Flow Festival feasts to the rhythm of sustainable food

Each food vendor must serve at least one dish that meets Flow's sustainable food guidelines.

Sweet & sticky donut from Way Bakery / Credit: Ester Laiho, News Now Finland

While festival attract the crowds with headline music acts, they also have some other tricks up their sleeve to pull in the punters.

Flow Festival, taking place this weekend in Helsinki’s Suvilahti neighbourhood, organises a walk from the city centre; and Family Sunday to cater for kids.

But when it comes to playing their ace, Flow serves it up on a platter: sliced, diced, grilled and fried.

This year there’s 40 different food vendors to choose from, including some of the country’s hottest restaurant brands, a Michelin-starred chef, and trucks showcasing the latest foodie trends.

“I guess I will have to go through all of the food stalls, there’s so much to choose from. I might need to skip a few gigs to make sure” says Anikó Lehtinen, beer expert and food journalist.

“I think it’s brilliant that so much thought has been put into food. Very often that’s not the case at festivals – and the environmental aspect too with Sustainable Meals!” she says.

Sustainable servings 

As News Now Finland wrote last summer, Flow is paving the way for carbon neutral festivals.

Some of the ways this is achieved is through promoting public transport, donating money to environmental projects, recycling and up-cycling, and only hosting food vendors that follow the festival’s own sustainable food guidelines.

Each vendor must serve one dish that has been prepared according to the guidelines, with  a special emphasis on minimising food waste.

A good example? Cauliflower tacos from Lopez y Lopez who started their business just this summer.

Cauliflower tacos from Lopez y Lopes, Helsinki / Credit: Ester Laiho, News Now Finland

Another way that food vendors can cut down on their waste is to serve the food in edible dishes.

One stall to opt for this is Munchies by Chef Matti Jämsen, who has represented Finland in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or cooking competition, and designed in-flight menus for Finnair.

Last year Jämsen’s chicken in waffle was awarded the title of ‘Best Festival Food’ by Gloria’s Ruoka ja Viini magazine.

This year the mac and cheese waffles sold out on the second night of Flow. Luckily, there was plenty of chicken, cauliflower and sausage to go around – all served in the edible cones with no extra packaging.

Matti Jämsen’s festival food served in waffle cones / Credit: Ester Laiho / News Now Finland

Flow Festival goers had plenty of options again this year when it comes to vegetarian and vegan food options.

Maannos has a fully vegan menu that highlights seasonal vegetables. Their dishes vary from artichoke tartare to bilberry milk and classics like Finnish summer soup.

Summer soup served by Rainvola Maannos, Helsinki / Credit: Ester Laiho, News Now Finland

Traveling around the world for food inspiration, Flow Festival has no shortage of Asian eateries like Lie Mi, Haiku Sushi and Mad Wok.

Twisted Street Kitchen, a Helsinki favourite tucked away on the edge of Kamppi and Etu Töölö neighbourhoods, is a staple at Flow.

Massaman curry from Twisted Street Kitchen / Credit: Ester Laiho, News Now Finland

Flow also makes sure everyone’s sweet tooth is also satisfied with vendors like Powau and Valio’s Jäätelöfabriikki. Many stalls serving savoury food also had a few dessert options, one of them being Way Bakery, with their pumpkin pie-flavoured donut: sweet and sticky.

Sweet & sticky donut from Way Bakery / Credit: Ester Laiho, News Now Finland

Flow’s food selection has something for everyone but also follows the festival’s ideology of sustainability. Last year 46 per cent of Flow’s food dishes sold were vegan or vegetarian.

This year, organisers hope to top that number which shouldn’t be too difficult with so many choices on offer.