Taste of Helsinki is the culinary highlight of my summer, so not even the fact I'd only hours before returned from Stockholm (more on that later!) on the most ungodly plane ever or the fact I'd not slept in days could keep me away.
And so I ate. And ate some more.
And hey, starting the day off with Champagne is always a good idea.
In addition to good food, they also have some really good wines. I have a particular penchant for this Antipodean amazingness: Hewitson Old Garden 2010 Mourvèdre.
Here's my wall of fame (shame?). I went through 19 dishes. All of them good, some of them brilliant and some... well, interesting.
Can't beat a good Toast Skagen. Especially if it's put together by #4 chef of Bocuse d'Or competition.
This was his take on roast chicken.
Pork ribs from Gastrobar Emo. Succulent with wonderfully crunchy coating.
This is menu at Kaskis, a restaurant in Turku I've already been raving about before.
Cured salmon, smoked salmon mousse, archipelago bread with dill and buttermilk dressing...
Slow-cooked pork belly with barbecue sauce, new harvest potatos and spring onion...
... and a dessert consisting of cream cheese, white chocolate and currant leaves.
These came from Sinne: Haugesungd herring, new harvest potatos and browned butter. Scandinavian summer on a plate.
Veal Wallenberg (Swedish take on burgers) was one of my favourites all day. Sounds homely, is everything but. Gotta love Sinne.
The rainbow trout dish from Bröd was nice but a bit dull. Though, at this point the whole fish with new harvest potatos was starting to lose some of its glamour...
Their dessert was one of the prettiest all day.
Only one place (Pastor) had octopus on their menu. Wasn't exactly starving at this point, but hey - if there's octopus on the menu...
Beautifully coooked, but a bit bland. Accompanying potato and olive croquette was sheer perfection, though.
Japanese restaurant Hoshito turned out to be one of the most anticipated ones and their popularity seemed to come as a surprise to the owners too, who struggled a bit to keep up with the demand.
Salmon sashimi and ume and cucumber Aemono, pork with ginger, Kouji beef and Rei-Soba noodles with wasabi sauce and avocado tempura.
(Yes, I ate all this...)
Come dinner service, Ragu, one of my favourite restaurant boasted the longest queues. No wonder - their menu was the best.
Swordfish, slow-cooked lamb with lamb sausage and mustard polenta... delish.
It was their dessert ( liquorice mousse, marinated fennel and lemon ice cream) that really kicked ass. Hands down the best dish of the festival. Trust me. I went for seconds.
At this point even I was struggling a bit, but Bertha's dessert (rather minimalistically just titled "pork, chocolate, beef") seemed too weird to miss. Toffee sauce with smoked bacon? Chocolate mousse? Beef blood meringue?!
What a day. Sun shone, everyone was on a good mood... Helsinki at its best.
Better not eat anything for the next 6 days though - next week we'll be in London for Taste of London!
ANYONE FOR SECONDS?