Friday, 7 June 2013

Happy Joe - Happy summer

Man, we food bloggers have been spoiled of late. First, in the middle of this sweltering heat of Helsinki we were treated to an ice cream launch and then there was the launch for organic cider from Happy Joe! I could certainly get used to this...






Happy Joe ciders were first launched autumn 2012. I, even as a relentless  recreactional user of the particular beverage, had never tried any of them. I blame the fact that they are not available in Spain. But now I have and I can tell you I was surprised. In a good way.

The head of ciders at Hartwall Juhani Mertsalmi explained that there's an increasing demand for dry apple ciders in Finland too. And true that - these were not designed for fans of Kopperbergs yucky sweet products. But what surprised me the most that they are also very different form the traditional French or English ciders, which at times can be dry to a point of yeasty beerness. This has fruitiness without excessive sweetness. Rather balanced flavour indeed, and the representatives at Hartwall did tell how the goal was to create a cider where natural appley notes are evident not only in taste, but also in the scent.

In addition to the new organic addition to the Happy Joe- family we got to sample other members too and they were such outstanding individuals I'm already planning our next family get-together. Oakwood was  #2 favourite all around the table. 





A renowned Finnish chef Sami Tallberg, famous for his use of wild herbs, has years of experience from the kitchen also abroad, especially England, where cider has traditionally been used in cooking, too. According to him it makes a great partner with white meats. He had also rustled up some examples. First we had organic chicken  cooked with cider, thyme and garlic accompanied with salad of wild leaves such as dandelion. For afters we had strawberries macerated in cider served with mascarpone.

According to my +1 the chicken was easily the best she'd ever had. And it was divinely succulent and full of flavour - even if it was French... It would be downright rude not to share the recipe with you guys.

 




The venue for this launch was effortlessly cool and minimalistic (read: hipsters!!!) restaurant Lungberg, which is the first Happy Joe concept restaurant.






The concept aims to spread joy and happiness, which it does with slogans embedded in the restaurant's interior and through messages in the cap of each bottle.


I'm a believer



And we were certainly happy as we left the event - not just because of the spread, but also because of the gloriously hot summer's evening shared with fellow bloggers and friends - some of them old, some of them new.





And here's the recipe:

Happy Joe Organic Roast Chicken

1 chicken (appr. 1,5 kg)
sea salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 dl olive oil
50 g butter, at room temperature
1 pot of thyme, roughly chopped
1 head of garlic
3 bay leaves , roughly chopped

1 bottle Happy Joe Organic cider

Season the chicken generously. Rub olive oil and butter all over the chicken and do the same with the herbs. Hide some inside the chicken too.

Roast the chicken until cooked in a  roasting tin. First 15 minutes at 250°, then bring the temperature down to 180° and continue cooking for further 30 minutes  or until the juices run clear from the thigh. Baste a couple of times during the process. Remove from the oven (and the roasting tin) and let rest for 15 minutes. In the meanwhile heat the stove, place the roasting dish on it, pour the cider in and let the fat and the juices together with the herbs, garlic and cider form the gravy. Scrape all the bits from the bottom of the tin to really get all the flavours in. Run through a sieve and serve with the chicken.

 

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