That is to say this rare Arctic berry has become somewhat of an obsession for me and I´ve spent a disproportionate amount of time and money trying to track it down.
These delicate berries, in season for barely three weeks, can only be hand-picked from the swamps of the Northern Skandinavian countries. Such remote and enigmatic locations are often a closely guarded family secret, passed down through generations.
I remember exactly when my obsession with cloudberries began. It was mid-2007 and I began working in London´s Soho, next door to a café called Nordic Bakery. It was a treasure trove of Skandi goods, from piping hot cinnamon buns to gravlax on rye.
This is where I first picked up a jar of cloudberry jam (hjortronsylt) and from the first spoonful I was hooked. At £5 a jar it was an expensive habit (but surely cheaper than crack?), especially when you consider my penchant for eating it straight from the jar.
I dreamt about eating the berries fresh but was never in the right place at the right time.
Until this July when my trip to Helsinki was perfectly timed with a burst of hot weather and all the other necessary conditions for a stellar cloudberry harvest.
€12 for a small box seemed a bargain to try this prized berry and I sat happily in the grass outside the Hakaniemi Market Hall with my bemused Swedish friend Joakim, savouring them one by one.
The taste is unlike any other berry you´ve tried, each golden yellow nugget revealing sweet hints of pineapple and passionfruit.
Dessert menus in Sweden almost always feature cloudberries, often as a topping for ice cream, cakes or waffles. In Finland and Norway, cloudberries are usually eaten with cream and sugar.
One day I will dedicate my summer to picking these glorious berries – who´s with me??
Take me take me!!))) though, i’ve never tried them before, but they already seem so tasty to me))
Even if you can’t get close to Finland, cloudberry jam is more widely available around the world so try and track down a jar, perhaps try ikea!
You should try them with leipäjuusto (“Finnish squeaky cheese” by wikipedia) … delicious combination.
I did try this combination at a Lappish restaurant in Helsinki. Unfortunately my photo was terrible so i didn’t include it in the post. The cloudberry mixture was similar to the jam and just delicious!