May Day celebrations in Helsinki
Guest Blogger April 28, 2016

You can tell the summer is finally coming as you get to the First of May, known as Vappu in Finland. At this time of the year it may still be too cold to have traditional Vappu brunch outside but you can also have it at your home. All you need is delicious snacks, homemade mead, funnel cakes and doughnuts. Oh yes, and some nice cava or champagne to go with it.

Kuva: Heidi Kjellman
You can easily have a May Day brunch at your home! Photo: Heidi Kjellman

I prefer to focus on celebrating the first of May instead of actual May Day (Vappu) Eve. It is nice to wake up early and prepare the brunch with no rush. Most often we have fresh salads, filled croissants and salmon mousse with rye crisps.

This year I was on time with my process of making mead. You can find the recipe for the traditional Finnish mead below. It reminds me of the Vappu carnivals of my childhood with balloons and colorful decorations.


Traditional  Finnish Mead ”sima” (4 litres)


4 litres of water

500 g brown sugar

juice of two lemons

⅕ tsp of yeast


You also need:

funnel for the bottling

4 glass bottles of one litre

a handful of raisins

4 tsp of sugar


The process:

Boil two litres of water and mix it with sugar in a large bowl. Add the rest of the water and the lemon juice. Let the mix cool down to lukewarm. Dissolve the yeast with a small amount of water then mix it in. Let the mead ferment for about 24 hours in room temperature. Pour one teaspoonful of sugar and couple of raisins inside each bottle. By using the funnel mix in the mead.

As the raisins rise to the surface the mead is ready. In a fridge, the mead is ready in about one week and in a couple of days when kept in room temperature. For lighter colored mead, replace half of the brown sugar with white sugar.


Here are some nice restaurants in Helsinki serving an absolutely delicious Vappu brunch:

Karl Fazer Café, Kluuvikatu 3,–ravintolat/karl-fazer-cafe/karl-fazer-cafe/

Hotel Kämp – Brasserie Kämp, Pohjoisesplanadi 29,

Restaurant Sunn, Aleksanterinkatu 29 (2nd floor),


Written by Heidi Kjellman.

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