Traditional Finnish crayfish party – re-post

21 07 2015

Crayfish - reijosfood.com

As Crayfish season starts again on the 21st of July, 2015, reminder for those who participate crayfish party first time.

Crayfish season in Finland is always from 21st of July until 31st of October. There are two species available, crayfish and signal crayfish. Origins of crayfish are in Finland but signal crayfish was imported from U.S.A in 1960’s. Crayfish is less common than signal crayfish and therefore more expensive. You can of course dine at restaurants offering crayfish menu’s, but more convenient is to enjoy them at home and hopefully outdoors.

1) DRINKS (most important after crayfish itselves)

First thing; make sure there is sufficient amount of drinks for the whole meal. You must have schnapps available, which can be Finnish vodka or Swedish aquavit. Then you must decide if champagne, white wine (recommend riesling) or beer suits best depending on your taste. And of course mineral or mountain spring waters must be available. But remember that all bottles on the table and in the fridge are not meant to be drank in a hurry. As crayfish dinner takes about 3-5 hours, be careful!

Drinks - reijosfood.comDrinks - reijosfood.com

2) TABLE-SETTING AND OTHER CRAYFISH TAT

Pictures of crayfish must be everywhere; in serviettes, tablecloth, plates, crayfish bib…etc . Even lanterns must include crayfish figures.

Eating crayfish requires specific knife in order to deal with claws. Otherwise they are eaten with the hands/fingers.

Crayfish tat - reijosfood.com

Crayfish - reijosfood.com

3) PROTECTION FROM SPLASHES

Crayfish bibs are usually made from disposable material, but you can of course make long-term investment or get them as a gift. And make sure bib is enough long to extend up to the knees. If it is too short, you will notice it afterwards.

Essu - reijosfood.com

4) AMOUNT OF CRAYFISH

To eat only crayfish the entire course of the meal is rare. It takes so long time to eat them, that you become hungry again during the dinner, so it is usual to eat crayfish as a starter. Thefore reserve about 7-10 crayfish for each diner and you are ready to float in the atmosphere. But if you decide to eat only crayfish, 20 is the minimum amount.

Crayfish - reijosfood.com

5) CRAYFISH SONGS

If you do not like to sing, after couple of vodka’s you might anyway be the loudest singer. Songs are short but funny, most famous is Swedish song: “Helan går”

If you are not sure how to eat crayfish, just google “How to eat crayfish” and you find several videos.

Then, it is crayfish party time!

Crayfish with Finlandia vodka - reijosfood.com





Wine review: Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2010

7 07 2015
 Zenato Amarone - reijosfood.com

The Zenato vineyards cover 75 hectares in the Zenato estate of S. Cristina in San Benedetto di Lugana, ideal for the Trebbiano di Lugana, and in the Costalunga estate in Valpolicella, the homeland of the famous Amarone Zenato.

Produced in Costalunga Estate, in the classical area of Valpolicella, a land well known for its wine and food culture, after a manual selection, the 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella and 10% Oseleta grapes are left to rest in small boxes and then pressed to create a wine of undoubted quality with great complexity that gets better with age.

Tasted vintage 2010 which is maybe the youngest wine to try from Zenato Amarone red wines.

 

THE LOOK

Most Amarone bottles are modest without too much colors on the label or size of the bottle. Zenato is one of the most modest.

Color of wine is dark red with hints of brown color although wine is still quite young

THE NOSE

Typical Amarone, intense and strong bouquet. Be careful in sniffing as amount of alcohol might surprise you.

THE TASTE

Full-bodied and warm. Fig, plum and dark cherry can be found as flavors. Long aftertaste.

 

Facts:

Alcohol: 16,5% by volume
Extract: 45 g/l
Acidity: 6 g/l
Energy: 110 kcal/100 ml (460 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

 

Antipasti and Amarone - reijosfood.com

 

Tasted Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2010 first as such. The wine suits well for enjoying also that way, but the you must like stronger and sweeter red wines. And with giant Riedel glass you really get best out of wine.

With Antipasti flavor even improved. Salty Italian ham and rocket salad paired extremely well with a little bit sweet wine. With red meat I would enjoy more “rough” wine than Amarone, but as friend of this wine type would not leave it to drink, if served :)

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++ / +++

Zenato Winery.

 





Wine review: Vina Real Oro Reserva 2009

25 06 2015
Vina Real Oro - reijosfood.com

The Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) is a family winery which was founded in 1879. The Viña Real winery of CVNE is located on the “Cerro de la Mesa” hill, Rioja Alavesa.

The Viña Real wines were first launched in 1920, made from grapes from the Rioja Alavesa area. Since then, these wines have typically been named as ‘Plata’ (Crianza), ‘Oro’ (Reserva), and Gran Reserva.

Tasted wine was Vina Real Oro Reserva 2009, which costs in Alko 23,20€ making it obviously upper shelf wine. Wine is produced from 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, Grenache and Mazuel grapes. The wine is fermented in stainless steel vats and matured for 22 months in new oak barriques with racking every 4 months

 

THE LOOK

The bottle is Burgundy type which is not so typical for Spanis wines.

Color of wine is dark red with hints of brown color due to age.

THE NOSE

Full of typical Rioja intense aromas, pleasant and balance bouquet.

THE TASTE

Medium-bodied, velvety. Oak barrels have provided some depth to the flavor.

 

Facts:

Alcohol: 13,5% by volume
Extract: 31 g/l
Acidity: 5,5 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (370 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

“Gran reserva = matured for a long time, more than 3 years and in addition to a couple of years in the bottle. Reserva = aged 2-3 years and in addition to one year in the bottle

 

Fillet abd Vina Real - reijosfood.com

 

Tasted Vina Real Oro first as such, which was really pleasant tasting. And with giant Riedel glass enjoyment is even better.

With Fillet beef and Caesar salad flavor even improved. Red wine I could enjoy the whole winter, if it would be winter now. Therefore can recommend also in the summer!

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4+/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++ / +++

Bodega – Viña Real – Vino.

 





Restaurant review: Saari – revisit and reunion

31 05 2015

 

Sirpalesaari - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Saari is located on the island Sirpalesaari about 1 km from the centre of Helsinki. Saari provides Finnish delicacies of the season from land and sea as well as stunning views and genuine maritime atmosphere.  A boat serves the island every hour and half from the Saari pier located on the shore of Merisatama close to Cafe Carusel. The crossing takes only a couple of minutes. Also a few berths are available for guests arriving at the restaurant aboard with their own boats. You can dine either in the dining room inside, in the “Captain’s Cabin” of the private room Sampo or on the outdoor terrace.

Have visited restaurant several times and review from 2013 can be found by using search. This time Saari was the place for reunion of old college students.

Restaurant Saari

Started dinner with Elk rillettes flavored with birch syrup, beetroot and blackcurrant.

Delicious starter with many tastes. Green salad lightened dish but it would not have been necessary.

BraIsed eli at Saari - reijosfood.com

For main course ordered fish which was Salmon smoked with alder and juniper berries, summer potatoes and creamed wild forest mushrooms flavoured with Koskenlaskija cheese.

Long name for dish but kitchen continued with same level as with starter. Salmon was not overcooked which is always proof of chef’s competence. Spring potatoes could not yet be Finnish but this is the time when they become available in supermarkets too.

Salmon at Saari - reijosfood.com

Almost skipped dessert but luckily we got one extra portion which I took.

Saari’s traditional pine tar ice-cream with home-made blueberry and rasberry jam and oat biscuit by Rönttösrouva was really scrumptious. I am not sure about the lady behind biscuit but the name is difficult to translate.

Ice-cream at Saari - reijosfood.com

Food at Saari is always excellent and the athmosphere in old fisherman type of dining room hilarious.

Service is polite and professional as it has used to be.

But of course the company of college friends and discussion about funny events in the past made the dinner immemorial.

REVIEW: FOOD 4+/5 – SERVICE 4+/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5

Saari – Ravintola Saari.

 

 





Restaurant review: Bistro Telakka

23 05 2015

Telakka bistro replaced bistro Pirate Helsinki in May 2015. Same building and decor but new touch and enthusiasm.

Official opening was on the 22nd of May afternoon when Telakka served some delicious snacks, wine and beer for free. Snacks were actually bites from a la carte list. For instance mini Smoked salmon burger was excellent. Will definately try it later as big version.

Telakka bistro opening party

Highlight of Telakka burger is beef between roll’s. It is big and you are asked how minced meat is fried. Ordered it as medium which was also the end-result. Unfortunately french fries were too salty but bet it will be fixed later.

Telakka burger - reijosfood.com

Tasted also Goat cheese salad with beetroots. Excellent match especially with D’Vine Cabernet-Merlot red wine.

Goatcheese salad at Telakka - reijosfood.com

Avarage price of wine bottle on short list is about 35€, which is really affordable concerning wine prices in Helsinki restaurants in general.

Telakka bistro - reijosfood.com

Bistro Telakka - reijosfood.com

Telakka bistro is excellent supplementary dining place in Lauttasaari. One fish portion to main courses and place have promising future.

It is a little bit difficult to review service as you have to order from the bar inside. When it gets warmer, there will be hungry queuers waiting for possibility to place order.

REVIEW: FOOD 4/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE – 4/5

http://www.bistrotelakka.fi/

 

 





Restaurant review: Pjazza – Italian cuisine at its best

16 05 2015

Pjazza - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Pjazza was opened in Autumn 2014 providing Italian cuisine in quite impressive facilities. Restaurant area consists of several dining spaces like main dining room, loft above dining room, so called boulevard right after main entrance and small round table.

New Bepop Bar & Lounge was just opened on Ascension Day Eve providing better use for separate space. There is also VIP Lounge available and if you need Ballroom or seminar room, G18 is rented by Pjazza. And new terrace when ever the weather allows dining outside.

First visited the newly opened bar and tried Aperol Spritz. It is the best drink to review bar drinks and Pjazza did good job.

One interesting detail is that bar offers some snacks on Friday between 17-19. Typical for Italian bars, but not before in Finland.

Aperol Spritz at Pjazza

Pjazza personnel - reijosfood.com

On Sunday you can enjoy brunch buffet and what is definately welcomed speciality, live jazz three times a week! Even during brunch you can listen live jazz, which makes event lively and distinguish Pjazza from other brunch spots.

Pjazza bar - reijosfood.com

Menu consists naturally of Italian dishes. You can start the dinner with Antipasti, continue with Primi Piatti (pasta), enjoy Secondi (traditional Italian meat or fish) for main course and finalize ensamble with Dolci (dessert). But what differs Pjazza from other Italian cuisine restaurants in Helsinki?

Pjazza dining room - reijosfood.com

If you like to eat pizzas then you must try Pjazza. Dough used is left to rise for a minimum of 72 hours, and even up to 96 hours. And you can order all pizzas glutein-free. Nowadays quite necessary option. Tried neighbours pizza and it was one of the best in Helsinki.

First you are served some just baked bread with olive oil. One good example of Pjazza’s commitment to Italian cuisine. And when it comes to red wine you can buy a bottle of it with the price of 29€. And this time I mean wine is not basic carrafe wine, it is definately better than basic red wines you might think to be drinked.

Bread. olive oil and wine - reijosfood.com

For starter had Affetati Italian Misti Cold cuts including ham and salami. Especially liked procioutto cotto, which was delicious and fresh without any ham fat. Perfect starter as also olives were small and tasty with stones.

Antipasti at Pjazza - reijosfood.com

For main course decided to taste pasta, as it is best proof of capability of providing Italian kitchen for customers. Chose FETTUCINE GAMBERI E ZUCCHINI Fettucine with prawns, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and garlic.

What were pleasant surprises?

First of all pasta was al dente, which is not the case typically in Finland. People prefer unfortunately over cooked pasta. Then there was big king prawn included in the portion, which made the dish perfect. One of the best pastas available in Helsinki.

Pasta at Pjazza - reijosfood.com

Had to try Tiramisu for dessert. It is the only Italian dessert I can really compare. And Pjazza survived perfectly!

Excellent serving bowl, which completed enjoyment.

Tiramisu at Pjazza  - reijosfood.com

Food at Pjazza is excellent. If you are friend of Italian kitchen, then you go to this restaurant.

Maybe it is due to personnel working at Pjazza enabling Italian flavors really to carry the country on to your table.

And take a look at wine list. One of the best red wines is really under 30€ per bottle. Tasted also pinot grigio with pasta and it had enough character. Grappa selection is also reasonable. Without that digestive restaurant would not be Italian.

Grappa at Pjazza - reijosfood.com

When summer comes the terrace will be the spot for next dining experience. Improvement from previous a little bit “cold” restaurant is significant. Different spots for different moods. Please prepare to book table in advance.

Pjazza terrace - reijosfood.com

REVIEW: FOOD 4,5/5 – SERVICE 4,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 5-/5

etusivu | Pjazza.





Wine review: Baron de Ley Reserva 2010

14 05 2015
Baron De Ley is a relatively new producer in Rioja. Started in 1985 by Rioja wine professional eager to create a chateau inspired winery with state-of the-art winemaking. They converted an ancient monastery into a magnificent estate and have been producing Rioja wines that reflect a modern style, expressive of the terroir and the Tempranillo grape. 
Baron de Ley - reijosfood.com
Tasted wine was Baron de Ley Reserva 2010. Red wine is produced 100% of Tempranillo grapes. After 20 months ageing in new American-oak casks, a further 24 months rounding off in the bottle has brought it to its moment of plenitude.

THE LOOK

Ruby-red colour, typical better Spanish red wine

THE NOSE

Powerful fruity character mingling with reminders of its ageing, nice bouquet

THE TASTE

First impression is soft, but volume gradually extends across the palate to end with a long finish. Included tannins but disturbingly

Facts:

Alcohol: 13,5%
Extract: 27 g/l
Acidity: 5 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (360 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

“Gran reserva = matured for a long time, more than 3 years and in addition to a couple of years in the bottle. Reserva = aged 2-3 years and in addition to one year in the bottle

 

Baron de Ley Reserva 2010 - reijosfood.com

Enjoyed wine first as such and then with 1st of May food. Paired extremely well with chicken and spiced lamb sausages. Suits definately with red meats as there is enough taste.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4+/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++ / +++

Barón de Ley. A Rioja wine cellar in an old monastery.

 








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