Torsten Stålhandske’s Dutch adventure

GARS had the honour of fighting in the Staatsen army in de Slag om Grolle, the greatest European 17th century event, last October. There were no Finnish troops present at the historical Siege of Grolle of 1627, but in fact Finnish soldiers did take part in the Dutch-Spanish war six years later. In the late summer of 1633 the Dutch paid for Swedish cavalry to join Frederick Henry’s invasion of Brabant. The force of around 1000 Swedes and 650 Finns was led by legendary commander of Finnish ”Hakkapeliitta” cavalry: Torsten Stålhandske. Colonel Stålhandske had just been wounded in the siege of Hameln but apparently not very seriously: he, like many other famous commanders of the time, was rumoured to have been bulletproof by magical means.

Born in Borgå, Finland, Torsten Stålhandske had Swedish father, Finnish mother and was raised by Scottish stepfather. He was friends with several Scottish officers in Gustavus Adolphus’s army and because of that his deeds are well covered in William Watt’sThe Swedish Intelligencer, where is noted that Stålhandske ”speakes excellent good english”
Photo: Tomb effigies of Torsten Stålhandske and Christina Horn in Turku Cathedral, Finna.

Mustered in 22th of August, the Swedish force was paired up with 3000-strong contingent of Hessian horse, and when Hessian commander Dalwig resigned Stålhandske was put to the head of the whole force and appointed as Hessian generalmajor: a bit later he received the same rank also in Swedish army, so the Dutch adventure did benefit Stålhandske’s career development. It did less impact militarily: the enemy commander, Marquis of Aytona, avoided confrontation so apart from a couple skirmishes in September there was very little action or effect. For the latter part of their service, Stålhandske’s force was sent to set up a camp on the Maas river. 

There were also problems with payment, so parts of the cavalry force resorted to looting. The Hessians especially were quick to start terrorizing the peasantry (the Dutch complained that they only had joined the fight because they’d already eaten everything in Westphalia) but a bit later, while stationed in Liege, also the Stalhåndske’s own men did their share. Dutch reports from the beginning of October speak of  ”…met rouven ende plunderen van adelijk huijsen ende geheele dorpen”. From the casualty lists we know that also Finns did fight with the civilians and one trooper was sentenced to death, probably for pillaging.  

Prince of Orange Frederick Henry, stadtholder of Netherlands. His first impressions of the Stålhandske’s men’s equipment were not so terrific: ”…de Septembre Stalhans arriva avec cinq cents chevaux aucunement bons hommes mais mal armés & montés.” Memoires de Frederic Henri Prince d’Orange

Soon after the clashes with civilians of Liege the Swedish-Finnish cavalry was released from Dutch service and sent back across the Rhine. The Dutch paid Swedish crown 600 000 guldens for the short (under two months) and quite irrelevant service of Stålhandske’s men: a huge sum, twice the size of annual subsidiary Sweden received from the France. It was not a particularly hard campaign for the Finns: casualty lists mention four cavalry troopers fallen in the Netherlands: Simo Karppi, Lasse Mortensson, Mats Grelsson, and Matts Mattson. And then Eskil Hendrichson was murdered by peasants and Jaakko Larsson was executed. 

More on the subject:

Detlev Pleiss: Der Zug der finnischen Reiter in die Niederlande via Wesel 1633 (1998)
Sebastian Jägerhorn: Hårdast bland de hårda : en kavalleriofficer i fält (2018)

On Viena Route

On the first weekend of October GARS members participated on a historical trek with our parental organization Harmaasudet. It took place in Suomussalmi, northeastern Finland, and followed so-called Viena Route which is an ancient trade route from Baltic Sea to White Sea, through Finnish region of Kainuu and Russian region of Viena Karelia. In the 17th century the most important trade good on the route was salt, that was imported from the trading town of Kemi on the shore of White Sea (not to be confused with other Kemi in Finland) where local Karelian population had salt-extraction industry. Finland had no natural salt resources as the Baltic Sea is too low-salted for extraction.

Dead route marker tree on Aittojärvi ridge

Transportation on the Viena route was historically mostly done by small boats, following rivers and lakes and on few places hauling the boats overland. Old walking paths follow the same route on high ridges, and for a modern trekker walking on them is of course most accessible way of experiencing the route. During the last decades the paths have been investigated archaeologically and one of the many alternative paths has been renovated for trekkers. Route is often very easy to follow becouse it is constantly lined by pilkkapuu axe-marked trees, some of them very old, an centuries-old way of making route markers. On some places, however, modern roads and heavy logging have destroyed stretches of the route.

The oldest route marker tree in Finland – from year 1682

We did a two-day historical trek on the renovated route and also on some bypaths: the marked Itärajan retkeilyreitti -path that runs alongside the eastern border of Finland, and on smaller border guards’ path. Like always on our historical treks, everyone attending did it in a historical kit: this time we had mixed time periods, so some of us went in medieval kit, some preferred 17th century and some wore early 20th century clothes. Obviusly we walked only the Finnish side of the route: after the Finnish independence in 1917 the Viena Route hasn’t been in cross-border use, at least in a non-military way.

Paths typically follow high ridges

One of the oldest descriptions about the Finnish side of the Viena Route can be found in a 1650 map made by Claes Claesson, a cartographer of Count Per Brahe, general governor over Finland. A border crossing point in Vuokinlatva, between Korpijärvi and Latvajärvi is marked on the map.

Detail of a 1650 map of Kajaanipori (modern Kainuu) region by Claes Claessonin. University of Jyväskylä. You can download the full map.

On the Claesson map you can find the Finnish names for many of the lakes that also the trekking route follows: Kevättijärvi, Palojärvi, Aittojärvi ja Viianginjärvi. Below is a modern map with the same lakes and the main 30 kilometer long Viena trekking route marked with black line.

Origin of the map

Also on the Claesson map there is a single red circle by the Aittojärvi lake. That means a farm or a house, but there aren’t any nowadays. The area is now called Isoautio, “big deserted place”, and archaeologists have found remains of a 17th century farm from there. From the tax documents of the era we know that peasant Antti Hyry owned the Aittojärvi farm back then, and becouse there still is a farm called Hyry few kilometers east, it is possible that the older farm was simply moved into a new place.

Porrasjoki river

Still continuing in the world of maps, there is also a slightly older source for the place names on the Russian stretch of the Viena Route: the map of Northern Russia by Isaac Massa, from year 1633. Below is a detail of it: in the left you can see the Gulf of Bothnia and city of Oulu (Uleåborg), then straight to east the big lake Oulu (Ula Tresk) and the Cajana castle in Eastern Finland. On the right there is the White sea and on it’s shore the town of Kemi. Many place names in the Russian side of the border are on Karelian (finnic) language, or in a mixture of Karelian and Swedish: Maanselkeby comes from Karelian Maanselkä (“Land’s back”: water divide) and swedish by, village. It is probably modern Latvajärvi on the Russian side of the border, just east from the Finnish village of Raate. “Paiersvi Tresk” means Pääjärvi-träsk, literally Main lake-lake.

Detail of a map Karta Rossii I. Massy 1633, The New York Public Library digital collections. You can download the full map

Author of the map Isaac Massa was a Dutch trader, writer and Russia expert who visited Viena Karelia himself. For many history enthusiasts he is anyways probably best known from this painting by Frans Hals

Wedding portrait of Isaac Massa and Beatrix van der Laan, Frans Hals, Rijksmuseum

Crossing the Kaartosuo bog

Border guards’s path between Hangaslammit lakes


von Essen’s infantry regiment in 1626-1628

Story continues from previous post about the battle of Weichselmünde 1628. Now we take closer look at the Finnish infantry present at that battle. The sources are the same, Hakkapeliittain Historia II by Arvi Korhonen (1942) and Pohjan Prikaatin Historia by Stig Roudasmaa (1984).

Alexander von Essen’s infantry regiment was formed in 1626 as a result of king’s military reforms: in Finland, three large landsregements were divided into smaller, more numerous regiments, themselves organized after new Dutch model. The new länsregements were clearly provincial in character, even though during Gustavus Adolphus’s time they were not yet officially named after their provinces but after their colonel. The von Essen’s regiment was reqruited from Ostrobothnian province and later came to be called the Ostrobothnian Infantry Regiment, with province’s coat of arms in its flag.

Ostrobothnia province (Pohjanmaa in Finnish, Österbotten in Swedish) is in northwestern part of Finland, the eastern shore of the Bothnian Gulf: coastline of fishermen’s villages on the islands and small towns trading furs and tar, and flat inland part with wealthy and rebellious peasantry.

Botnia Orientalis in Olaus Magnus’s Carta Marina from 1539. ”They build ships here” written near Närpes.

During 17th century, not much unlike today, the coastal villages of Pohjanmaa were predominantly Swedish-speaking and the inland Finnish-speaking. So also the von Essen’s regiment was bilingual with some companies, like Colonel’s and Major’s, drawn entirely from coastal villages and thus Swedish-speaking in character, while von Falkenberg’s (later Hume’s) company was made of men from the Finnish-speaking areas like Ilmajoki and Laihia. Lichton’s regiment was drawn from extreme north part of the province, Kemi and Ii areast that reached far into the wilderness that is modern Lapland.

And to add to two native languages, there were the multinational officers, with names like Suther, Lichton and Hume (Scots) and Schultz and von Falkenberg (Germans). There were also several native Swedish officers and some Finns too. The commander of the regiment, Alexander von Essen, was himself a Baltic German from Estonia. Before becoming commander of the Ostrobothnian regiment at the age of 31 years, he had already served in Prince of Orange’s lifeguard and in Venetian, Spanish and Polish armies.

Link to colonel von Essen’s biography

The regiment was first gathered in one place at 27.7.1626 in the city of Turku, Finland. There were 1123 men waiting for ships to take them to Prussia and to war. Equipment was lacking, most of the men were dressed in their own clothes, in Finnish peasant style that was not suitable for parades. Many were unarmed. In the last minute the regiment received a shipment of hundreds of muskets and pikes and several hundred meters of cloth for new uniforms. Also new flags were received, 24 infantry flags for two regiments (the other was Horn’s regiment). Too bad we don’t know what those flags looked like!

Folk Costume of a Peasant from Österbotten. Anonymous watercolour, end of 17th c. Nationalmuseum Sweden.

We can assume that the clothing situation improved during the war and by 1628 the regiment was mostly dressed in military fashion instead of peasant clothes. At least the hardware was fine: from the beginning of August 1627 we have list or regiments weaponry.

The whole regiment had 485 muskets and bandoliers. Most companies had full 72 musketeers but two companies had only 42. Every company had full 54 pikes, 432 in total. Every pikeneer had an armour (steel harness) and a helmet, also about one quarter of the musketeers had a helmet too. There was a sword virtually for every man, 1024 in total. On the summer of 1627 the regiment had around 1050 men, but at least 150 of them were ill at any given time.

For almost the whole duration of king’s Prussian war the von Essen’s regiment was part of the field army while the other Finnish regiments were garrisoning Livonian castles and cities. So amongst Finnish infantry units the von Essen’s unit was the one that saw the most action in the campaign – a similar role the Hastfehr’s Savolax infantry has later in the German campaign.

The field army in Prussia, beginning of June of 1628, Dirschau (now Tczew, Poland)


Cavalry, foreign (mercenary) 16 companies
Cavalry, Swedish 23 companies
Cavalry, Finnish 7 companies
Cavalry total 46 companies 3769 men


Infantry, foreign (mercenary) 33 companies
Infantry, Swedish 32 companies
Infantry, Finnish 8 companies
Infantry total 76 companies 7641 men

Only Finnish infantry unit in the field army was von Essen’s regiment. Even though the foreign infantry regiments were probably more presentable than the Finnish regiment, it was still seen strong enough to be the main body of king’s daring secret attack on Polish and Danzig fleets in the end of June (look at the previous post in the blog).

This is the list of von Essen’s eight companies, their officers and strengths before the battle of Weichselmünde at the end of June 1628:

von Essen’s eight companies, June 1628

Company commander Lieutenant Fähnrich Marching strenght (incl. officers) Sick Original area of recruitment
Col. Alexander von Essen Hindrich Ledebur Fromholt von Rosen 122 6 Nykarleby, Jakobstad
Maj. Nils Larsson Hindrich von Stammer Johan Plöger 116 12 Malax, Närpes
Capt. Anders Persson Jöns Elofsson Joachim Höfring 96 18 Kalajoki, Pyhäjoki
Capt. Joachim Schultz Peter Brieger Gert von Schrowe 99 4 Vörå, Lapua
Lt.Col. Casper Koskull Wadsten Jönsson Bengt Hindersson 111 22 Kronoby, Karleby
Capt. Patrick Hume Hans Nilsson Thomas Hume 104 13 Ilmajoki, Isokyrö, Laihia
Capt. Norman Suther Grels Thomasson Hans von Horn 98 42 Kemi, Ii
Capt. John Lichton Wadsten Meier William Lichton 96 36 Oulu, Hailuoto


Every summer a new conscription run was made in the homeland and the regiment was reinforced with 437 new recruits in the summer of 1627 and 304 men in 1628. They were shipped to Prussia in small groups, some boats sailing from as far as Oulu (Uleåborg). The boats were not warships but small, locally-made one or two-masted cargo ships called kuutti/kreijari or skute/krejare and leased from the burghers of coastal towns. It took at least a month to sail from Oulu to Pillau and it was probably not a pleasant experience for new soldiers. Apparently all ships and most of the new soldiers made their way to Prussia safely. After the sea journey they were free to start dying from diseases.

More information about the Ostrobothnian shipbuilding and period’s shipping from these websites (in Swedish mostly):

In the first two years of the regiment lost 254 men, around 20% of its original strength, most of them to diseases. This does not include the new recruits that also of course also died in droves. The actual fighting killed less than 100 men.

Weichselmünde 1628

In the beginning of July GARS is attending historical event Weichselmünde 1628 in fortress Twierdza Wisłoujście, Gdansk, Poland. For once we have chance to present actually Finnish soldiers in foreign event! So, even if we are the bad guys to the Polish it’s an honor to attend!

Gdańsk, Twierdza Wisłoujście, latarnia i domy oficerów

Wisłoujście Fortress.

This is a first of two blog posts about Finnish troops in king Gustavus’s field army in Prussia during the summer of 1628. First, we look at the most dramatic battle of that year’s campaign, the one most associated with the city of Gdansk/Danzig and the Vistula mouth fortress. Below is what Finnish historians have written about it. Sources are a classic study Hakkapeliittain Historia II by Arvi Korhonen (1942) and Pohjan Prikaatin Historia by Stig Roudasmaa (1984).


Map of Wisłoujście Fortress.

In the end of June the king launched a special operation that had been planned in secrecy: attack on the Polish and Danzig fleets that had been hiding from the blockaging Swedish navy in the Weichselmünde harbour. Led personally by the king, the troops chosen to this mission consisted of the Alexander von Essen’s Finnish (Ostrobothnian) infantry regiment as the main body, supported by four [or eight] cavalry companies: they also had eight leather cannons, two larger half-kartaune cannons and two boats transported in carts. This force, not much bigger than 1000 men strong in total, crossed the difficult swamps east of Vistula river mouth where the enemy didn’t expect anyone to attack, especially not with artillery!

One-pounder leather cannon, Deutsches Historisches Museum. Photo © GARS 2017.

On the early morning of 26.6.1628 (in modern Gregorian calendar: 6.7.1628) the king’s troops reached the Vistula river and the fleet anchored there. Artillery attack started: two of the Polish ships were sank almost immediately, and others took several damage before fleeing to Danzig with the help of tailwind. The attacking force came under the fire from Weichselmünde fortress and the Finnish infantry lost 12 soldiers and one company commander, Scottish-born captain Patrick Hume. After the ships had fled to safety it was decided not to try to attack the Weichselmünde fortress because of heavy rain, and the force returned back to Dirschau where the rest of the field army (totaling over 11000 men) was stationed.

In the next post we take closer look at the men of von Essen’s Finnish regiment.

Hyvää Kustaa II Aadolfin päivää!

Tänään GARS täyttää kolme vuotta ja juhlan kunniaksi haluamme jakaa kanssanne Matthaeus Merianin vuonna 1632 maalaaman muotokuvan kuningas Kustaa II Aadolfista punaisessa puolalaistyylisessä takissaan.

Kustaa II Aadolf kävi 1620-luvulla kovasti sotimassa Puolassa, mutta GARS ei ole vielä ennättänyt elävöittämään näitä kahinoita. Toivottavasti pääsemme tulevaisuudessa paikkaamaan tätä puutetta jossakin mainiossa tapahtumassa Puolassa!

GARS toivottaa hyvää Kustaa II Aadolfin päivää!

Happy Gustavus Adolphus Day!

Piirakkaa ja pannukakkua / Pies and pancakes

GARS osallistui heinäkuun lopussa pohjoismaiden suurimpaan pehmomiekka- eli bofferitapahtumaan Sotahuutoon.  Emoyhdistys Harmaasudet on ottanut osaa sodankäyntiin jo ensimmäisestä tapahtumasta lähtien, ja kun tämän vuoden tapahtuman teemaksi oli valikoitunut Nuijasota, päätimme osallistua yhteistyössä GARSin kanssa. Musketit vaihtuivat tussunuoliin ja piikit hopeapatukoihin, kun hollantilainen palkkasoturiryhmä Grolsche compagnie waardgelders lähti sotimaan Ruotsin aateliston riveissä!


In the end of this July, GARS participated in the largest padded weapons fighting event in the Nordic countries, Sotahuuto. Our mother organization Harmaasudet/Greywolves has participated since the first event in 2005, and when the Finnish rebellion Cudgel War (1596/1597) was chosen as the background story for the event, it attracted some people from GARS. So we changed our muskets to padded arrows, pikes to duct taped swords and started the fight as Dutch mercenary unit, Grolsche compagnie waardgelders.

Photo by Jari Kuskelin

(c) GARS


Koska elävöitimme huippumuodikasta ulkomaalaista palkkasoturijoukkoa, halusimme näyttää sen myös vaatteissa, leirissä ja tietysti ruoassa. Leiripaikalla ei ollut mahdollisuutta tehdä avotulta, joten kokkaaminen oli hoidettava yhden kaasukeittimen avulla. Koska ruoanlaittomahdollisuudet olivat normaalia rajoittuneemmat, piti suurin osa ruuista tehdä etukäteen tai mahdollisimman vähän laittoa vaativina. Mikä olisi helposti kulkeva ja etukäteen valmistettava ruoka, joka ei välttämättä tarvitse kylmäsäilytystä? Piiraat!


Since we were depicting high-fashion foreigners, we decided to go all in with our clothing and camping, and especially food. We weren’t allowed to make fire in the area and were able to get only one gas stove with us, so food had to be prepared in advance or with some light preparation. What’s easy to carry, doesn’t need to be stored in cold and could be made beforehand? Pies!

Lisäksi oli leipää, juustoa, hedelmiä ja leikkeleitä / There was also bread, cheese, fruits and meat (c) GARS

Tarjolla oli kolmea erilaista piirasta: yksi perjantain iltapalaksi ja kaksi lauantain lounaaksi. Lisäksi söimme mm. savukalaa, makkaroita, grillikanaa, kasvispataa, mantelikeksejä, mansikoita ja lettuja. Kaikki perustuivat 1600-luvun lähteisiin.


There was three different pies: one for Friday evening and two for Saturday lunch. We also ate smoked fish, sausages, grilled chicken, vegetable stew, almond cookies, strawberries and pancakes. Everything was based on 17th century sources.

Photo by Jari Kuskelin

Yhtä piirasta varten tarvitset kaksi pakettia valmista piirakkataikinaa (pohja+kansi) tai saman verran voista ja jauhoista tehtyä perustaikinaa. Et tarvitse vuokaa, vaan taikina toimii itsessään säilytys- ja tarjoiluastiana. Ohjetta voi helposti muokata myös pasteijoiksi. (helppo peruspiirakkaohje täällä)


For one pie, you need enough ready-made or home-made pie pastry to make the top and bottom of the “coffin”.  You don’t need any pie mold, since the pie is made whole and keeps the filling inside. You can also make pasties with this receipe. (basic ingredients for a pie pastry here)

Photo by Jenna Marttila

Lihatäyte / Meat filling

(lähde/source: The Accomplish’d Lady’s Delight In Preserving, Physick, Beautifying, and Cookery, 1675)

400 g jauhelihaa (alkuperäinen ohje on lampaalle, mutta myös esim. naudanpaisti toimii) / minced meat (the original is for lamb, but other meats, like beef, works too)

1 hapan omena (ei alkuperäisessä, mutta esiintyy muissa lähteissä) / green apple (this is not in the original, but comes up in other period receipes)

1-2 dl rusinoita / raisins

Mausteet / Spices:

muskottia / nutmeg

neilikkaa / clover

valkoviinietikkaa / white wine vinegar

sokeria / sugar

suolaa / salt

Kuutioi omenat. Paista jauheliha kypsäksi, lisää loppuvaiheessa omenat niin, että ne vähän pehmenevät. Sekoita täytteeseen rusinat ja mausta makusi ja säätysi mukaan.

Cut the apple into cubes. Fry the minced meat until it’s cooked. When it’s almost done, add the apple cubes so they soften a bit. Mix with raisins and season according to your taste and wealthy.


Kasvistäyte / Vegetarian filling

(lähde/source: The Cooks Guide: Or, Rare Receipts for Cookery, 1654)

250 g tuoretta pinaattia / fresh spinach

250 g lehtikaalia (toimii lämmitettynä paremmin kuin alkuperäisen ohjeen salaatti, jonka tarkasta lajikkeesta en ole ihan varma) / kale (baked better than ‘lettuce’ from original receipe, which I have no idea what kind of plant it meant in the 17th century)

4 munaa (tekee piiraasta ruokaisamman) / eggs (makes the pie more filling)

Mausteet / Spices:

tuoretta meiramia / fresh marjorum

muskottia / nutmeg

sokeria / sugar

suolaa / salt

Paista pinaattia kuivalla pannulla ja matalalla lämmöllä niin, että se menee kasaan. Pilko lehtikaali. Yhdistä pinaatti ja lehtikaali sekä mausta makusi mukaan. Voit joko sekoittaa kananmunat täytteen joukkoon tai levittää täytteen piirakkapohjalle, jonka jälkeen teet täytteeseen koloja ja rikot kananmunat niihin. Joissain ohjeissa piirakkaan lisätään myös keitettyjä kananmunia, joko ehjinä tai paloina.

Fry the spinach on low heat until it collapses. Chop kale. Mix spinach with kale and season according to taste. You can mix the eggs to the filling, or if you want, you can spread the filling to the pie bottom, make small holes to the filling and pour the eggs there. In some receipes you can also put boiled eggs to the filling, either whole or chopped.


Päärynä-brietäyte / Brie and pear filling

(lähde/source: Eenen nyeuwen coock boeck, 1560)

200 g Briejuustoa / Brie cheese

2 päärynää / pears

2 munaa / eggs

sokeria / sugar

Keitä munat koviksi ja viipaloi ne. Viipaloi brie ja kuutioi päärynät. Levitä piirakkapohjalle kerroksittain päärynöitä, brietä ja munia, ripottele päälle makusi mukaan sokeria.

Hard boil the eggs and slice them. Slice Brie and dice the pears. Fill the pie bottom with layers of pear, cheese and eggs, and sprinkle sugar on top.

Kun haluamasi täyte on valmis / When the filling is done:

Levitä täyte kaulitulle taikinapohjalle. Kauli myös kansi ja peitä piiras. Käännä pohjataikina kannen päälle ja painele sauma tiiviiksi. Halutessasi voit koristella pinnan ylijääneestä taikinasta leikatuilla kuvioilla ja sivellä kananmunalla. Pistele haarukalla muutamia reikiä piiraaseen ja paista uunin keskitasossa 175 asteessa piirakan paksuudesta riippuen 30-45 min.

Spread the filling to the rolled out pastry bottom. Cover the pie with rolled pastry. Turn the edges of the bottom on top of the cover and secure the seam by pressing it with your fingertips.  If you want, you can decorate the pie with left-over pastry or paint it with egg. Stick some holes to the pie and bake it in 175 C for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pie.

Nautitaan Saimaan rannalla auringon laskiessa / Enjoy by the beautiful lake Saimaa when the sun sets. (c) GARS

Huoltojoukot tulivat tarpeeseen / Service troups were much needed. Photo by Kristiina Tarkkala



Mämmiä ja äkseerausta Turussa / Some mämmi and drill in Turku

GARS kävi esiintymässä Turun linnalla maaliskuun ensimmäisenä sunnuntaina. Pikenööripäivään sisältyi kaksi äkseerausnäytöstä linnan pihalla, tutustuminen linnaan ja erityisesti Valtapeliä – Reformaatio Suomessa -näyttelyyn, sekä kylmä lounas 1600-luvun sotilashengessä.

On the first sunday of March, GARS made a trip to Turku Castle. We had two pike drill shows, visited the castle and especially their exhibition on reformation in Finland, and had a cold lunch in 17th century military style.

Turun linnan pihalla / At Turku Castle courtyard (c) GARS 2017

Noin tunnin äksiisin jälkeen nälkä alkoi olla jo aikamoinen. Nautimme lounaan linnan renessanssisalissa lähes autenttisessa 1600-luvun ympäristössä. Tosin sotilaat eivät olisi näin hienoihin tiloihin päässeet, vaan ruoka olisi tarjoiltu linnantuvassa.

After one hour drill we started to get hungry. We had our lunch in the renaissance hall of the castle in an authentic 17th century surroundings. Although back then, soldiers would have eaten in the common dining hall.

Keihäät kulkevat hyvin myös kapeassa portaikossa / Pikemen can go also in narrow staircases (c) GARS 2017

Koska käytössämme ei ollut keittiötä, valmistimme ruoat etukäteen. Tarjolla oli perinteisen ruisleivän, juuston, lihan, kananmunien ja kalapiirakan lisäksi länsisuomalaista erikoisuutta, mämmiä. Mämmi tunnetaan jo katolisen ajan paasto- ja eväsruokana, ja myöhemmin siitä tuli suosittu pitoruoka. Mämmiä syödään nykyisinkin koko Suomessa pääsiäisen tienoilla, joten katolisesta tavasta ei suinkaan ole kyse!

We didn’t have kitchen, so lunch was prepared beforehand. We had rye bread, cheese, ham, boiled eggs, salmon pie, and local Western Finland speciality, mämmi. There are mentions of mämmi in the Middle Ages during Lent and as food for travel, and later it became a festive dish. Mämmi is still popular in Finland during Easter holidays, so it’s in no way a catholic tradition!

Lohipiirakkaa, mämmiä ja muita tarjottavia / Salmon pie, mämmi and other dishes. (c) GARS 2017

Mämmi valmistetaan ohramaltaista ja ruisjauhoista imeltämällä.  Imeltämisessä maltaiden ja rukiin tärkkelys pilkkoutuu sokeriksi. Tärkeintä prosessissa on lämpötilan pitäminen tasaisena, jotta imeltyminen onnistuu. Sokeri on ollut harvinainen yläluokan herkku aina 1800-luvulle asti, ja jos hunajaankaan ei ollut varaa, oli imeltäminen ainoa keino valmistaa makeita ruokia. Ohje on sovellettu Marttojen ohjeesta.

Mämmi is made from malt and rye flour by a special technique called imeltäminen. It’s what happens when starches in malt and rye are modified into sugar in certain warm temperatures. It is important to keep the temperature steady for the whole process. Imeltäminen creates a sweet taste, which was hard to achieve before sugar came into wider use in the 19th century. Honey was also expensive, so imeltäminen was the only way to make sweet dishes.

Mämmi 1600-luvun tapaan / Mämmi in 17th century style

1. vaihe / stage
1 l vettä / water
200 g mämmi- tai kaljamaltaita / malt
400 g ruisjauhoja / rye flour

2. vaihe / stage
1,5 l vettä / water
150 g mämmi- tai kaljamaltaita / malt
300 g ruisjauhoja / rye flour

1. vaihe. Kuumenna vesi poreilevaksi (n. 70 astetta) isossa kattilassa. Sekoita veteen maltaat ja ruisjauhot. Ripottele pinnalle hieman ruisjauhoja. Peitä kattila kannella. Anna imeltyä 1½-2 tuntia lämpimässä paikassa, esimerkiksi uunissa 50 asteen lämmössä. Imeltyminen tapahtuu 50-75 asteessa, joten lämpötilaa ei saa ylittää eikä alittaa. Onnistunut imeltyminen tekee seoksesta juoksevampaa.

1. stage. Warm the water to ca. 70 degrees Celsius in a large kettle. Add malt and rye flour and mix together. Sprinkle some flour on top and cover the kettle with a lid. Put the kettle to an oven in ca. 50 C for 1½-2 hours. The modification of starch into sugar happens in 50-75 C, so that should be the temperature for the whole process.  If imeltäminen is done correctly, the mix should be a bit more runny than when it was put to the oven.

(c) GARS 2017

2. vaihe. Kuumenna vesi poreilevaksi ja lisää kattilaan. Sekoita joukkoon maltaat ja jauhot. Jatka kuten edellä ja anna imeltyä taas pari tuntia lämpimässä uunissa.

2. stage. Warm the water to 70 C and add to the kettle. Add more malt and flour to the mix and let it stay in the oven as in stage 1 for a couple of more hours.

(c) GARS 2017

3. Tässä vaiheessa mämmin tulee olla löysän puuron vahvuista. Lisää tarvittaessa jauhoja. Keitä seosta 10 minuuttia koko ajan hämmentäen varoen pohjaan palamista. Jaa mämmi tuokkosiin, leivinpaperilla vuorattuun uunivuokaan tai foliovuokiin. Jätä kuohumisvaraa noin 1/3 vuoan korkeudesta. Astian on hyvä olla laakea, ja mämmiä noin 5 cm paksuinen kerros, jotta nestettä haihtuu riittävästi.

3. Now the mix should resemble thin porridge. Add flour if it’s too runny. Boil for 10 minutes, stirr constantly and be careful that the mix doesn’t burn. Pour it into traditional bowls made of birch bark, disposable folio dishes or oven dishes covered with baking paper. Fill the dishes 2/3 full. Mämmi should not be more than 5 cm thick, so the moist evaporates more effectively.

(c) GARS 2017

4. Paista uunin alatasossa 170 asteen lämmössä 2½-3 tuntia. Mämmi on parhaimmillaan muutaman päivän kuluttua. Tarjoa kylmänä.

4. Bake in 170 C for 2½-3 hours. Mämmi is best after a couple of days in the fridge. Serve cold.

(c) GARS 2017

Nykyään mämmi syödään useimmin kerman ja sokerin kera. Kermaa ei kuitenkaan olisi ollut 1600-luvulla tarjolla tähän aikaan vuodesta, koska lehmät olivat talven ja kevään ummessa. Lypsy onnistui vain kesäisin ja syksyisin, kun lehmillä oli tuoretta ruokaa. Lisäksi suurin osa kermasta käytettiin voin valmistamiseen, eikä ruoanlaittoon. Ja kuten mainittu, sokeria ei ollut aikakautena yleisesti saatavilla.

Nowadays mämmi is usually eaten with cream and sugar. But in the 17th century there would not have been cream available during winter and spring, only in summer and autumn, when there would be fresh food for cows. Most of the cream was also used to make butter, not in cooking. And as mentioned before, sugar was not widely available in the early modern period.

Zum bier! (c) GARS 2017

Kuvia tapahtumasta / More pictures here: