Friday, 22 August 2014

Culinary expedition to the heart of Finland

People living in Helsinki often get stick about not really believing there's any life outside the immediate borders of the capital. Oh, sure there is. You just wait for our stories from our recent trip. Now the culinary legacy is on display right here in Helsinki for everyone to marvel at. 

We took part in the press tour of Delicacies of Finland, a food event being organized for the 4th time and got to know some of the counties, local specialties and people and their stories behind them and the produce.

T-Barbecue's Teemu for instance set up his company as he couldn't find sauces he liked. So, he started cooking his own which everyone around him loved too. And they are good. Very good.

The man behind Kal's Specialty Foods' jellies, pickles and marmalades were created while he was living in US. Their mustard isn't exactly anything to write home about so Finnish expertize does come in handy. Habanero jelly was a delight, but the carrot marmalade was so delish I'll be makig some myself, too!

Sillankorva's cream cheese, packed with fresh herbs is was every bit as rich and mousse-like as I remembered based on previous encounters - for instance Food, Wine and Good Life- fair. Especially garlic. Oh, their garlic.

But what do you know. Yours truly, having found home in Helsinki through England, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Tunisia and Andalusia got so homesick (how is it possible to get homesick for home you were so sick of, anyway?) that we ventured out to eat at Bar Burrito, a restaurant by an old school chum who, hailing from Rovaniemi, too ha since made a career for himself in Tampere.

The burritos, carefully wrapped by the delightful girls were good, though not very substantial.

Oh, and there were some other familiar faces from up North there, too!

And (rye)bread galore...

... which just didn't cut it - I just had to have some Nordic flatbread (called rieska) from Räihä bakery. Seeing how my Nan is not only dead, also very probably very inept with internet I just might dare to utter these words out loud (with some trepidation, of course): it. Was. Better.Than. Hers (*gasp*)

Other Northern treats found a new home in our carrier bags, too. I have a feeling it's The Boy Next Door's revenge for the fact that I categorically refused to spend my eagerly awaited SUMMER holiday being in Rovaniemi, tormented by gazillions of blood-thirsty mosquitos exploring his (equally Northern) roots.

Oh, there's food from all corners of the country alright. In Lapland's section (my, my - look at me rooting for my old hoods!) you can even get bear stew (karhukäristys)!

And the Helsinkians had well and truly found their way here - the venue was packed. And the traditional treats with longest queues? Pulled pork...

Delicacies of Finland at the square next to the Central Railway station until Sunday, August 23rd. If you're in Helsinki - go. And travel around the country. On a plate (is there a better way?)

Oh, and in case you need more reasons, the venue also hosts annual Syystober-fest celebrating the malty magnificence of the micro breweries around the country.

And then there's Helsinki Night Market at Teurastamo and Street Gastro Tour at Stockmann. Ooh, Helsinki is very happening, memsahib - verrry happening!





  1. It's a fantastic place! I attended an amazing event here, loved the ambience and the party planner was super friendly. We faced absolutely NO problems with anything.