Review: Finnair leisure flight warm breakfast

25 12 2013

Finnair still serves some warm food during leisure flights. You can also order some special food depending on your food allergy.

However, experience few days ago was a little bit odd. Best of all was Finnish yogurt but potato crockets, scrambled eggs and spinach stew were….

Let the review points tell the whole story. I wonder how tastes can be so unbalanced and structure of food so interesting? And what about tricolor?





Restaurant review: Pirate Helsinki – Christmas buffet

20 12 2013

Santa Claus -

Traditional Finnish Christmas buffet usually includes freshly salted fishes, roes, Christmas ham, casseroles and rosolli (beetroot, pickled cucumber, apple, carrot and whipped cream). Restaurant Pirate Helsinki did not serve casseroles but instead of that many rare delicacy traditional dishes.

Pirate Helsinki served 5th time Christmas buffet in cozy and vivacious athmosphere. Silent Santa Claus welcomed guests next to the entrance.

Menu is unfortunately only in Finnish but it includes for instance herrings, roes, smoked fishes, game dishes and different type of roots. For dessert you can choose Finnish cheeses and sweet desserts.

Pirate Christmas menu -

Only dish served to the table, first on the menu, was chestnut soup, which was delicious. Mulled wine, however was not the best one tasted, as it was partly based on Wana Tallin liqueur.

Chestnut soup -

All other foods and dishes were on the buffet tables. Because of the wide selection of dishes available, I am not going to bore you by writing detailed description and review of each piece of food tasted. Instead, picture is worth of a thousand words.

Pirate buffet - reijosfood.comPirate buffet - reijosfood.comPirate buffet - reijosfood.comPirate buffet -

Buffets can be insidious, you can eat too much and you notice it only after you have finished dinner. But if you decide just to taste small pieces of each food, then you can survive.

First plate: roes, freshly salted fish and herrings

Second plate: not picture but included warm fish dishes

Third plate: raindeer and elk with parsnip pyre and boletus stew

Fourth plate: Finnish cheeses

Fifth plate: gingerbreads, gingerbread cupcake, macaroni, marmalades and chcolates

Pirate - reijosfood.comPirate - reijosfood.comPirate - reijosfood.comPirate -

Pirate manages well in serving Christmas buffet dinner. In the summer time going is more simple but as relaxed. Chef Markus Maulavirta was helping in the kitchen which could be seen in the high level of buffet. One + more for the overall grade if wine list would have been as luxorious as buffet. Three white and red wines do not necessarily pair with all available savory foods.


Santa Claus II - reijosfood.comMerry Christmas -

Wine review: Hewitson Baby Bush Mourvèdre 2011

16 12 2013

Baby Bush -
Baby Bush vines are thrived in the cool vintage of 2011 that saw a slow and even ripening period. The later maturing nature of Mourvèdre grapes meant ripening occurred in sunny and warm conditions compared to the cool and rain of earlier in the vintage.
After hand picking and fermentation on skins, the wine completed its maturation for 16 months in the very same barrels used, when new, for Old Garden Mourvèdre. During this period the barrels experienced batonnage, where wine was mixed the fermentation lees with the new wine by rotating barrels on little wheels built into the racks.

As title tells, Hewitson Baby Bush is made 100% from Mourvèdre grape. Mourvèdre is not so common grape, at least for me, which made the tasting really fascinating.


Typical Hewitson label, white background and certain color of letters.

Wine itself is ruby red, some brownish although vintage is quite young 2011.

Hewitson -

Red wine glasses -


Depending on glass, even liquorice-chocolate, but blackberry and boysen berry raised from both glasses. As wine is almost as strong as Amarones’s aroma of alcohol felt more strongly in bigger glass.


Full-bodied a little bit spicy but tender taste. When wine opens up, flavor becomes even better.

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 14,50 %
Extract: 29 g/l
Acidity: 4,6 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal / 100 ml (370 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

Wine is excellent, well balanced and tannins do not interfere too much. Suits perfeclty with red meats but also with spicy foods as it has some character. I would not forget it either on cold winter days although we have not seen them yet in Helsinki.


Wine review: Best mulled wines

13 12 2013

Glögi -

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 two best mulled wines available at Alko: Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi and Hehkuviini.

Mulled wines -

What is odd that both 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. This was actually new information for me, without writing this post I would not have paid any attention.


The labels of both bottles look similar, same red ground and golden decorations.

Hehkuviini is a little bit darker red than Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi. However, the difference of the look of mulled wines is usually negligible.


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.


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.

Facts and figures:

Perinteinen Hehkuviini**
Alcohol: 13,00 % 22.00 %
Extract: 130 g/l 175 g/l
Acidity: 5 g/l 5.1 g/l
Sugar: 110 g/l 150 g/l
Energy: 130 kcal / 100 ml (520 kJ / 100 ml) 190 kcal / 100 ml (800 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap metal screw cap

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 which is one of the worst ever tasted. Gluhweins are quite close to mulled wines, but not so sweet.

One option is to buy mulled wines from super markets but then you also to need to know which ones to pick. Most of them are actually juices. Good choice is Blossa Lingon which is almost non-alcoholic and therefore suits for drivers also.

Blossa glögi -

REVIEWS: OVERALL GRADES 5/5* AND 4/5** – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++* AND ++/+++**

Wine review: Champagne Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie Brut

6 12 2013

Champagne Taittinger -

Finland celebrates its Independence Day on the 6th December. It is a day for bubbling drinks and this years champagne was from Taittinger, Les Folies de la Marquetterie.

Taittinger’s very first “Champagne de Domaine”, Les Folies de la Marquetterie is a blend of Chardonnays (45%) and Pinot Noirs (55%), made exclusively from grapes grown at the Folies vineyard that overlooks Château de la Marquetterie, the birthplace of the Taittinger family champagne. A “green” harvest is carried out on the selected plots of vines to ensure the fruit offers optimum sweetness and aromatic maturity. After harvesting, only the juice from the first pressing is reserved. The bottles are aged for five years.


To be honest do not really like the color of the label but of course drink itself only matters.

Color is deep yellow with a golden touch.

Champagne Taittinger -


The intense nose is fruity with aromas of apricot and red apple.


The palate is full-bodied, smooth and fruity with flavor of apricot. Although champagne has small bubbles they seem to multiply in the mouth.

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 12,50 %
Extract: 28 g/l
Acidity: 4,8 g/l
Sugar: 12 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (340 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie is perfect wine for celebrating Independence Day. Wine was tasted from Finnish Iittala Essence Champagne glasses and Cocktail bowls. Champagne and sparkling wines suit perfectly for Iittala glasses. Especially solemnity increases when you use Essence Cocktail bowl although bubbles lose quicker. So what, glamour is more important when you enjoy champagne!

And if you have some seafood; like scallops, vendaces and flambeed salmon on your Iittala plate, you might want to taste Taittinger with them.

Seafood -


Restaurant review: SPIS – pure Nordic cuisine

1 12 2013

Spies -

What is Nordic cuisine? It is delicious fresh food with lots of vegetables, good service, pleasant athmosphere and Nordic/Finnish background music!

Restaurant Spis is cozy 18-seat Nordic, maybe the smallest fine dining restaurant in Helsinki. It is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. Because of the size and popularity, you have to choose to dine early at 0530PM/0600PM or to eat at later table setting at 0830PM. Spis serves two tasting menus, there is no separate a la carte list available.

Visited first time Spis over a year ago and experience was impressive. Restaurant got 13,25 points which is as good achievement as this years leaders have been able to get. Or maybe we have been more picky this year?

Dinner started with snacks; several of them which differentiate Spis from many bistros in Helsinki.

First we were served crispbread with sauerkraut mayonnaise. After crispbread we were served root fireworks! You started from right with potato, carrot, striperoot and ended up to turnip. Not sure if striperoot is right translation for raitajuuri, but it is like beetroot. Each Finnish delicacy, which were eaten with fingers, included right seasoning or herb. Forget potato chips and peanuts, offer this type of snacks also at home.

Crisbread - reijosfood.comSnacks -

Greeting from kitchen, which was brought to the table by one of the chef’s, was vorschmack with sour cream. Good example of Finnish traditional food but prepared totally different way than usually. Minced meat was not so salty and greasy as it usually is and taste of anchovis was in balance.

Vorschmack -

For starter we got vitamin bomb which included beetroot and yellowroot. As snacks alread included one relative root you really have chance to try many Finnish fresh and good tasting roots.

Starter at Spis -

First warm main course was salmon with dried carrots and carrot spaghetti. Salmon was almost raw but it was not at the same time. Probably it had been steamed as it was so soft but there was no frying or roasting marks. Carrots had been first dried for 6 hours and then boiled. Prepared that way sweetness of carrots came to prominence and complimented salty (not too much) salmon well.

Salmon at Spies -

Between main courses we got apple sorbets, nice way to clean the mouth.

Sorbet  -

Spis served for second warm main course lamb ribs with potatoes. Best part of this portion was French red wine which paired perfectly with lamb. Unfortunately meat was too greasy for us and potatoes reminded too much of those you can get from frozen food lockers. But the sauce was scrumptious and it saved a lot.

Lamb -

Intermediate dessert consisted of pear cake and meringue. Auts, it was so yammy you could have continued eating for ever. But as you might guess, portions are not so big…

Sorbet -

Actual dessert was silver toffee ice-cream which made you hesitate thought you had when eating previous dessert. This one you could continue to eat forever…. Silver toffee (hopeatoffee) used to be favourite candy in the childhood and now you can again get it from the supermarkets, excellent! Using silver toffee in dessert is big proof that you are eating in a genuine Nordic/Finnish restaurant as this type of toffee is available only in Finland.

Spis also takes care of food allergies, therefore one dessert was sorbet.

Silver toffee -

Gittasorbet -

Dinner ended up with tea and espresso. But as you are able to taste Ålvados which is calvados from Åland you have to do it. Take a look at the bottle, there is glass apple inside. And with dessert drinks still some sweets. Great way to end the dinner.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Ålvados -

Restaurant Spis would have earned 5- for food if the lamb would not have been so greasy (most people would have liked it that way). Service was professional; contents of portions were explained well and suggestions for wines were one of the most succesful so far.

The food itself is excellent and probably one the healthiest you can eat at the restaurants. Background music was mainly new Finnish and Swedish sounds which is also quite unique.


And last but not least, take a look at Marimekko Unikko towels in the restroom! If we are not in THE Nordic restaurant, then where? SPIS is now new leader with 13,50 points!

Marimekko Unikko - reijosfood. com

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