Visit Helsinki from June 13 to 16 and you’ll be in for a treat as just a small fee can buy you a huge taste extravaganza from some of the city’s finest restaurants at Taste of Helsinki. A host of distinguished eateries will be strutting their stuff at this carnival of food and wine. Each restaurant has three courses with which to tempt you while you wander around savoring the atmosphere of jazzy background music with a glass of specially-selected wine from the Wine Pavillion. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss:
Be sure to stop by Demo, where friends and business partners Tommi Tuominen and Teemu Aura will no doubt be having fun in the kitchen as they awaken your palate with their smoked lavaret (whitefish) brandade, a Provençal puree of olive oil and milk, served with fennel crispbread.
Restaurant Smör, from the Finnish city of Turku, enters the fray with Jarno Seppä at the helm. Seppä, the second-place finisher in 2013’s Finnish Chef of the Year competition, will serve his own homemade mozzarella combined with smoked tomatoes and pesto.
For mains, you might fancy the fennel-flavored pike burger created by head chef Marko Palovaara of Bistro O mat. Palovaara was Finnish Chef of the Year in 2002.
If it’s something even meatier you crave, Gaijin’s Tomi Björck, main judge on MasterChef Finland, has something up his sleeve. Pork belly yakiniku with sweet soy-marinated pork and watercress could just hit the spot.
Filip Langhoff, 2009 Bocuse d’Or winner, presents smoked bream to begin, followed by organic lamb gently coated with local fresh herbs, and then raw milk and rhubarb for a tasty full selection from his restaurant, Ask.
You’ll be enthralled with the final courses — including a combo of parsnip and sea buckthorn from C, member of the prestigious Chaîne des Rôtisseurs gastronomy group, and rhubarb pavlova from Luomo, another renowned establishment.
And if you’d like to try your hand at crafting some of these dishes yourself, try the Electrolux Chefs’ Secret cookery school (new for 2013); sign-ups are on a first come, first served basis. For pure indulgence, Taittinger Champagne will host an event offering a glimpse into the Taittinger selection with a tasting of five of the company’s bubblies.
Taste of Helsinki organizer Barry MacNamara is delighted at the response and says, “We’re giving some of the small independent restaurants a chance to shine by promoting fine dining culture in Finland and elevating it onto the world stage for international visitors to share and be blown away by the standard.”
Photos Courtesy of Taste of Helsinki