Member of the salmon family, vendace (Coregonus albula) is a small freshwater fish found mainly in the lakes of northern Europe and Russia, but also in the Baltic Sea.
The size of vendace ranges between 10 to 20 centimetres.
Vendace is widely eaten in Finland, where it can be caught in most larger sized lakes. Vendace is prepared in numerous ways: it can be salted, marinated, poached, smoked or baked inside pies or rye bread dough, or just simply fried in butter. Whole small vendace, which are only about
five to seven centimetres long, are deep-fried in oil and freshly served as delicious finger food.
Vendace roe the Nordic "golden caviar"
Vendace roe is harvested towards the spawning season in late October.
It is regarded as a great delicacy in Finland, served especially at Christmas time. In Sweden, Kalixlöjrom is the brand name for the top-quality Swedish vendace roe, harvested from the Bothnian Bay vendace.
Be aware that many lower-quality vendace/whitefish roe products, like those produced in the USA, often contain additives like artificial colours. The high-quality Finnish and Swedish vendace roes are natural products and include no other additives than salt.
In picture on right: jars of salted, frozen vendace roe. Around the Christmas 2009, the price per 1 kilogram of Finnish vendace roe, sold by the best-quality Finnish department store Stockmann, was about 86 euros (left-side jar), while the price per 1 kilogram of Swedish Kalix vendace roe, sold at the Stockholm airport, was about 195 euros (right-side jar).