Happamia Oy is a Finnish Limited company that imports berry, fruit and vegetable vinegars made by an Austrian company Gegenbauer Essige into Finland, and also organises tasting events to spread the word of vinegar knowledge. These powerhouses of taste deserve to be better known and loved amongst home chefs!
These vinegars are produced from natural juices, first by fermenting them into wine and then continuing the process with aerobic fermentation in order to create the required acetic acid concentration. No flavour enhancers or additives are used at any stage of the process.
It is planned in near future Happamia Oy will also start producing vinegars made of Finnish natural forest berries as well as from berries grown by a select group of partnering Finnish farmers. This tightknit community of small-scale farmers has the drive and know-how to refine these treasures of the Finnish forests, bringing them to the next level and to market, for example in German-speaking Central Europe.
Happamia also means sour in Finnish.
As a child, my favourite autumn activity was to go berry and mushroom picking in the forest. It was never about having to fill the buckets and baskets up to the rim, but more about the adventure of being in the beautiful nature. During this time, I got to know and understand the Finnish flora and fauna well and of course no trip would have been complete without enjoying a little snack whilst sitting on a tree stump or moss-covered rock. Later as an adult, the autumn forest has offered almost a magical atmosphere to wander about in and find a place of calmness and serenity away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. And what a joy it is in the middle of the darkest winter, to pull straight out of the fridge or freezer some self-picked forestry goodness!
Good honest food and preparing it has long been a passion of mine. What could be better than sitting at the table with some great friends sharing delicious food, news and stories!
Having spent some of my informative childhood years in Germany, as well as studying at university there, has equipped me with in-depth knowledge of this country’s language and culture. Germany is one of Finland’s main trading partners and I myself have long held a passion to bring Finland and its produce to Central European markets.
Could my language skills and love towards good food and the forest somehow be combined?
Some years ago, there was a documentary about Vienna’s famous Naschmarkt Market. One company especially stayed with me – Gegenbauer Essige – which produces vinegar from multiple types of fruit and vegetables. I thought to myself: why can’t one buy such products here in Finland? And also, wouldn’t Finnish wild berries make a great raw material for such aromatic vinegars?
Frustrated by the situation, I marched straight to a shop selling stationary and bought myself some good old-fashioned note paper. I sent a letter to this Austrian guru of vinegars asking after this potential gap in the matter I had discovered. Before I had even hoped the letter had reached its intended receiver in Vienna, an email reply was already in my inbox. Soon I was sitting in a plane to meet my new vinegar master, and the first steps in establishing Happamia Oy had been taken!
This is the journey that I am now undertaking. In the first stage I will start by introducing Gegenbauer’s vinegars to the Finnish market. The second step of the journey will be to introduce the world to the tastes of the Finnish forest – in the form of our own authentic vinegars produced with the Gegenbauer method!
During my journey into the world of delicates I have had a great pleasure in meeting some fantastic people, who share my love and passion for good food and authentic, genuine and real tastes. I sincerely believe that this group will form a strong network and act as ambassadors for Finnish flavours taken to the world.