Winners of the 2017 Helsinki Baltic Herring Market’s Herring Jury

The award for best seasoned herring went to Magnus Nyholm from Tirmo, with a score of 56 points. Second place went to Tanja Åkerfelt (Åkerfelts Service) from Sipoo with a score of 52 points, while third place went to Vento Aalto from Pyhämaa with a score of 50 points.

The herring surprise class was won by Liisa Vainio from Taivassalo, whose lemon and garlic herring scored 55 points. Second place went to Pirjo and Reima Salonen from Taivassalo, whose dill herring scored 53 points, while third place went to Juha Välisalo from Merikarvia, whose raw pickled herring scored 52 points.

This year, 15 competitors took part in the seasoned herring class and 21 in the herring surprise class. Thank you for participating!

This year the market was opened with a speech from Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki.

“It’s great that the focus of such a traditional event is still on Baltic herring itself. For me, the most enjoyable thing to do is to just walk around the Herring Market, soaking up the great atmosphere and of course sampling the herring and other islander-style delicacies,” says Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki. “The climate impact of food has become a topic of intense discussion in recent years, and in this regard Baltic herring stands up to scrutiny very well!”

The 2017 Herring Jury

As per tradition, the Herring Jury convened to taste herrings in the party tent in the Market Square during a Sunday brunch hosted by Tiina Lundberg, and the audience was also given a taste or two. This year’s jury consisted of author of the Vaimomatskuu blog Jella Bertell, Monocle journalist Petri Burtsov, Executive Director of the ELO Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Food Culture Seija Kurunmäki, Speaker of the Finnish Parliament Maria Lohela, Head of Communications and Marketing of the City of Helsinki Culture and Leisure Sector Saara Suojoki and Chef Ali Toppinen of the restaurant Hieta. The winners of Herring Jury 2017 were awarded on the party tent stage at 3:45pm. The prizes consisted of large Aallonmurtaja linen towels from Lapuan Kankurit, handmade brushes from Sokeain ystävät and Finnish, biodegradable Baltic Sea soap from Osmia.

“This was an absolutely amazing experience and it was a great honour to be chosen as a member of the prestigious Herring Jury,” says Chef Ali Toppinen of the restaurant Hieta. “The herring surprise class included plenty of good and tasty entries that could have taken home the prize. The fishermen have done a great job, so my thanks to them!”

“My experience of the Herring Jury was overwhelmingly positive! The task was very difficult, there were a lot of entries and the speed at which they had to be sampled was quick. Even so, a few favourites soon rose above the rest in both classes. I visit the Baltic Herring Market ever year at least once as a customer – Baltic Herring is one of my favourite fish,” enthuses Jella Bertell, author of the Vaimomatskuu blog.

Children were also given the opportunity to judge the delicacies on offer in the Herring Jury for Children, which explored maritime flavours and sampled Baltic herring under the direction of Meri-Tuuli Väntsi. This year a total of six enthusiastic gourmands between the ages 4 and 12 participated in the Herring Jury for Children: Luca (8), Nana (7), Niilo (8), Annikki (10), Inkeri (9), Sofia (12), Erik (8) and Mirco (4).

“I liked being part of the jury, it was really fun,” says Annikki, one of the members of the Herring Jury for children. “I was still a bit hungry after trying all the herring, but they tasted really good.” When asked how she would serve Baltic herring, Annikki replied “with potatoes and lemon.  I think lemon goes well with herrings, but it also makes them a bit sour,” says Annikki.