Thursday, 20 April 2017

Vive la Tampere - 5 places for French romance in Tampere


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Romantic minibreak in Tampere? Oui, oui! Here are our tips for creating some French romance in Tampere!

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5 places for French romance in Tampere_Tampere_Under the Andalusian Sun_travelblog_foodblog


Gothenburger's job takes us to Tampere on regular intervals. 

Tampere (called Finland's Manchester, owing to its history as the cradle of industrial revolution in Finland) is not what you'd think of at first when planning a romantic minibreak (not even if you're a die-hard Man Utd fan). 

The natives' peculiar sense of humour certainly doesn't do the city any favours (for more of that, read more on the blog here), but pas de problems - have I got just the thing for you! All it takes is a hefty sprinkling of magic dust straight from the country of romance: France!

Oui, oui!

Hanging on to a Hermès scarf (me) and an incomprehendible gurgling and sneaky eye-rolling (Gothenburger) we set out to turn Tampere into city of romance.



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Vive La Tampere - here are our 5 tips for French romance in Tampere.

Bon voyage!



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1. Grand Hotel Tammer - dekadence and glamour of the world gone by

Bien sûr - first there's the hotel to choose.

Famous as a worker's movement's strong hold, this is not exactly city known for decadence... but luckily they do have Grand Hotel Tammer - perfect for a sumptious escape from reality. 

For more on this hotel gem, please check out my previous blog post.


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The hotel rooms get a little extra romance points for the love locks they stock at their minibar (€17) with which you can seal your eternal love at Tammerkoski bridge.

Oh, là là!

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French restaurant Quatre Saisons located in Tampere Market Hall offers quite possibly the best lunch in the city. Great food and excellent value for money.

This little place does not take reservations though, so turn up early (or right before the kitchen closes, in which case you'll just have to make do with what ever's not yet been sold out - zut alors!)



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Their bouillabaisse is a classic for a reason. 

Vegetables have been left boldly al dente and the delightful broth owes its deep flavours to star anise (among many other things).

Bowl of this French fishermen's fabulousness along with a glass of Chablis and a wonderfully summery lemon posset € 28,80€.



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The overall ambiance of Alsace Wistub probably mimics an Alsatian winstub and is very basic. Service is great though and food tasty - however it's a bit weird to see the dessert menu offering Italian treats such as tiramisu. 

Wine list features many curiosities (for instance Bulgarian wine!), but keep an eye on the Alsatian specialties they import themselves. 



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Recently renovated, the restaurant offers down to earth, fairly rustic French feast, though the escargots served in garlic and thyme butter (6 pcs/ €10) were so salty even I raised an eyebrow.

The port wine reduction served with the pheasant and quinoa along with seasonal veg  (€25) was also far too salty, but the pheasant was cooked beautifully.



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The main reason to venture here is absolument and hands down their Tarte Flambée - Alsatian equivalent of pizza. 

Merde, how yummy it is! A particularly enthusiastic thumbs up for Gratinée; featuring crispy pastry base slathered with crème fraîche and topped with smoky bacon, onion and cheese (depending on the size €8 / €13). 

Dinner (2 glasses of Cremant d'Alsace, snails, one large Tarte Flambée, pheasant, one dessert with coffee and a bottle of Alsatian Pinot Noir) came to €132,5o.



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4. Restaurant Tiiliholvi - classic French cooking with a fresh Nordic twist


I'd be the first to admit my expectations for restaurant Tiiliholvi, located in the cellar next to one of Tampere's numerous theatres, weren't too high. 

Even if the entrance does delightfully echo a Parisian metro station. 

Tant joli!


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We were pleasantly surprised though: everything was great. The restaurant was anything but a timewarp stuck in its heyday 30 years ago; passing off steak à la poivre as the height of all culinary sophistication. 

Excellent service, very knowledgeable wine recommendations and really good food which left behind a surprisingly light and fresh impression. 

Surprise menus € 58/ € 69 (4/6 courses); Chef's tasting menu (8 courses) € 80.



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Our dinner consisted of a beautifully executed beef carpaccio  with Parmesan crème and all sorts of trimmings (€ 13) along with white fish with passion fruit and lemon verbena (€ 14).

The carpaccio was a stunning celebration of textures and flavours as was the fish, though the corn bread the latter dish featured lent it an unnecessarily stodgy note. 


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For mains we had spring chicken (€ 30) with basil and lime (oh yeah - the asparagus season's on!) and flank steak with duck liver butter (Mon Dieu!) with sweet potato and garlic ( € 31).



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For afters we shared a charmingly fresh dessert consisting of pistacchio, watermelon and rhubarb three ways along with two glasses of Doux et Fruite Method Ancestrale- sparkling wine from Limoux (á € 11,50). 

Merveilleux!



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With apertitif G&T's, two large glasses of wine (an Austrian Grüner pour moi and a New Zealand Pinot Noir for my fabulous date; both excellent matches with the food) and a coffee the total was €189.

PS. In case your budget is a bit more on the flexible side, this place warrants a recommendation for their Champagne selection alone!



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5. Café au lait? Some bonbons?


After Cafe La Famille closed its doors, there isn't a French style café in the city, but here are some places that make up for the loss. 


The selection at  bakery Leipomo Brander offers a wide selection of treats even for gluten-free gourmands.

Mama's Corner's (both located in the market hall) glorious chocolates are another must-try.



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Ståhlberg Home Bakery & Cafe's location on the upper floor of Koskikeskus, a local shopping centre is not the most romantic, but the ambiance and delicious treats more than warrants a place on the list, too. 

Trés bien!

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Even in the throes of all-consuming passion and soul-wrenching love we still couldn't help but sadly note the following things:

- sure, I understand French. But only when nobody else does. 

- It's impossible to even attempt speaking French without the whole performance inadvertedly turning into an Allô, Allô parody with all that nasal ho-ho-hooing. 

- There are things to which even a French accent and a chanson rendition do not lend a romantic twist. Such as "Wonderwall" by Oasis.  Or poo jokes. 

- The more French wine you drink, the more difficult it becomes to actually remember any of the other great things that country has given the world. 

Me: Louis Vuitton, Thierry Hermès, Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Louis-Ernest Ladurée, Dom Pierre Perignon, Voltaire, Claude Monet, Citroën DS, Eric Cantona, Sebastien Chabal, Vincent Cassel, Mathieu Kassowitz, Audrey Tautou, Edith Piaf, Catherine Deneuve...

Gothenburger: Marcel... someone. I think he was a Jew. Hugo Boss?


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This Tampere excursion was by far the best yet - Tampere,  je t'aime!

Any of you visited Tampere? Got any recommendations for our next trip there?


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ANYONE FOR SECONDS?


Grand Hotel Tammer_Tampere_Tampereen elegantein hotelli_Andalusian auringossa_matkablogi_ruokablogi           Andalusian auringossa_Göteborg

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