Wednesday, 17 December 2014

South Coast of Finland - foodie's paradise

We spent a lovely Sunday exploring the South coast of Finland which proved to be a veritable treasure trove for a foodie.

Many of the places we visited were familiar already from last summer's excursions in the region. Rich history, magnificent views of the rolling hills, glorious December sunshine, fantastic people passionate about the quality food they produce and equally fantastic entrepreneurs every bit as passionate about making most of the local produce.

The programme for the day was ambitious and schedule tight so many places will just have for the next time (and trust me - there will be next time!).

But we got to see lot. And eat even more...!

First stop was Inkoo, Westerby Gård's estate and its delightful inn. What a gem - full of old-fashioned charm (but with a sauna department equipped with a jacuzzi!). Perfect for a romantic weekend away. Especially if you love good food...

Breakfast was just coming to and end. It, too, showcases the local produce people are so (rightfully) proud of at these parts of the country.

Then we were off to Täktom near Hanko where we visited Sjöberg's farm - now in it's third generation. Here you can buy seasonal produce - organic eggs for instance!

In Hanko it was time for the first (oh yes, there were several!) lunch of the day. The venue? Restaurant Origo and its famous archipelago buffet that we tested and loved already earlier this year.

If possible, it was even better than last time around. And food doesn't get much more local than this: often they even make their own game paté from the scratch!

After Hanko we headed to another place we introduced you last summer: Delitukku in Pohja. The air-dried snow ham was sold out (again!) but we managed to get our paws on some of that divine wild boar paté!

The second lunch of the day was slow-cooked pork belly  roll, a regional specialty. Seasoned with all sorts of Christmassy things (allspice for one) it literally melted in one's mouth.  Warm beetroot salad was a perfect match.

The next stop was the highlight of my day: Fiskars. The village (like so many others right now) was busy hosting  its annual Christmas market but our schedule didn't quite stretch to that...

Though, I can't exactly complain either: we were in for the third (and last!) lunch of the day at Fiskars Wärdshus that we love particularly much (for the scenes from our last dinner here, please click yourself here!)

It was such a treat to return to the inn we had such wonderful memories from and we couldn't have felt more welcome. As soon as we got in we were inundated with questions about the wedding date (no, still hasn't been set!) and updates on the wonderful staff.

And if Fiskars charmed us in the February sleet and made us fall in love with it in end-of-summer showers... decked out in Christmas lights, covered in snow... it's nothing short of magical!

We feasted on locally raised Hereford and seasonal root veg and mushrooms. Chilean Leyda Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva was in its earthiness a great match.

And as you can imagine- we were not hungry after all this. But there's always room for a dessert. And sure enough we polished it off in no time. Cranberry semifreddo, caramel, lingonberry coulis, raspberry meringue crumbs and mascarpone mousse... you would have too.

Then it was off to another Fiskars fabulousness we visited this summer: Rekola Brewery. We toured the premises with the owner (an absolute star!) and sampled his products (absolute stars, too!)

The gingery Kesäkolli had won us over already before (and apparently everybody else too: the initial summer edition beer has become so popular it's available all year round) but we also got to test their Christmas beer Talven Tähti. Remember the dark, tasty aroma wafting in the air on our last visit? Yep, this is what was in the making. Wonderfully warm specimen.

Rather surprisingly though my heart won stolen by Munkkitie, sturdy, on-filtered dark ale inspired by the beer made in the monasteries. A bit stronger than your average barley pop, but sublimely soft. Great spiciness and generous fruitiness without the bitter aftertaste that has previously come in between the love affair of me and ales. Definitely worth checking out. The beers are available in most of the big markets - go get yours now!

Our winter evenings will also be made a lot nicer by Metsän Tähti we took home; a dark red beer with notes of spruce sprouts.

At this point we were stuffed beyond belief (apparently there's only so much even a food blogger can eat...) but were treated to one last visit from another local foodie hero from Sjundby ice cream. This artisanal and all organic ice cream is not yet available in Helsinki (Lohja, Kirkkonummi, Sjundby and Fiskars, yes) but should you ever come across it, do give it a go. Especially the creamy, charmingly subtle lemon variety. No E-numbers over here - apart from the lemon all the ice creams get their fantastic flavour from locally grown fruits and berries. And hey, they're all lactose-free, too!




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