps such as Koskenkorva Viina as an appetizer
- Beer, often special Christmas varieties. Most Finnish breweries have seasonal beers for Christmas. Homemade beer is also common.
- Wine is nontraditional, but has grown in popularity
- Mulled wine (glögi) either alcoholic or non-alcoholic
The usual desserts are:
- Prune jam pastries also known as joulutorttu - Christmas tarts which are also called joulutahti - which means Christmas stars as they are made in a star shape.
- Gingerbread called piparkakku - commonly as round shapes, and sometimes as houses, usually the biscuits are not decorated, but the houses may be iced.
- Mixed fruit soup
- Kiisseli which is a plum runny desert commonly served with whipped cream.
- Rice pudding or rice porridge with cinnamon, sugar and cold milk or with raisin or mixed fruit soup called riisipuoro - rice porridge
- Ice cream with jam
- Confectioneries and other sweets, especially chocolates
- Coffee, the Finns prefer a mild roast and serve this as pannukahvi - made a special way. Tea, is less common and fruit teas become more common rather than just black tea. Glögi, glögi is usually served with almonds and raisins in it and is non-alcoholic. It is found in many public settings and while alcohol could be added it would be uncommon to typically offer it this way in contrast with other cultures that offer mulled wine, which is alcoholic.
Usually the rice porridge is served from a large, common kettle and an almond has been hidden in it. The one who gets the almond gets his or her Christmas presents first or gets a wish. Sometimes rice porridge is served as breakfast.
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