Thursday, August 04, 2011

Solar Kitchen

Lapin Kulta Solar Kitchen by Antto Melasniemi
Kalasatama, Helsinki 4.-14.8.2011

When it's sunny, you might be lucky to get a bit different kind of lunch. Lunch, which has been cooked (only) with solar energy. That sounds perfect, doesn't it. Antto Melasniemi is known for his pop up restaurant Hel! Yes! in London and in Helsinki. This time he's cooking with solar energy in Kalasatama, Helsinki. Every time lunch menu is a surprise for the customers. This time it was vegetarian, which is fine for me. The place is amazing empty harbor area with some construction and Helsinki just there, around you. Everywhere.

It is just pure love. The sun, good food, friends and this amazing place out door. It amazing that this tasty food has been made with those funny space ships. I loved the relaxed atmosphere.

Starter: wild herbs, mushrooms, cauliflowers and radish.
Main course: tomato-potato-saffron stew.

Antto Melasniemi - The Top Chef. 

Dessert: chocolate cake with caramel sauce and blueberries. 

If you have a possibility to go there, don't be late. You will miss it. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Lapinlahden juusto- ja viinijuhlat 2011

Annual Lapinlahti Cheese and Wine Festival took place again in the end of July. Lapinlahti is a small town in Savo area (60 km north from Kuopio) and known for it's artist (Pekka Halonen, Emil Halonen, Kalle Halonen, Juhani Aho etc). Cheese and Wine Festival was set up in the local ice hall. There were sitting place for 1150 cheese eater, 500 kg cheese and the same amount of other food and wine of course. Cheeses are from a dairy company Valio, because there's a factory in Lapinlahti. Huge tables were bending under the weight of cheeses, salads, bread, vegetables and fruits. 

In Finland (unfortunately) the cheese culture is nothing compared to France for example. Finnish cheeses are 99,9% made in a factory, it doesn't have that strong taste (there are few exceptions) and the texture is very factory-made kind. 

I have to say that there are couple of cheese, which have a bit character: Aura (blue cheese), brie (it's actually made in France), Ritari, Kreivi and Black labeled emmental. The rest taste more or less the same and that was a bit the problem in the Cheese and Wine Festival as well. You cut cheese on your (paper!) plate, sit in the very dim room and try to guess what you're eating. Of course you can also just eat and not care about what it was, but that feels a bit waste of food (and money). 

This year the Festival's wine list was fine: Europian wine and even some organic wines. Sadly most of the wines were from South-America. Anyway, it's a very delightful event, which ends always with dancing. It would be lovely to see some year cheese from other countries or at least some cheeses from small producers. Maybe even some sheep and goat milk cheese! 

Lapinlahti Cheese and Wine Festival is an experience you should do. You just have to forget about the French cheeses. I hope you don't forget your behaving manners as Finnish people sometimes do. 

Book a table ahead, it's going to be sold out. See you next year!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Coffee Bean

Fancy some good lunch in Vallila, Helsinki? Well, it might be difficult, because Vallila is not exactly know for it's wonderful cafes nor restaurants. It's the area in Helsinki, which is know for it's "school-food"-type of canteens with overpriced and tasteless meals. I'm wondering, why it's like that, because the area is rather nice and it's becoming more popular. Vallila is waiting for the (young) innovative businessmen - and women.

Fortunately in the beginning of summer a brave family came and founded a small daytime cafe/lunch place just next to my workplace (thank you goddess!). It's so wonderful to have some other options for the lunch than those a bit fatigue Amica, Sodexho etc. 

Coffee Bean is a neat place and they are serving warm lunches, sandwiches and very tasty salads. Wonderful thing is that they make the salads ready while you're waiting. You don't need to eat anything, which has been there waiting for you since early morning. My favourites are warm goat cheese salad (heaven) and salmon salad. Both take even bigger hunger away. 

Plus the staff is the friendliest ever. 

PS. A secret: they make sushi every Wednesday. Be early, if you fancy some. 

EDIT 19.08.2012
Their sushi is not that amazing. Rice is strange and fishes have seen the better days. Salads are still great though.