Your favorite movie, a cozy armchair, a large spoon and a bucket of ice cream - have you already formed a Bridget Jones-style evening relaxation puzzle in your head? We are ready to add spice and premium to it - we are talking about an unusual, but very useful novelty of the Finnish dairy giant Valio (spoiler: you only need your favorite combination of flavors and try not to eat everything at once).
The gastronomic history of Russian-Finnish relations is long-standing. Few people know, but Nicholas II on a tsarist scale bestowed the high-profile title of "Supplier of the Court of His Imperial Majesty" to Valio: he really liked the taste of Finnish oil, which they began to supply to Russia ─ just think! ─ in 1908. During the Soviet years, the company actively exported Viol processed cheese (it has been registered on our counters since 1956) and was even the only supplier of dairy products to the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
Valio in Russia
Since 2014, the "sanction" year, Valio has been actively developing its own production in Russia. Today, under the Finnish brand, we manufacture more than 130 types of products - including at the Ermann, Kohmeister and Allgoy factories (Moscow region), at the Galaktika production plant (Leningrad region), at the Velikoluksky dairy plant (Pskov region) and "Ryazan agrokombinat" (Ryazan city). Valio has its own plant located in the village of Ershovo, Odintsovo District, Moscow Region. Launched in 2006, the plant specializes in the production of Viol and Oltermanni processed cheeses, as well as the slicing of hard yellow cheeses. Something is supplied to Russia only from Finland - for example, a non-dairy assortment (juices, fruit drinks, gloggs), baby food, lactose-free products and … ice cream.
Finnish ice cream
In Finland, Valio is a giant that owns 12 factories. Ice cream is produced at a factory in Oulu, the fifth largest in the country (population just over 200,000), located deep in the northwest. It also produces up to 150 types of products - branded milk, kefir, cream, sour cream and curdled milk, yoghurts, puddings, smoothies, etc., etc. Valio's own ice cream line was re-launched in 2018 (in 2004, the Finnish concern sold the ice cream division to Nestle). When the "lease" period expired, the Finns decided to resume their production.
All Valio ice creams are produced in a “family” format - in cardboard buckets in 480 grams packaging.
Valio ice cream is made from pasteurized Finnish milk and cream without vegetable fats. Receiving and processing milk at the plant is a whole story. Raw materials are taken for production 24/7 (milk flows to Oulu from more than 5,000 Finnish farms), and each batch is subjected to physical, biochemical and microbiological control.
A little about the quality of Valio milk:
Then the milk is cooled, separated and pasteurized: in huge tanks, the milk is heated to 80 degrees and kept for several seconds to 40 minutes - after such processing, harmful microorganisms are destroyed, and useful ones are preserved.
Virtual tour of the factory:
Next, the ice cream ingredients are mixed according to the recipe: cream and dry ingredients (including partially powdered milk), as well as lactase are added to the milk. The enzyme lactase breaks down up to 98% of lactose in cow's milk, after which it breaks down into simple sugars - glucose and galactose. The original milk composition and taste are preserved, and there is no longer any danger of intolerance to the product. Why do this at all? Milk sugar intolerance (or lactase deficiency) is a problem faced by up to 30% of Russians who are forced to completely or partially abandon their favorite dairy products and even treats. Undigested after a glass of milk, eaten yogurt or curd cheese, lactose upsets digestion and has a bad effect on health. By the way, lactose begins to be absorbed worse with age,therefore, it doesn't hurt to know that lactose-free dairy products exist in nature.
Valio ice cream is the only lactose-free ice cream in Russia.
But let's move on. After mixing according to the recipe, the future ice cream is homogenized - under high pressure, the mixture is mixed until smooth. Repeated pasteurization and a few more active stirring are needed in order to make the texture of the ice cream pleasantly creamy. Finally, the almost finished ice cream is cooled and at the last stage they work with its taste - adding fillers, i.e. caramel, jams, chocolate, etc.
DIY Finnish ice cream master class:
Line of flavors
In Finland, Valio ice cream is sold with licorice and chili, with the taste (and appetizing crumb) of carrot cake and with pieces of the noble Aur cheese with blue mold. The assortment on the Russian market is poorer, but no less valuable. Today in Russia in stores (supermarkets "Okay", "Perekrestok", "Prizma", "Azbuka Vkusa" and online stores Ozon, "Utkonos") you can find Valio ice cream with tastes of "Strawberry and Basil", "Makiato", "Caramel "," Blueberries and Bread "and a new product -" Supervanil ". Of these, four flavors do not contain gluten (the exception is ice cream with bread crumbs), and the filler content in each form is at least 15%.
Valio ice cream in Russia
The editors would like to thank the Finnish tourism office VisitFinland for help in preparing the material and organizing the trip to the production site and to the Valio headquarters
Photo: archives of press services
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