Best Bakery in Helsinki

I believe Leipomo Keisari is the best bakery in Helsinki. They have several bakeries around Helsinki – I usually visit the one in Kamppi metro station near my home.  Why Leipomo Keisari’s bread is so delicious? Well, they must have the best sourdoughs! You see, when using sourdoughs you don’t have to use yeast at all (or only a tiny bit). And that surely have an great positive effect on taste! All baking looks also very pretty so to sum up – Leipomo Keisari is totally Paris level bakery!

It is good to know that Kamppi bakery is only selling out – you can’t sit down and taste pastries right away.  And how do you find Leipomo Keisari? It is in Kamppi mall – on ground level near Ben and Jerry’s and K-supermarket.

Anna

 

Hobby-horsing – a versatile hobby

Hobby-horsing is a very popular hobby in Finland. I asked Nekku to write a post about this versatile hobby, competitions and the stable she runs in Lahti, Finland. Enjoy hobby-horsing with Nekku!
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Hi! I’m Nekku from hobbyhorse stable Tähtiseinä located in Lahti, Finland.

In our stable we do many things. One thing of hobby-horsing is doing hobby horses. There are many kind of hobby horses and if I would tell them all it would too long list, so here are few of them:

  • horses by felting
  • horses from fabric
  • real kind of them…
Nekku_hobby_horse

One of Nekku’s hobby-horses (Picture by Nekku)

Also many fancier do a stable for their horses and the stables are quite different. Some of them are in bedroom (like mine), some of them are in play cottage. Some are big (there can be over 50 horses) and some are small (there can be less than 4 horses).
There are many different things to do with them. I don’t put them here because I don’t know them all and there comes new things quite often, but find more information from my pages and from internet.

We have also many kind of competitions, but most popular are Finnish championship and this year (2018) they are 28.7.2018 at Seinäjoki arena. The tickets costs a bit. There are sales tables, competitions and much of fun! Come and look!

To start this hobby, you will need a hobby-horse or you can try to find a club. And then start to ride with it!

You will find more information and a place to contact me from kht-tahtiseina.simplesite.com. Come and have a look!

Fun time with hobbyhorses!

What to buy in Helsinki – list for 2018

So you have gone through the main souvenir shops, grabbed some Iittala, Marimekko and Fazer with you and wondering if there is anything else you should buy in Helsinki? Oh yes! Check LivinginHel’s 2018 curated list for shopping and enjoy some unique Finnish products.

Joutsen
Joutsen (swan in Finnish) is a well known brand for its high quality down products. They have soft and comfortable pillows, duvets and down coats. A good thing is that their products are also suitable for people with allergies (approved by the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Federation). You can find Joutsen products from many retailers and at Joutsen store just behind the National Museum. Joutsen ››

A strong recommendation: Don’t miss this throw. It’s perfect for travelling, light and so warm (unfortunately the webstore is only in Finnish but you get the idea!) ››

Museokatu 8, Monday-Friday 10–18, Saturday 10–15

joutsen duvet

Balmuir
Balmuir products sit well with Nordic idea of beauty and quality: plain designs, subtle colours, natural materials and fine quality. The products vary from fashion to cosmetics and home textiles. Grab a warm cashmere scarf or a linen towel from Balmuir’s selection before heading home. Balmuir ››
Pohjois-Esplanadi 25-27, Monday-Friday 11–19, Saturday 10–17

Stepan Sarpaneva watches
Sarpaneva watches are made in his workshop at Kaapelitehdas and the quality and design are high class. However, these watches are not available in every corner shop and the best way to get his unique watches around your wrist is to mail him or simply giving him a call. A great opportunity to visit his workshop as well! Sarpaneva watches ››


Makia
Makia store is located in Lasipalatsi. Just like the building, also its cloths are functional and made for Nordic weather. Makia has also labelled some of their products as pure waste products. They use recycled textiles that would otherwise go to waste and manufacture new fashionable clothes out of them. Makia ››
Mannerheimintie 22-24, Monday-Friday 11–19, Saturday 10–18

 

Woodnotes
The textile designer Ritva Puotila’s paper yarn products range from carpets and furniture to bags, pillows and containers. They are inspired by Finnish nature and raw materials – wood and paper. Woodnotes products have received several design awards and are known for their elegant design and quality. Woodnotes ››
Vepsäläinen – Annankatu 25,  Stockmann – Aleksanterinkatu 52 B,  Artek Keskuskatu 1 B

place mat_woodnotes

Minna Parikka
Minna Parikka’s shoes and accessories have a fresh approach in Finnish design scene.  Pop-stars and fashion bloggers wear her shoes and the bunny ears are recognisable all over the world. Minna Parikka Universum is a flag ship store in Helsinki city centre and has a wide range of Parikka products. Minna Parikka ››
‘Aleksanterinkatu 36, Monday-Friday  10–18, Saturday  10–15

Finlayson
This 1820 established company is producing home textiles with beautiful designs. THere are some well known characters like Moomin in their textiles and the Tom of Finland collection is a tribute to the art of Touko Laaksonen. You can find kitchen, bathroom, home decor and bedroom items in Finlayson’s collections. Finlayson flag ship store is located in Helsinki city centre. Finlayson ››
Eteläesplanadi 14, Monday-Friday  10–18, Saturday  10–16

finlayson-finnish-design

Enjoy your shopping!

Uisge is back!

Our favorite whiskey event, Uisge, is coming again next February.

IMG_8969.jpgIn case you’re out and about in Helsinki around mid-February (9-10 to be exact), tickets are on pre-sale at seamchip.fi/uisge.

You won’t regret paying the event a visit. The way we see it, this would also make fine Xmas present for a whiskey-loving loved one. Stay tuned, we’ll post more when we learn more. In the meantime, why not check out what we wrote on our previous visits.

Make sure to check out fellow our whiskey lover’s blog on the subject as well: Viskisieppo

Crayfishing

Crawfish, crayfish, crawdad, Astacus Astacus — whatever you call it, rapu is a true Northern delicacy. Crayfish and crayfishing are steeped in tradition — while fishing, while cooking, and most definitely, while eating.

Crayfishing… wait, what?

We’ll get to the fishing bit later, but let’s talk about the feast itself. Typically, at least six crayfish per person starts the evening, followed by e.g. steaks, salmon or something more traditional, like Jansson’s Temptation. If you’ve got more than 10 crayfish per person to go around, they become the main course.

IMG_5759.JPGCrayfish are consumed slowly, and always in company. The cooked crayfish are allowed to cool in their broth for a few hours or more, and are served cold. We usually use only salt, a bit of sugar, and dill to season the broth (but you can also add porter in the mix.) This way, the delicate taste is preserved.

Each crayfish is like a miniature lobster, and is treated with respect. First the savoury broth is sucked out of the shell, the tail and claws are opened with special crayfish knives to get to the tasty meat, which typically is piled on buttered toaster bread,  sprinkled with freshly cut dill — and savoured.

The first tail is toasted with Vodka, or Aquavit (or whatever rocks your boat) and traditional songs are sung to further the merry proceedings. After the first tail, just keep on opening, sucking out the broth, assembling more claws & tails on your toaster bread…. and enjoying the company, the songs, and of course the booze, beer & wine.

 

Crayfishing 

The season starts yearly at noon on 21 July, and crayfishing is subject to licensing. Crayfish used to have a minimum length requirement of 10 cm (4 in) nose-to-tail, but not anymore. However, anything below 8 cm (3.5 in) should really just be released back immediately. With luck, you’ll meet them a few years later.

To catch crayfish, most use passive traps, although some prefer active crayfishing. As for the traps, there are quite a few models, but the two seen here are the most popular models.

As bait, most use either fish from the same lake or river or slices of beef or pork.An insider tip is to use bratwurst or frankfurters (like we do). A split crayfish will work extremely well, but it’s about as expensive as it gets. In the olden days, apparently village cats started to disappear towards the end of July…

IMG_2607The traps are set at a depth of around 2-3 meters and left overnight.

The next day, traps are checked, small crayfish are immediately released back, the bait is replaced and the traps are again lowered to the bottom of your lake, the riverbed or the seaside.

That’s about all you need. If and when you find a good spot, just put the traps back for the next night in the exact same location. Crayfish are competitive, so if you had the luck of setting your trap near a crayfish’s hiding place, and got a good catch, a new crayfish will take over that spot almost immediately. Crayfish favor a rocky bottom with plenty of places to hide in.

 

Sidenote: Finland and crayfish — success to bust to minor success
IMG_2602-EFFECTS
100 years ago Finland was Europe’s biggest exporter of crayfish, with a yearly catch over 10 times that of today. Finnish crayfish was widely recognized as a true treat. That, of course, was before the crayfish plague wiped out most of the crustacean population. And the introduction of the nearly as delicious American Signal Crayfish didn’t help either (as they carried the disease, quite possibly being the original vector). Stern measures have been taken to limit the spread of the disease, and the native crayfish population has been rising slowly the last decades. The best way to stop the spread is to never move your traps from one body of water to another. And if you absolutely must do it, you need to kill the plague spores — which happens by keeping the traps for 12 hours in a fully heated sauna (or by letting winter take care of business).

Once a Year – Trip to Tallinn

When I started to plan writing about my weekend trip to Tallinn I remember right away that Marjo has written about Tallinn as well. Of course I checked Marjo’s writing – it was written about a year ago. That is actually a good timespan – I would recommend yearly trip to Tallinn for every Helsinkian.  You see, Tallinn is a charming little town which is not far away and it is very reachable (2-3 hours by ferry) – so a perfect place to spend mini-holiday.

This time I was traveling with my family. We took ferry Friday afternoon and stayed two nights in Airbnb-flat in Tallinn old town next to old stone wall. There was a window in the roof of the apartment (we had top floor) with a church tower view. Very lovely! First evening we wondered around narrow streets of Tallinn old town and had a dinner in lovely Italian La Bottega. I recommend that place very much – customers were both locals and tourists and food was high quality and delicious. This place is also perfect for “more demanding” taste.

Saturday we wondered around Kalamaja district. This “hipster” area is very close to old town (less than 2 kilometers walk) but it has very different feeling – in Kalamaha you find old industrial buildings, lovely wooden houses (some a bit run down), great little shops as well as wonderful murals.

We had lunch in F-Hoone (situated in Kalamaja district) which is great place when you are not in hurry and don’t want white tablecloth. Food is tasty and fun and the whole place is very cool and relaxed. You should make a table reservation even for lunch to ensure you have a table – place is very popular among locals. I would guess the building is old factory – brick building has high ceilings and big lovely windows.

After Kalamaja and F-Hoone we headed to Tallinn Maritime Museum. Strong recommendation for that – you can visit old submarine and many other things. Unfortunately for some reason(???) I didn’t take any pictures there. Sorry for that. In the evening we had dinner in Vegan Restoran V. Even we are not vegans, we loved the place (net page doesn’t look promising but place is great!) . It is tiny restaurant in old town and offers many delicious options for dinner. Place has “Old town feeling and candels”. It is also very cheap.

Once again we had a great time in Tallinn – I believe that everyone deserves mini holiday now and then. For Helsinkians Tallinn is easy place to visit and you can find always new places to see. Or just enjoy great food and beautiful buildings. If you are tourist and in Helsinki for more than 3 days, you should consider spending one day in Tallinn. It works very well for day trips as well as for overnight. Just google best ferry times for you.

Anna

ps. On Sunday we had breakfast in MaiasMokk – recommend to visit there as well!

 

Night of the Arts 2017 / Taiteiden Yö 2017 in Helsinki

Just a quick note reminding about Taiteiden Yö (Night of the Arts) that’s celebrated today allover Helsinki. It’s an annual art festival as a part of Helsinki Festival, a series of different kinds of events during August.

This year I haven’t had the time to actually plan on what to do and where to go but I was planning on seeing at least these ones:

  1. The Secret Garden on Senate Square

Last year this garden was almost next door from my home and the atmosphere was very cosy and nice. They had workshops for kids, couple of bands and artists playing on the garden and some snacks available. This year the Secret Garden will be built to Senate Square so hopefully they will manage to make it as magical as last year.

secret_garden

The Secret Garden in Helsinki in 2016

2. One Pint Pub: Bellydance, Blues and Jazz

Not really interested in bellydance but this is our local with an amazing selection of craft beers all over the world. Support your local!

4. Mattolaituri night of arts

If the weather is good (as it should be), I think I’ll take my city bike (the yellow Alepa-bikes I wrote about in May) and make a short tour around the city. One of the pit stops will most likely be Mattolaituri in Kaivopuisto park to listen to some DJ’s and see their light installations. I can imagine it to be pretty cool in a dark August night.

-Marjo

 

 

Islands on Helsinki archipelago: Isosaari

Suomenlinna Fortress must be one of the most well known islands on Helsinki archipelago. However, during the past couple of years some of the islands that used to belong to Finnish Army have been opened to the public. Anna wrote about Lonna last year and this summer we got yet another interesting island to visit when Isosaari island was opened.

Isosaari island situated about 4 kilometers from Helsinki center and it takes about 30-40 minutes to get there on a boat. The boat costs 15 € and it leaves from Helsinki Market Square (or Kauppatori) next to Suomenlinna fortress ferries. During the summer (until 14 August) you can get there from Tuesday to Sunday and until 3 September during the weekend on Saturdays and Sundays. Mondays are reserved for golfers so if you are into the game I recommend trying out the peculiar 9 hole golf course that’s built on Isosaari.

Like I mentioned, Isosaari (or Mjölö in Swedish) used to be a military island and some of my friends have actually served their military service (or at least some part of it) on the island. There are still marks of that era such as an old shooting range and barracks. The old Officer’s Club has been re-opened serving light snacks, hamburgers, fish soup and beverages for visitors.

isosaari_restaurant

On a warm day you can also bring your own picnic basket or spend the day on the beach swimming. or even spend the night in your own tent on the camping area. There’s also a couple of saunas you can rent out for a larger group or just enjoy the public sauna that’s warm from 10 AM to 6 PM every day (during summer season). Just be prepared that it’s a public sauna for both men and women.

However, my favorite thing about this island is the beautiful nature and tranquility on the island. Even though it’s situated quite close to Helsinki mainland, the island is very quiet and peaceful. I think Isosaari is worth the day-trip: a bit of nature during the day and then heading back to the center for a nice glass of wine at Kauppatori at Allas Sea Pool for example.

-Marjo

Picking wild berries and mushrooms around Helsinki area

One of my favourite things in August is probably harvest season. Lots of fresh veggies in stores, local fruits (mostly apples) and of course wild berries and mushrooms. My parents just got back from Lapland and brought back a buckets and buckets full of cloudberries (called hilla or lakka in Finnish) which they had picked from swamp – and I absolutely love them!

Since we have this cool thing called everyman’s rights in Finland,  you’ve got the right to enjoy outdoor pursuits regardless of who owns or occupies an area anywhere in Finland. This means that you are allowed to gather wild berries and mushrooms from the forest free of charge and you do not need the landowner’s permission for it. However, there are still rules that apply so I’d recommend reading them before going to the forest for the first time. For example Environment.fi has them written down quite simply on their website.

Cloudberries are mostly found from Lapland (even though I have heard someone found them from Southern Finland, too), but blueberries grow everywhere in Finland and you can also find wild raspberries and sea buckthorns around Helsinki area. A bit later in the autumn (around September) you can pick lingonberries as well.

Berries are quite easy to recognize but with mushrooms I’d be more careful and only gather the ones you know for sure. I usually stick with chanterelles, funnel chanterelles, ceps and different sorts of boletes. Best way to get to know them is to go to the forest with someone who already knows how to recognize them.

Usually the season starts already in July when blueberries are ripe. However, this year has been a bit exceptional since the summer has been somewhat cold. Most of my friends usually go picking berries and mushrooms to their summer house but one option is to take the bus to Nuuksio national park (Eero wrote about camping in Nuuksio two summers ago, too). It will take a bit of time to get there on public transfer but it’s still doable. I would also recommend trying out Porkkalanniemi in Kirkkonummi to which I would recommend renting a car) or even taking a walk to Helsinki central park.

 

Day trip from Helsinki to Porvoo – strong recommendation

Strong recommendation for day trip from Helsinki to Porvoo, a second oldest city in Finland. Porvoo has beautiful old town with narrow streets and picturesque wooden houses. Just perfect place to stroll around and enjoy feeling of old times. Many small shops around offering handicrafts, antiquities, cloths and toys. Also many pretty and tasty coffees shops, restaurants and bars. There is also a church to visit – old cathedral build in 15th century. Town is so lovely, I got marred there years ago and  I always have this really special feeling when visiting!

A week ago I once again visited this lovely town. This time we had lunch in Fryysarinranta – lovely restaurant by the river. We enjoyed fresh summer buffet with different kind of fish and salads. I strongly recommend to taste their fish soup. In Fryysarinranta you can sit on a terrace by the river or inside in old wooden house (middle picture above from there). I also visited Cafe Paahtimo – I had glass of wine in their lovely terrace by the river.

I also recommend you to try Restaurant Meat District – newish restaurant in old lovely building in center of old town. There are many lovely places around and easily found when walking around old town.

 

How to get to Porvoo? Well, Porvoo is situated 50 kilometers from Helsinki and it is easily reachable by car, bus or even bike or boat. Buses to Porvoo leave in Helsinki from Kamppi terminal and it takes around one hour. Check bus schedule here. If you want to bike, it is good to know that there is biking path for most of the way. However, maybe 15-20 kilometers there is no special biking path but that part is easy and safe to bike as well. Finest way to travel is to take boat Runeberg. Boat takes 3.5 hours and you can enjoy Finnish archipelago while traveling. Finest day you’ll have if you take boat in the morning, then stay in Porvoo as long as you please and in the evening take bus back to Helsinki. Porvoo is a small town so no need to stay over for longer time – day is enough.

Anna

ps. There is maybe cutest toy store ever in Porvoo. It is called Riimikko (sign in below picture). Very strong recommendation! You can find Muumi postcards there as well as shown picture below.