A slow start to the season is predicted due to cold conditions at the beginning of this summer.
Most Finns holding crayfish parties will, however, purchase the delicacy rather than trying their own hand at fishing. The native noble crayfish in Finland have become something of an expensive rarity. The signal crayfish are less painful on the pocket.
For many, the crayfish season is the highlight of the annual culinary calendar. The crayfish are boiled alive, usually the previous day, and are served up with fresh dill.
A little practice is needed to master peeling and opening the fish. A special crayfish knife is used sometimes to break the very hard crayfish shell and claws. Lemon and smetana (sour cream) can be added according to taste.
Schnapps are an essential accompaniment at the crayfish dinner. First-timers are often caught unawares by the frequent number of toasts!
Crayfish parties were first held in Sweden in the late 19th century and the custom quickly spread to Finland. In Swedish-speaking areas of Finland, it is not unusual for partygoers to sing a variety of schnapps songs at these very festive occasions.