Valio, owned jointly by dairy farms, produces dairy products for institutional kitchens as well as household use
Founded in 1905, Valio started through exporting high-quality Finnish butter, which was collected from small creameries and exported jointly from Hanko. The product range quickly expanded, and today Valio is a company owned by 5,500 dairy farms, which works primarily for its producers, who are also its owners. Valio is now the largest producer of dairy products in Finland, with over 25,000 employees and dairy farms throughout Finland from the Turku archipelago all the way to Utsjoki in the north.
In 1933, Valio began producing the now-legendary Koskenlaskija cheese, which is still made using the same recipe. In the 40s, Koskenlaskija found its way into the rations of remote patrollers in the Continuation War, and since then, its good preservability has earned it a place in the packs of hikers. For many Finns, Koskenlaskija is familiar from trips to the summer cottage, possibly bought from a mobile shop: Koskenlaskija could well be stored in a cool basement, for example, if the cabin was not equipped with a fridge.
The secret recipe has remained the same for over 80 years, and the traditional taste and shape have been complemented by several other products to continue the story of Koskenlaskija. At the moment, the cheese is available as four different flavours of soft Ruoka & Dippi food and dip cheese, cheese spread, unseasoned and cheddar-flavoured slices, and five flavours of the traditional pieces.
Valio products used every day at Restaurant Nereidi
Arkea’s lunch restaurant Nereidi in Turku uses Valio products, and particularly Koskenlaskija, all the time. Service supervisor Marta Heinonen considers the trusty cheese a perfect flavouring in just about any food.
‘At Nereidi, we use Valio products every day. Koskenlaskija can be used anywhere, in soups, pasta dishes, sauces, stews, and casseroles. The soft version is particularly easy to use in cooking,’ Heinonen says.
The most peculiar Koskenlaskija recipe originates from World War II, when cheese was used with coffee as a substitute for milk. Another example of the versatility of the uses of Koskenlaskija is the chilli chocolate cake made by the Valio experimental kitchen, in which Koskenlaskija is also used. However, the most traditional way is to have thick slices on rye bread.
The Nereidi kitchen uses Valio milk as well as cheese every day. The Koskenlaskija products for institutional kitchens may differ slightly from the products for household use, as the packages are often larger and the cheese may have been made into a more easily usable crushed or running form. However, corresponding products are available on the shelves of your local store.
Recipes made for Valio:
- Pita burger with Koskenlaskija
- Fish soup with Koskenlaskija
- Pasta casserole with smoked ham and aubergine
- Mifu pizza Bianco
- Koskenlaskija and salsa sauce