Monday, April 02, 2007

Puukko and lingonberry jam

I am planning to spend part of my summer vacation in Israel, and have asked the relatives there what to bring to them from Finland. One guy wanted a puukko (a traditional Finnish knife); almost everybody wanted lingonberry jam. I am planning to take so much lingonberry jam that I will probably be arrested at the border as a clandestine lingonberry jam dealer, and I seriously think that somebody should sell lingonberry jam there commercially.

One interesting thing I noticed:

When the first relative ordered the jam, I asked "don't you have it there"? He answered "but of course not, lingonberry does not grow in Israel". Anu's reaction was pretty much the same.

Funny. I strongly suspect that pineapple does not grow in Finland, and I have still never had a problem getting it from a store. Ditto for bananas, mangoes, pomegranates, kiwis, and god knows what else. But Anu and my relative are right: the fruits and berries are exported from the south to the north a lot more than the other way around. You can probably get lingonberry jam in well-stocked specialty stores in southern Europe and in the US, but you get pineapples and bananas in every corner grocery store in northern Europe. Why is that?

Probably on a related note: the absolute worst (both by variety and quality) selection of fruits I've ever seen in a western country was on St. Martin.

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