Wine review: Best mulled wines 2014

18 12 2014
Glögi - reijosfood.com

Mulled wines

First two important questions: Is mulled wine a wine at all? Are mulled wines available in your country or is there some other Christmas drink more popular?

Mulled wines (Glögi or Hehkuviini in Finnish) are really popular in Finland during Christmas time. They can be purchased at Alko’s already at the end of October. As the assortment of mulled wines is quite wide it is important to select right ones. Many of the mulled wines at Alko are too sweet, too strong or strangely flavored. Once we had to pour present down the drain because it was so awful.

So, we have picked three best mulled wines available at Alko: Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi, Hehkuviini and Rauschgoldengel Organic Glühwein (1 litre bottle!)

Gluhwein - reijosfood.com

What is odd that first two come from Denmark, which seems to be THE country of mulled wines, if conclusion is based on Alko selection. So, most of the mulled wines are not made in Finland. As a matter in fact, most of them are imported or specially manufactured for Alko and bottled in Finland.

Gluhwein comes from Germany, of course. Very popular drink with several producers in Central Europe, but only one brand to be chosen in Finland.

THE LOOK

The labels of Danish mulled wine bottles look similar, same red ground and golden decorations. Organic gluhwein label is not so flashy, nice winter picture on it.

Hehkuviini is a little bit darker red than Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi. Gluhwine is even more lighter than Punaviiniglögi.

However, the difference of the look of mulled wines is usually negligible.

THE NOSE

The aroma of Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi is softer due to amount of less alcohol. Clove dominates but not disturbingly.

Hehkuviini smells like raisin and Christmas spices but alcohol tries to come up. The scent of both wines is christmassy, which is most important savor of mulled wines.

Gluhwein bouquet is nice, not too much alcohol which makes sniffing more pleasant.

THE TASTE

You can find cardamon form Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi. Taste is well balanced and spices are in harmony.

In Hehkuviini mostly you can taste almond and gingerbread. As it has more alcohol that can also be noticed. Quite a lot calories too…..

Gluhwein tasted much better than last years version. Balanced spiced taste and tempranillo grapes made this drink winner of the year. And most of all, it is not too sweet.

Gluhwein - reijosfood.com

Facts:

……………Gluhwein………….Punaviiniglögi…..Hehkuviini
Alcohol:   10.00 %                 13.00%                  22.00%
Extract:   105 g/l                   120 g/l                   170 g/l
Acidity:    4.9 g/l                    5.7 g/l                    4.7 g/l
Sugar:     85 g/l                     95 g/l                    150 g/l
Energy:   100 kcal / 100 ml  120 kcal / 100 ml  190 kcal / 100 ml

Mulled wines are part of Christmas time, at least in Finland. It is a pity that Alko does not provide wider selection of Gluhweins, only one choice available but fortunately excellent. Gluhweins are quite close to mulled wines, but not so sweet.

One option is to buy low-alcohol mulled wines from super markets, but then you also to need to know which ones to pick. Most of them are actually juices.

REVIEWS:

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

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

Gluhwein: OVERALL GRADE 5-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++ 





Wine review: Taittinger Nocturne – Champagne for Finnish Independence Day

6 12 2014
Taittinger Nocturne

Taittinger Nocturne

Taittinger Nocturne is a “sec” champagne composed of chardonnay (40%), Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (60%). Taittinger suggests that Nocturne should be enjoyed at the end of evening. That is partly because of amount of sugar, 17.5g/l dosage of sugar, which might be needed in the wee hours. Champagne for parties? Let’s taste!

However, we decided to taste Nocturne in the evening on Finnish Independence Day, but not at the end of the evening. Did it make any difference? Tasting from Riedel Vitis champagne glass.

Had enjoyed one tasting glass earlier in the afternoon, when we participated at Wine, food & good living fair in October and then it did not taste as good as we hoped. Wine was also a little bit warm at that time.

Taittinger Npcturen and Riedel glass - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

The design of the bottle is elegant and colorful purple. There is also standard bottle available but I would choose this special release.

The body of the wine is pale yellow in color. Rich amount of small bubbles makes you desire to taste before sniffing.

THE NOSE

From delicate bouquet you can find peach but also the “sec” which means a little bit more sweetness than in brut champagne

THE TASTE

Amount of sugar is noticeable, but when wine is enough cold, it does not bother too much. Taste is balanced and stylish.

Taittinger Nocturne - reijosfood.com

Facts:

Alcohol: 12.50 %
Extract: 39 g/l
Acidity: 6.9 g/l
Sugar: 17,5 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (340 kJ / 100 ml)

Taittinger Nocturne is champagne for special occasions especially if you do not like too dry (brut) champagnes. Cool it enough cold and you do not even notice the sweetness.

Happy 97th Independence Day!

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

Taittinger – CUVÉES GALLERY





Restaurant review: Pastor – Drink & Dine

29 11 2014

Aperitives at Pastor - reijosfood.com

Pastor was opened in August 2014 adding new cuisine in Helsinki restaurant scene. Inspiration comes from the Peruvian kitchen with add on’s from east Asian ingredients. Really fusion cuisine as there are some hints from sushi culture and Spanish kitchen. The portions can be eaten alone or they can be shared, of course nowadays.

Decor is simple, maybe even rugged. But as Pastor is also open until 3AM on Friday’s and Saturday’s and transforms even more laid-back socializing place, it does not matter. Background music is played quite loud but does not disturb too much. Room height between dining room and bar hides part of it.

Pastor kitchen -reijosfood.comPastor dining room - reijosfood.com

Menu consists of Ceviche bar snacks, starters, main courses, side dishes and desserts. Ceviche dishes are popular in the coastal regions of the South and Central Americas. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with chili. One proof of Peruvian kitchen!

Decided to order for aperitives glass of champagne, Lassaigne Les Vignes de Montgueuz and drink, which was recommended by waiter, Twinkly. By ordering that you also support Movember movement with 1€ donation.

Wine world is the best part of Pastor. One of the most famous sommerliers in Finland, Pekka Koiranen, chose the wines for us. Recommend to let him to do so, that is the most easiest way to get right wines for complicated flavors.

With fish and shellfish we were suggested to try Von Winning riesling which paired extremely well with tart cheviche. Easy to continue with salmon. With ribs enjoyed glass of Serva azon Pinot Nero from J.Hofstätter, excellent match with spicy pork. And with dessert tasted Beerenauslese Cuvee from grapes 60 % Welschriesling and 40 % Chardonnay, from Weinlaubenhof Kracher. Again perfect match with partly sweet and partly pungent dish.

Pekka Koiranen at Pastor - reijosfood.comVon Winning riesling at Pastor - reijosfood.comPinot Nero red wine at Pastor - reijosfood.comBeerenauslese wine at Pastor - reijosfood.com

You have 2 1/2 hours time enough for eating. As we had starters, main courses, desserts and espressos and we arrived 15 minutes late, we had to finish wines at the bar. At that time restaurant and bar were already filled with hungry and thirsty customers. And it seems that this is a fact for most of the evenings. Therefore prepare to book table on time.

Pastor bar - reijosfood.com

Pastor is fresh and welcomed dining experience with new flavors. Service was enough quick, which seemed to be challenge during the first months after opening. Although restaurant was full booked our portions arrived in appropriate schedule.

Overall grade raises because of the focus in wines. And it is needed, because wines are maybe not the most common beverage in Peruvian cuisine, are they?

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

http://www.pastorrestaurant.fi/

 





Restaurant review: Gastrobar Emo – Michelin Bib Gourmand status

23 11 2014
Gastrobar Emo

Gastrobar Emo

 

Gastrobar Emo provides easygoing service and good food. Emo (Dam in english) was opened in August 2013 in the same place where Michelin star restaurant Olo used to be. Owners are also partly the same. Emo earned Michelin Bib Gourmand status quite soon after opening, which is a proof of quality food and reasonable prices.

Gastrobar Emo - reijosfood.com

Gastrobar Emo at Kasarimikatu

 

Emo - reijosfood.com

Gastrobar Emo dining room

There is also separate wine bar which provides opportunity to enjoy an aperitif or glass of wine. With drinks you can order snacks from bar menu.

Emo Wine bar - reijosfood.com

Emo wine bar

Quite soon after you arrive you will get fresh bread, but only one slice for each diner.

Bread bag at Emo - reijosfood.com

Paper bag for bread

We also ordered some Snacks with glasses of Taittinger. Unfortunately some bubbles had already dissapeared, because we got the last drops from the bottle.

Taittinger at Emo - reijosfood.com

Champagne Taittinger

For snacks we had Salami, which is actually basic salami slices and Dried tuna, which was delicious with mayonnaise. There are about 8 different alternatives to choose from, each cost you 4€. Good way to start the dinner.

Salami at Emo - reijosfood.com

Snacks – salami

 

Tuna at Emo - reijosfood.com

Snacks – dried tuna

 

You can choose your dinner from 13 different choises, each cost 10€. The sizes of portions are like starters, except new main courses, which could also be shared. Sharing food portions is THE TREND now, but we decided to order Salt baked Rainbow trout just for one.

Our dinner started with Potato pancake with whitefish roe and warm smoked salmon and Roasted saithe with vegetables.

Pancakes or blinis with roe are usually top class starters and so there were also at Emo. Excellent combination, really worth to try. Saithe was well roasted, but included a little bit too much salty ingredients like olives and capers. However, tomatoes softened the taste to a turn.

Blini ar Emo - reijosfood.com

Potato pancakes with whitefish roe and smoked salmon

 

Sei at Emo - reijosfood.com

Roasted saithe

 

Next came the fish! Preparing local Finnish fish under salt cover is really rare at restaurants in Helsinki. And this one was bull’s eye! Right cooking, not over or under, just perfect. Some add on’s like fried potatoes and green salad was there, but focus was on fish.

Second “starter” was Shellfish paella, excellent composite of small octopus, clam and rice.

Rainbow trout at Emo - reijosfood.com

Salt baked rainbow trout

Emon kirjolohi - reijosfood.com

Rainbow trout

 

Paella at Emo - reijosfood.com

Shellfish paella

Third “starter” was Piglet with sauerkraut and apple compote. Sauerkraut was hidden under three pieces of meat pieces. Nice and soft composite.

Hoped that this dish would have arrived a little bit earlier because rainbow trout was almost eaten while waiting piglet.

Pork at Emo- reijosfood.com

Piglet

Fourth and last “starter” was Charcoal grilled horse skewer with mayonnaise. Meat was a little bit dry, but taste of charcoal is always attractive.

Horse at Emo - reijosfood.com

Horse skewer

We ordered wine, which was suggested on the blackboard. Dry and fruit riesling, Boeckel, from Alsace, France paired well with seafood. For meats ordered glass of suggested Merlot which paired well with piglet and horse.

Riesling at Emo - reijosfood.com

Boeckel riesling

Waitering by about 5 different waitresses/waiters was professional. Saithe had to be changed, because it was first served with one ingredient we were asked to leave away.

All seafoods are close to 5, especially salt baked fish earns special note. 4 dishes from the list is enough, 3 might leave you hungry.

Gastrobar Emo is Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant and it deserves to be such.

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

Home – Ravintola EMO





Wine review: Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau & Château des Loges Beaujolais Villages Nouveau

21 11 2014

 

Beaujolais Nouveau - reijosfood.com

Beaujolais Nouveau

 

Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France. Wine is released for sale on the third Thursday of November. “Beaujolais Nouveau Day” used to see heavy marketing, with races to get the first bottles to different markets around the globe.

The current release practice is to ship the wine ahead of the third Thursday of November, and release it to the local markets at 00.01 AM local time. In Finland Alko, monopoly company selling wines and alcohol, starts selling these wines at 09.00 on Thursday 20th November.

Luckily 2014 we are able to taste 2 different wines, both cost to consumers less than 10€.

These wines are Château des Loges Beaujolais Villages Nouveau and Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau.

BJ wines- reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

Label of last year’s wine from Georges Duboeuf was much more colorful. Maybe it is time to slow down a bit? Did it scare consumers?

Both wines are almost violet, blue-reddish like young wines always are. The color in the first picture is a little too dark than wine is in natural.

THE NOSE

Fruity, even sweet aroma especially when using tasting glass. Rasberry and fruit candy scent came in to the nose from both wines.

It seems that Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau has more deep bouquet.

THE TASTE

Young, light fruity wines. Berries dominate, but on the other hand taste is skinny. Aroma is better than taste, but with unspiced food and pizzas, both wines pair well.

Beaujolais Nouveau wines in Finland

Beaujolais Nouveau wines in Finland

Facts:

                             Georges Duboeuf                                         Chateau des Loges
Alcohol:        12,00 %                                             12,50 %
Extract:        26 g/l                                                27 g/l
Acidity:         5,5 g/l                                               5,7 g/l
Energy:         80 kcal / 100 ml (320 kJ / 100 ml)   80 kcal / 100 ml (340 kJ / 100 ml)

Do not know exactly what has happened, but 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau wines taste better than 2013 wine. Maybe better vintage? Any other opinions?

REVIEW:

Georges Duboeuf  OVERALL GRADE 4-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++

Chateau des Loges OVERALL GRADE 3,5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++





Restaurant review: Hanko Sushi – largest sushi bar chain in Finland

14 11 2014
Sushi from Hanko Sushi - reijosfood.com

Sushi from Hanko Sushi Bar

Hanko Sushi is Finland’s largest sushi restaurant or bar chain. The first Sushi Bar was founded in summer town Hanko (reason for name) and today chain has 15 Sushi Bar’s in several localities, most of them in the capital area. Many of the sushi spots are bar’s and take-away places, but for instance the one in Hanko can be called as restaurant. Larger dining room with several tables and summer terrace.

As fans of Sushi, tried first time Hanko Sushi Ruoholahti a two months ago and after that several times. Usually have dropped by some small sushi bar in shopping centers.

Hanko Sushi Ruoholahti

Hanko Sushi Ruoholahti

 

From Hanko Sushi picked up each time assortments. They have three different sizes and this review covers all of them.

Small Assortment consists of 10 sushi pieces

4 Nigiri’s: 2 Shake (Salmon*), 1 Ebi (Shrimp), Tamago (Omelet**)

6 Maki roll’s: 2 Kappa (Cucumber), 2 Shake (Salmon), 2 Lohiura (Salmon, avocado, sesame seeds)

Ginger, Wasabi, Soy sauce

Maki roll’s were great especially Shake and Lohiura. Pure Kappa is too simple, but with wasabi and soy sauce simple taste improves a lot.

Nigiri’s are our favourite, especially basic Shake. One Shake piece was replaced this time with Yakishake*, which is also delicious. Ebi is most difficult to eat and better leave Tamago as last piece because it is so scrumtiously sweet.

Small Assortment at Hanko Sushi

Small Assortment at Hanko Sushi

Medium Assortment has 12 sushi pieces which means two Nigiri’s more:

1 Yakishake (Grilled salmon), 1 Tara (Cod)

All Nigiri’s were again really scrumptious except Tara, which was quite chewy. Yakishake with mayonnaise was especially enjoyable. Tara was the reason for dropping 1/4 points.

*Tamago was in this medium assortment replaced with Seaweed, which actually was delicious. Almost conjured when saw Tamago missing, but not anymore when enjoyed Seaweed first of 12 sushi’s.

Hanko Sushi selection - reijosfood.com

Medium Assortment at Hanko Sushi

With Large Assortment you get again two Nigiri’s more but also some changes:

1 Unagi (Grilled eel), 1 Avocado, 1 Gunga Masako (Capelin roe)***

Again some changes because Tara*** was there and had replaced Gunka Masako. Why Tara, not our favourite… Anyhow, again delicious assortment and extreme sushi enjoyment. Especially Unagi was nice surprise. Ate it first time and it will not be the last. One of the best Sushi pieces ever tasted.

Large Assortment at Hanko Sushi

Large Assortment at Hanko Sushi

Soy sauce is the sweetest ever tasted at sushi bar’s. Almost too sweet because saltiness seems to remain hidden. But it is excellent, no need to say it. And wasabi is enough strong but not that strong that is makes your eyes drain.

Sushi’s at Hanko Sushi are excellent; fresh and tasty. So far takeaway portions have been the best in Helsinki.

I do not rate service, if one has the to order from cashier.

Next summer have to visit Hanko Sushi Hanko and have light lunch at the terrace in order to be able to compare quality and service. Hanko Sushi Iso-Omena in Espoo also has wider dining room with several tables.

No wine available, which urges you to purchase sushi’s with you and enjoy them with wine at home.

Overall grade is also difficult to rate, but visits to Hanko Sushi Ruoholahti have been quick but pleasant experiences.

Hanko Sushi bar Ruoholahti

Hanko Sushi bar Ruoholahti

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

Hanko Sushi.





Restaurant review: Yume – second visit 2014

7 11 2014
Drink at Yume - reijosfood.com

Bramble

Restaurant Yume is part of Kämp Group, which also operates luxury hotel Kämp. Yume serves Asian flavours in a modern decor, and is located in the same building as hotel Kämp. Inspired by the Jack Yoss Experience pop up restaurant which was at Yume in July 2012, restaurant’s menu changed and offers today a wide variety of modern Asian food.

Our first visit was in February when we enjoyed tasting menu. This time decided to try dishes on the a la carte list. Unfortunately whitefish was not there anymore; it was the best dish last time from the menu.

Restaurant Yume - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Yume

 

Before ordering food had to relax with aperitives. Chose Bramble Gin, bramble (blackberry) and lemon and Yume Roayl. With the amount of ice, Bramble drink almost dissappeared, but it was excellent apritif to start with. Royal included some herb, can not remember anymore which one. You could not notice bouquet of herb but the taste yes.

Drinks at Yume - reijosfood.com

For starters we ordered Thai pork ribs Pork ribs, herb salad and thai-chili sauce and Whitefish Kinilaw Whitefish, lime and chili.

Portion of ribs was huge and propably idea was to share it. But after tasting, I think no-one wants to share it. One of the best pork ribs dishes ever eaten. Last time one tiny setback was that food was not so spicy as we would like it to be, especially Asian. Now everything was in harmony including herbs, chili and sweetnes; perfect combination. And no grease at all around bones.

Whitefish was marinated with lime and it was partially raw matured. You must like lots of citrus taste and of course chili, if you order this. Lavaret or whitefish is one of the best Finnish fishes to prepare like this.

Pork ribs at Yume - reijosfood.comWhite fish at Yume - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had Cod and Crispy Noodles Fried cod, noodles and spicy ginger sauce and Salmon Teriyaki Roasted salmon and sweet teriayki sauce.

Cod is excellent fish, a little bit under valued. If there had been less deep frying, this portion would have been really delicious. Dish was fine tuned due to our request and sauce was luscious.

Unfortunately salmon was a little bit over roasted but side dishes, thai salad and sauce, matched brilliantly with the fish.

Cod at Yume - reijosfood.comSalmon at Yume - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Weingut Weegmüller, Riesling Trocken 2012, Pfalz, Germany. Nice basic riesling, not so typical size, 1 liter.

As starters and main courses were quite heavy, we settled for espresso and tea. Tea pot was matching with Yume style.

Tea pot at Yume - reijosfood.com

Interesting detail is the location of extra cutlery. They were hidden in a small box under the table, but only on one side.

Cutlery at Yume - reijosfood.comYume - reijosfood.comYume dining room - reijosfood.com

Yume is one of the best “gourmet” Asian cuisine restaurants in Helsinki. As it is in the center of the city, next door to Hotel Kämp, it’s location is also perfect. Would have liked to give 4 1/2 for food, but main courses are most important part of dinner. Clear improvement was more use of spices, herbs and chili.

Modern rhythm music is not too loud and most of the tables are not thick on the ground, which makes discussion possible. Service was again professional as expected.

Next time, which will definately come, we shall try Hot Stone dishes. Scent in the restaurant is attractive due to several sizzling stones on the tables. It is not disruptive at all, which may be the case in some restaurants with the same idea.

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

http://ravintolayume.fi/en/








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