Category Archives: Finland

Christmas atmosphere in Hakaniemi market hall! 9 tips for Christmas shopping

Hakaniemi market hall has stood in its place over 100 years and will go through a thorough renovation in the recent years but you can still feel the original atmosphere when shopping and sipping a coffee in its cafe.


I can’t imagine myself leaving home without a bracelet in my hand so these beautiful metal-cork bracelets caught my eyes in the 2nd floor Artbycork. Works for both women and men!



The hand bag model here is the shop keeper Lina Galrito-Leinoen. Raised in Portugal, the audiovisual artist by profession, Lina Galrito-Leinonen moved to Finland 11 years ago and has thought always out of the box. In addition to importing and designing cork wall tapestry, design objects, bags and jewellery, she has now broken into fashion field. Stay tuned to know what exactly.

Everything started just out of co-incidence. Lina had moved to Finland and was astonished when people asked her about the material of her hand bag.

“It was cork, naturally!  But in Finland no one knew cork!”

In Portugal cork is a widely used material and Lina thought to herself that why not bringing to Finland something that didn’t exist here yet.  It worked – the Finns were curious to adopt the new material and now Lina is planning to open a shop in Helsinki city center.




In the second floor there is a familiar brand but in a bit different surrounding. Lovely!


The red Kumiseva fabric, designed by the Japanese designer Katsuji Wakisaka in 1971 for Marimekko, is a permanent favorite among both Finns and tourists and it fits the season well.


These cards made by wordburning pen are designed by Ritva Myllymäki who makes them on a unique material: curly birch. You can order a card with your own rhyme or text and she will be happy to fulfill your wishes.

Ritva has a small workshop attached to her shop so you can peep inside and see her working. This smiling lady won’t be too busy for a chat.  She says she still loves her job after having her shop for 14 years and when a new idea comes, she can’t wait until going home in order to start working .

Nowadays she has a huge variety of products in addition to the holiday and birthday cards but the idea in all her handicrafts is the woodburned text and wood as material.


Downstairs you will find the traditional small shops offering the best and the freshest quality. I couldn’t resist the gravlax and smoked salmon at the fish delicacy shop Marja Nätti.  


Uzi gets his fish from the Argentinian Teresa at Patagonico.


It’s not easy to pass by Maustekeidas! With this variety of antipasto, nuts, spices and halva, it is easy to get confused but the lovely Maroccoan shopkeeper Najib Houda will help you out. This time it was garlic marinated olives and herb spiced feta cheese together will “snow almonds” that got into my shopping basket.


Parhiala, founded in 1914 is the place to get your coffee and tea. With their own roastery, it is guaranteed that your coffee will be fresh and the variety of different kinds of teas is awesome. An awesome Christmas present would be Kusmi or Løv teas that are not so commonly found in Finland. I treated myself with Løv licorice flavored Earl Gray . The tin box is so beautiful that I would like to get a row of them. Indira Wrede will help to choose.


If you need a break, sit down for a cup of ginger bread coffee at the second floor Hallikahvila. The atmospheric cafe has served the market hall customers over 35 years already.


And if you feel hungry, Soppakeittiö is the perfect winter lunch place with its huge, hot soups. In addition to Hakaniemen market hall, you can get your share of their wonderful soup bowl also at the two other market halls in Helsinki: Hietalahden Kauppahalli and Vanha Kauppahalli.

I chose the vegan beetroot-cabbage soup. It cost 9,50 e including home made bread and herbal oil.


Naomi Kuwajinu from Osaka was on a quick stop over in Helsinki on her way to London. She was happy to find a Marimekko shop and a store selling old ceramics – she told that she loves Arabia, the famous Finnish brand.

So soon it is Christmas! Wishing you all a beautiful holiday time!

Amedeo Modigliani in Ateneum

The retrospective exhibition of Amedeo Modigliani is in the art museum of Ateneum, Helsinki this winter, 28.10.2016 – 5.2.2017.A must for all art lovers. The museum also has much more to offer, such as Kaarina Kaikkonen`s installation at the Ateneum Art Museum courtyard 5.2.2016 – 11.12.2016 !And the new display of the museum’s collection of Finnish classics is truly impressive.Go go go.

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American car show

Hurry hurry hurry all you fans of American classics.
Big engines, big wheels, lots of chrome metal inside and out.
The event takes place in Helsinki Messukeskus this weekend, 25.-28.3.2016.

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Pasta with fresh wild mushrooms

funnel chanterelle finland

You can not get it all! This autumn has been blessed with sunny days and comfortable temperatures. Low wintery sun paints the nature’s warm colors with an extra golden tone. But ! As much as we have enjoyed this sunny and dry autumn, the mushrooms would have needed the rains to pop up. So it’s been unusually slim pickings this year.
October is the season for the funnel chanterelle. I spent a few hours with my mother in law and sister in law searching for these delicious mushrooms. When dried, they can be stored for the whole long winter’s use.
This time the amount I found was so small, I decided to use them right away with pasta.

Here is a very simple recipe you might find tasty.

Pasta with fresh wild mushrooms


  • Fresh Funnel Chantaerelles
  • Fresh cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Spaghetti
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Chop the garlic to thin slices.
  2. Cut the tomatoes to 3 pieces each.
  3. Fry the garlic in lots of olive oil and put aside when golden.
  4. Fry the tomatoes in the same oil, just for 30-60 sec, then put aside with all the oil still remaining in the pan.
  5. Fry the mushrooms on a dry pan first to get the extra moisture away, then add olive oil and fry for couple of minutes and let the mushroom absorb the oil.
  6. Cook the pasta.
  7. A couple of minutes before the pasta is cooked, put all the sauce ingredients back to the pan and warm them up. Add salt and pepper according to taste, then mix with the cooked pasta.
  8. Add parmesan cheese on top.
  9. Bon appétit!

pasta with wild mushrooms tomatoes and garlic

Kokkola calling

This summer our “Lost in Finland” drive’s direction was Pohjanmaa and the town of Kokkola, on the western coast some 500 km from Helsinki. Kokkola is a charming town with a most beautiful district of old, well-kept wooden houses. In the 17th century Kokkola was a big exporter of tar to Europe. Today tar is not the sought after commodity it used to be, but in other areas the town’s vital industrial tradition still continues.
And hey, this is the home town of our good friends Arnon and Kati.

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Suntin venevajat

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The boat houses of Suntti decorate the shores of the narrow inlet that was the gate to the town of Kokkola in the 17th century.

The old bridge over the Suntti inlet is known as the “Pususilta”, the kissing bridge, where couples place a lock and throw the keys to the water to demonstrate their belief in the eternal love…

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The old part of Kokkola, Neristan, was a beautiful surprise. Even after having visited the old towns in Porvoo, Loviisa and Rauma, this one made a great impression on me. It is much less known in Finland, perhaps because of it’s location, some 500 km north of Helsinki. Not many foreign or local tourists will find their way there. But if you are ever going up north, it certainly is worth a visit.

This used to be the sailors’ street in the 1600s.

_MG_0545One of the town’s oldest streets dates back to 1665.vaivaisukko

A wooden statuette called “Vaivaisukko” is a feature that stands in front of almost any old church, especially in Pohjanmaa . It is used to collect donations for the poor. This Beautiful figure decorates the old wooden church of Kronoby on the outskirts of Kokkola. The church was built in the late 1800s.

Arnon ja kati
Our great hosts in town were our friends Arnon and Kati. Here at their summer cabin, a few minutes’ drive from their home. Thank you guys for a great hospitality and for opening our eyes to yet another beautiful spot in Finland.

Going on summer vacation

It is time to put work aside, to empty the calendar for July and do what I like to do on my free time. Spending time with my loved ones, enjoying late breakfasts, picking wild flowers and berries, getting lost on the tiniest roads in Finland, like I do happily every summer. A short trip to Israel is on the list as well, no press trip, no productions, no duties. I deserve that. Some kind of visual report will follow my lazy July. Stay tuned and have a wonderful summer. finnish country sidefinnish landscape

A lazy Saturday brunch

Can the weekend start better than waking up late, going to a brunch with a friend and sitting long around the table?

Min Krog brunssi

When my friend recommended me Min Krog brun nothing about the  place . I even had to check even the location in Sundsberg with a navigator. I found out that it was only 14 minutes which is even less than the way to Helsinki city center from my place. So I decided to make it to the opposite direction this time and headed to Kirkkonummi.


Min Krog Saturday Brunch

People do different things with different friends… some are into sports, some are for shopping. Virpi, my childhood friend is my best gastronomy company. Eating and cooking is almost always part of our meetings. We both have the same taste and basically like anything (which is done well)!

So I called Virpi and we headed to Min Krog brunch which has an American theme this Saturday. The day was sunny and warm so we sat outside. The menu consisted of pulled pork hamburgers (we chose the vege option with tofu), salads, fresh baked bread and a lovely cake table with croissants, whoopies, home made chocolate cake…  We drank blueberry juice along with coffee and loose leaf tea (many varieties and a good quality, thanks for that!).

Everything was good although next time I would go a bit earlier (this time we started only after midday) as many of the plates were half empty. The personnel however kept running and filling the buffet so no way we would go home hungry.

Min Krog Late Saturday Brunch

The owner Alexandra and her lovely chocolate cake.

Brunches with different themes on Sat and Sun. 19 e/ adult. Better book your table in advance!

Min Krog   FB-site.





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.