Sunday, 2 March 2014

Five star dinner with five star people

After the computerical and kitchen equipment-related hardships of recent times I've not been on my best behaviour. Which hasn't gone unnoticed. Sure, they have nothing on the situation in Ukraine, those starving children in Africa or the war in Syria (I have managed to hold on to some perspective, mind you!) but Gordon Ramsay's favourite F- word has become a Firm Favourite of mine too. I can tell you that should they ever put out a book on "Zen and the art of running a food blog without a computer or an oven" I will not have been working on that one. 

And since nothing blog worthy has come out of what's left of my kitchen I happily accepted an invite to join Five Star Dinner last Thursday. One has to eat anyway, so one might just as well do in the always delightful company of fellow food bloggers, in the glorious settings of Villa Kataya and put together one of the most prominent TV chefs in Finland: Aki Wahlman.


Located in the quiet residental area of Lauttasaari in Helsinki, Villa Kataya is a privately owned venue that regularly hosts conferences and events which are usually catered by equally exclusive members only club Bläk. In addition to my dream kitchen, the house comes with jacuzzi, spa department with all the trimmings and a terrace offering glorious views overlooking Helsinki. In case this food blogging doesn't go anywhere, I just might look into squatting and start right here.

The ingredients for the menu so beautifully put together by Aki Wahlman were sponsored by various brands introducing the discerning audience to variety of products about to be launched to the great public too.

The aperitif combined raspberry with green apple and was summer in a glass. Heaven!

Vitamin Well Drive vitamin water was served with the starter. Infused with ginger and pear it received mixed reviews. Some like the artificial candy-like tones so reminiscent of our childhood sweets, some just found it too bland.

For starters we had blinis with lemony herring. And you know what? I'm just going to say what I'm not supposed too: I prefer mine.

The ingredients, available at any supermarket probably won't look anything like what we had once they come out of your average consumer's kitchen (no, even food bloggers won't go all out like this all the time), but it was nice to see what a real professional can turn them into. Slow roasted pork tenderloin melted in the mouth and was paired with Jerusalem artichoke purée. Lovely. Though with a bit of truffle oil it would have been even more so...!

Salmon pastrami that has been dangling on my "to do"- list for ages was good. Fennel gave the crust a nice kick.

And let's face it - Champagne never made any day worse!


Our favourite was pork tenderloin with a Korean twist. Balanced, well seasoned dish.

Then there was Seasalt & Chili chicken. Surprisingly smooth.

The chicken came with rice as did the pudding. Rice pudding that came with ice cream and Jules Detrooper's biscuits was made with raspberries and dark rice. Sighs of happiness were heard all round the table.

The cocktail that finished the evening divided the audience in two. Bols Parfait Amour-liqueur along with the use of edible flowers made for a festive treat but for anyone old enough to remember the 80's it was a tad too much a tad too soon. The parfumey drink got compared to Turkish delights, incence in a grotty brothel and sucking on an acrylic sweater from the 80's. Feel free to guess which one of those professional  insights was mine...

Good food makes one feel good. Especially when shared in such good company. We were sent off home with goodie bags heaving with treats and you know what, for a moment it didn't suck to be me!



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