Going Eastern Finland

We ended up in this remote place, Ilomantsi, located in Eastern Finland, 500 km from Helsinki, on our work trip making a design article.


What a view! We had a coffee on the top of the Wine tower, a former water tower.

Arto Liimatta Nina Kosola

We were accompanied by this fun architect-interior designer couple Nina Kosola and Arto Liimatta who run this lovely tower in addition to wine making and architecture office.

These people  certainly don’t lack ideas! Arto’s baby is the jazz and blues festival Blueberry Hill which takes places every August in the middle of the forest. He manages to bring there well known artist who according to Arto’s words “like this festival without festival problems”.

Kosola-Liimatta couple has many ideas cooking up so look for Ilomantsi happenings when you head there.

Lovely to meet these kind of active people who keep their surroundings lively. As Arto said: “If you want to do things here, you need to organize them yourself.”

croisant_viinibaari_huippu_ilomantsi[1] Brie, strawberry and green currant jam filled croissant. Yummy!

brownies_viinibaari_huippu_ilomantsi[1]Mokkapalat, a Finnish delicacy, almost vintage nowadays! They were really popular in my childhood and  were almost forgotten by brownies and other stuff. But the taste is different and very good. Couldn’t resist!

viinibaari_huippu_ilomantsi_drinks[1] Hermannin viinitila produces sparkling wine made of the arctic rasberry, for example.

viinibaari_huippu[1]The tower will be open still on Fri-Sat August 29-30 between 12 am-11 pm.

More information: Hermannin viinitila

Hermannin viinitila FB-pages

Blueberry Hill-festival

When already driving away, we noticed this lovely happening, the evening market and had to stop, of course. I bought cloudberries and Uzi shot this clip.


Saturday afternoon in Helsinki

Standing in one place and just observing the goings on around me is something that I do often in bigger cities where there’s action is all over and around the clock.
However, last Saturday I found myself doing the same thing in Helsinki. In Kaivopuisto, by the sea there was action all around.
It is great to notice that people still take their carpets to be washed by hand in these age old places especially built for it.
Carpet wash, city marathon, boats sailing by and a lively bar terrace. All of it could be seen just in one place!



“Ihana Kahvila”, an extraordinary coffee shop

ihana kahvila helsinki 1

I got lost! As I often do on my free days in the summer. I do it intentionally. Just choose a random starting point from where the road will take me. On one of these blazing summer days I found myself in what was not too long ago a cargo harbor in Helsinki and now is a huge building site for apartment houses. Thanks to the city of Helsinki young artists can express themselves and share their graffities publicly in that area.
As I reached the water line I noticed this weird looking coffee shop. I could not wipe the silly smile off my face. The place was so nice and just belonged there. Naturally coffee break was inevitable. And excellent it was, accompanied with home made blueberry pie and a beautiful smile from a young girl named Kaisa. It looks like the place is very popular among young families. Great open space, creative and free in spirit. The location looks over the water to the richer part of town and that is a clear statement in itself. Like, like like !
Check it up on : http://ihanakahvila.fi/

ihana kahvila helsinki 3Coffee, cakes, handicrafts and old fashioned toys are for sale. A variety of games are free for the use of the guests.

ihana kahvila pear pieihana kahvila blue berry pieKaisa and the delicious blue berry pie.

ihana kahvila helsinki 2
amos bonibay ihana kahvila helsinkiArtist Amos Bonibay from Denmark enjoys his coffee and the graffities all around.
ihana kahvila bicycle parking
The parking is mainly occupied by bicycles.

A place like in a Kaurismäki film

These kind of places you still find on the road in Finland. I like to support privately owned places instead of big chains. There is still this old fashion charm. Heinävaaran SEO Ilomantsi kuin Suomi-filmistä This week I and Uzi traveled all the way to Ilomantsi, Northern Carelia, to make a design article. We stopped for coffee at Seo Heinävaara. There we found in addition to a cup of coffee also these lovely, delicious rhubarb pies (2 e). They come from a bakery called Heinosen leipomo from Joensuu. Kahvia ja raparperipiirakkaa pysähdyspaikka kuin Suomi-filmistä If you are lucky, you might get to taste here a traditional Finnish lanttukukko which is a rye bread filled with rutabaga. Henri, a chef by his profession, lives in Oulu but spends his summers at Seo’s service desk. When he finds the time, he likes to bake traditional goodies. Heinävaara gas station Just like out of a Finnish film, don’t you think?

For Heinävaara Seo FB-page click here.

Delicious Finnish summer

The summer in Finland is short and unpredictable. Weather is the first and last thing to consider when planning any activities. However, with the help of a bunch of good friends, who happen to have their own summer cabins, my summer culinary experiences are always something to remember. Rain or shine!

Here just a few samples of these Finnish treats.

blue berry muffins finland countrysideBlueberry muffins. The berries were collected minutes before baking!

desert finland summer countA late night dessert by Tiina and Timo. Coffee, cognac and marengues with whipped cream and fresh forest raspberries.

grilled meatballs summer finnish country sideFried meatballs with fresh herbs that grow in the cabin’s back yard.

grilled salmon finland summer life styleThis unique way of frying salmon fillet by the fire is something to experience. The heat should be as high as one’s hand can stand it for a few seconds. The Salmon fillet is adjusted to a piece of wood with “wooden nails” made of juniper. While frying, the fish is every now and then basted with a mix of water, salt, sugar and gin. The mixture is brushed on the fish with a branch of juniper bush.

home grown tomatoes finland summerThis lovely lady is growing her vegetables in a small plot in town. These vegetable gardens are available all over Helsinki and in the suburbs for a small rent.

IMG_7872First course à la Mikko ja Outi. Fried Scallops with asparagus and sauce made of false morel. These wrinkly mushrooms are the first to appear in the spring and are extremely poisonous if not prepared right. But when they are, the taste is heavenly.

kantarelli soas finland country side summerMushroom sauce made of chantarels. At its best when prepared with fresh mushrooms fried with onions and cream. Excellent with fresh new potatoes and fish or meat.

makkara finland country sideGrillimakkara. Sausages are perhaps the most common Finnish summer grill dish. These disposable grills are available in almost any shop or gas station.

pancake finnish country sidePancake. Frying them on the fire gives an extra flavor and deliciously crispy edges.

pulla-finland-summerKorvapuusti. These buns filled with sugar and cinnamon is perhaps the most traditional Finnish contribution to the world’s coffee tables.

savustettu ahven finland country side summerWarm smoked perch. These fish you can catch in almost every Finnish lake and they taste fantastic. Smoking box is a simple and fast way to prepare a delicious fish. On the bottom you place some wood chips that you can buy in any gas station, a few sugar cubes and some juniper branches. In goes the fish and the box is placed on a small fire for half an hour or so.

smoked-shrimps-finland-summe-country-sideSmoked shrimps. You can buy them ready boiled and smoke them the same way as the fish. An excellent starter dish.