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|Place of origin||Finland|
|Region or state||Northern Savonia|
|Main ingredients||Bread (rye flour), fish (usually vendace, European perch, or salmon)|
Kalakukko is a traditional food from the Finnish region of Savonia made from fish baked inside a loaf of bread. Kalakukko is especially popular in Kuopio, capital city of the Northern Savonia region. Kuopio is home to many kalakukko bakeries. The city also hosts an annual kalakukko baking contest.
Traditionally, kalakukko is prepared with rye flour (like ruisleipä), although wheat is often added to make the dough more pliable. The filling consists of fish, pork and bacon, and is seasoned with salt (unless the pork is already salted). After being baked for several hours, traditionally in a masonry oven, kalakukko looks much like a large loaf of rye bread. If prepared correctly, bones of the fish soften and the meat and fish juices cook thoroughly inside the bread. This results in a moist filling.
Traditionally, the fish used in kalakukko is either vendace (Finnish: muikku), or European perch (Finnish: ahven). Sometimes salmon is used. In southern Savonia the vendace is advocated as the only fish for the true kalakukko whereas in the northern parts of the province the same is said about the perch. Instead of fish, combinations of potato and pork or rutabaga and pork are also used. The appropriate drink to accompany kalakukko is buttermilk or piimä.
Kalakukko will keep for a long time when unopened. It used to be a practical lunch for workers away from home.
Kalakukko can be reheated in an oven. It takes about one hour in 130 °C (266 °F) if the size of the kalakukko is about 1 kilogram (2.2 lb). It can also be eaten cold. The usual way to eat kalakukko is to open the top with a sharp knife, eat the top with butter, and then slice some of the bread making the hole on the top larger and eat it with the filling.
Some Finnish speakers today find the name kalakukko somewhat amusing, as kala is Finnish for "fish" and kukko is "rooster", leading to the often used but non-morphological translation, "fish cock". However, the archaic form of kukko is derived from the same root as kukkaro (purse). Kukko also might come from a Finnish word of kukkula, hill, because the dish is elevated.
Hanna Partanen's kalakukko bakery
Hanna Partanen's (1891–1969) kalakukko bakery in Kuopio, Northern Savonia was Finland's most famous kalakukko bakery at its time. Famous guests have included American and Soviet presidents along with President of Finland Urho Kekkonen. The bakery still bakes kalakukko by hand from Finnish materials in the same central location at Kasarmikatu 15 in Kuopio. The bakery is currently run by Hanna's grandson Lauri Partanen and employs 10 to 20 people depending on the season.
- "Perjantaina klo 12.30 - Yle Uutiset Keski-Pohjanmaa". areena.yle.fi.
- EU Profile-Kalakukko (accessed 19 July 2010)
- "Hanna Partasen kalakukko elää ja voi hyvin" (in English: "Hanna Partanen's kalakukko is alive and well"), YLE 29 November 2010. Accessed on 21 September 2017.
- Media related to Kalakukko at Wikimedia Commons