so finland has a number of these 'flag days' that commemorate their most beloved/famous people. runeberg day is the first that comes each year and perhaps peoples most favorite, though i think this is primarily due to the dessert baring his name that can be found in the stores around this time.
anyway he was the national poet of finland and lived from 1804-1877. he wrote in swedish and mostly about rural finnish life and its hardships. perhaps his most famous poem of all is called 'the tales of ensign stål', about the finnish war of 1808–09 with russia (this was when sweden lost finland to russia). anyway, i looked to see if the helsinki library had anything by him in english...nope. this is a bummer, but perhaps i can read something in english from the other flag day people that come up throughout the year.
as for the desserts, it was said that he ate these 'runeberg tortes' (as theyve come to be known) each morning for breakfast. ive always seen them packaged as two, so im not sure if he ate two each morning or if its just convenient packaging. whatever, they are delicious. a dense spiced, almondy kind of cake with raspberry jam on top encircled by powdered sugar icing. i even found a gluten-free variety this year. devoured. i am however always startled by their nipple or breast-like appearance (being sold in twos doesnt help the matter)...then again, the favorite national snack of rice pies (riisipiirakka) looks alarmingly like lady parts...oh finland, you may not rival the french in tasty delicacies but you can match them for sauciness!
(gluten-free runeberg tortes)