Season 2, Episode 22
Päivi explains how ice cream is made at Wirtalan Jäätelö and gives a surprising answer to the question ‘What is South Ostrobothnia’s favourite flavour?’
Guest: Päivi Virtaniemi, Entrepreneur and co-founder of Wirtalan Jäätelö
Download an MP3 file of this episode
My conversation with Päivi at Wirtalan Jäätelö starts with her assertion that Finland ranks highly among ice cream consuming countries. My cursory research seems to agree. Finns, reportedly, enjoy 70 million litres of ice cream annually, an average of 14 litres per person!
Päivi then explained the Farmers Ice Cream business model, which is only available to those who own their own dairy. Wirtalan Jäätelö on uses locally sourced ingredients: milk from the neighbouring dairy, berries etc. She then recounts the story of how they developed the recipe for the local favourite flavour, TAR. Yes, tar, and the stronger, the better! Although maybe this isn’t so strange when compared with the local varieties in France (fish flavour) and Germany (beer flavour).
Photo gallery: Wirtalan Jäätelö
We then moved into the production room. Päivi told me how the milk is collected and carried to the small factory. You’ll hear her describe one of the recipes and explain that these must be followed very precisely. With over 2,500 recipes at her disposal, it’s no wonder there’s a large recipe book on-hand.
The Farmers Ice Cream machine is a highly technical, precise piece of equipment. The manufacturing process, though, is easily explained and is relatively short. The mixture of milk, cream, carob powder and flavours (syrup or berries etc.) is poured into a cylinder on the top. Here, it is heated to pasteurise the milk, to kill any bacteria, before being transferred to the bottom cylinder. This is where the hot mixture is frozen to minus 11, while being stirred as it freezes. This process can make 10 litres of ice cream every 17 minutes.
Finnish Words in the Episode
- Jäätelö – Ice cream
- Virtala – Village in which Wirtalan Jäätelö is located
- Kyytselän Jäätelö – Kyytselkä is a small town in Central Finland. Kyytselän Jäätelö was the first company in Finland to make Farmers Ice Cream .
- Terva – Tar
- Johanneksenleipäpuu – Carob powder; can also be used an alternative to cocoa powder
- Kuortane – Nearby village to Virtala (see episode 10)
- Prisma – One of the duopoly of large grocery store in Finland…
- City Market – …the other one!
- Salmiakki – Salty liquorice.
- Turkin pippari – Super-sour flavoured sweets
- Wirtalan Jäätelö
- Farmers Ice Cream
- Virtaniemi Wedding venue now trading as Juhla- ja pitopalvelu Makoosa
Next episode – Finnish Football Show #1 – Veikkausliiga 2015 Review