tiistai 17. marraskuuta 2015


It's only 37 days to Christmas! And the last moment to send your wish list to JOULUPUKKI, Father Christmas. I decided to be really brave, and traveled to Lapland to meet him, face to face.

He lives in northern Finland, Korvatunturi-fell, which stands 486 meters above sea level. Korvatunturi means Ear Fell in Finnish. It is believed that the ear-shaped structure of the fell allows Father Christmas to hear the wishes of every child in the world. Part of the fell is in the Russian side of border, therefore all visitors are requested to have written permission from the Finnish Border Guard. Also; there are no roads that directly lead to the fell, hiking trails provide the only access.

Korvatunturi is Santa's private home, but he works in Joulupukin Pajakylä, 300 kilometers from his home, in the Arctic Circle, near Rovaniemi. That's where his official post office  is located, and where all mail send to Korvatunturi, ends up.

Father Christmas and his little Elf-helpers pack a reindeer-sleigh full of gifts, and Santa starts his Christmas tour, every year the 23. December. Finnish national television, and some 70 foreign TV-stations show the event "live". To tell you the truth; the magical sunshine in the background reveals  that the footage is actually not live. During Christmas Korvatunturi has KAAMOS, polar night, which means it's dim all day long. The filming is done each year couple of months after Christmas, when the spring sun starts shining... Or, maybe Korvatunturi has got it's own magical sun, what do I know? I've never been in Korvatunturi. I met Santa in his work-office, in Rovaniemi.

The Arctic Circle is the latitude in the Northern Hemisphere where the sun can remain continuously above or below horizon 24 hours. So the sun never sets for at least one day in summer and never rices for at least one day in winter.

"So far Santa Claus has received about 17 million letters from 198 different countries. At the Christmas time Santa can get about 32 000 letters/day. Top 7 countries are 1.China, 2.Italy, 3.Poland, 4.United Kingdom, 5.Finland, 6.Japan, 7.Russia. Christmas 2014 Santa received around 500 000 letters."-quotes Santa's Grand Post Office bulletin board.

Letters sent to Santa are divided into piles according to the country of the origin.

Some letters end up framed to the wall, like this one:
"To Santa!
It would be fun if you'd read this. I wish that I would become a hero of the nature, I would rescue the nature, and it would be wonderful if the globe would not be destroyed and if there would not be any  disasters. I want to switch into using water power, and I hope the others would also save the nature and recycle. I grow a grapefruit tree and it's now about 20 centimeters tall. When it's big, I am going to send it to developing countries. Please sent them rain cloud, that would be the best wish come true. As a gift to myself I'm wishing for a lava-lamp, hopefully ecological.
With love, Sini
(an elephant would be nice...♡)"

My wish list was not that thoughful ... But it got thumbs up!

If you didn't write to Santa, yet, here's the contact information:
99999 Korvatunturi

Joulupukin Pääposti
Pajakylä 96930 Napapiiri


tiistai 3. marraskuuta 2015


There is a new baby in the Northern skies; Finnair's newborn A350. The brand new eco-smart Airbus A350 is now flying routes within Finland and nearby European destinations. In the end of this month this babe starts flying to Asia, too. Finnair is the first European airline to receive the new generation  Extra Wide Body aircraft.

Ordinary Finns like to decorate with light. In summer with the endless daylight, and in winter, with candle light. Interior design house Vertti Kivi & Co used the same idea while creating the innovative cabin mood lighting system.

"Blue sky"
Finnair brings the skies into the plane; during boarding the cabin is decorated with cloudy blue sky.... And it's not just for the eyes, but for all senses. The pure air filtration system changes cabin air every two to three minutes!

In an airplane it's impossible to have a candlelight dinner, (no candles allowed), but a sunset is a very nice substitute! In this plane you don't need to have a window seat to enjoy it.

"Economy class bathing in the Northern Lights = Aurora Borealis."
How often do you wish the flight was a bit longer?!
This was just a sneak peek. Imagine when she starts to fly long-haul, and Michelin star chef Kari Aihinen presents his A350-signature menu on board. Flying is no longer just a transportation, it will be an experience to remember. "Designed in Finland".

sunnuntai 25. lokakuuta 2015


This time of the year nature dresses up in yellow.  It's the season of morning mist and falling leaves.

It's also the most perfect time to tuck your lunch in a backpack and go hiking in the woods. Everything tastes better outdoors, but a flask of something warming is a must... For example some pumpkin soup... (And it matches the surrounding colors, as well). The wood sorrel oil and the rye croutons are a Finnish twist of an old favorite. Aromatic wood sorrel can be picked until the first snow... But if you cannot find wild wood sorrel, basil leaves will do.


1 1/2 kg peeled, deseeded and chopped pumpkin (I used sweet Hokkaido pumpkin)
250 g finely chopped onions
1000 ml vegetable (or chicken) stock
100-200 ml double cream (or soy/oat/almond/coconut cream)
sea salt
ground black pepper
ground nutmeg
4 slices wholemeal seeded rye bread
extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
handful of fresh wood sorrel leaves (or basil leaves)

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, saute finely chopped onions for couple of minutes, until soft, but not colored. Add peeled, deseeded and chopped pumpkin to the pan, and cook until it starts to soften. Pour hot vegetable stock into the pan, and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. (Taste first, and be careful with the amount of salt.) Let simmer until the pumpkin is very soft. Pour the cream into the pan, bring to boil and puree with a hand blender. (If not as smooth as you wish for, sieve the soup). Taste, and season more, if needed.

Cut the seeded rye bread slices into small croutons. Smash the garlic cloves with a flat surface of a knife, discard the peel. Heat some oil in a pan, add the garlic and croutons, and fry until they start to turn crisp.

Use the garlic for the herb oil; combining garlic cloves, wood sorrel leaves and extra virgin olive oil, and running the mixture smooth with a hand blender.

Reheat the soup, serve scatted with croutons and drizzled with herb oil.

maanantai 12. lokakuuta 2015


AAAWWWWW!!! This must be the sweetest breakfast story in a long time!
Not the kind of sweet that makes your mouth water, but the kind that brings tears to your eyes. It's all about first love, and a love story drawn on the wraps of chewing gum (a brand that I've never even heard before) and the commercial that was directed by a Finn! Well done PETE RISKI , the whole Finland is so proud of you (with weepy eyes)!

So; anyone interested flavoring your breakfast with some romance, check this out!

tiistai 29. syyskuuta 2015


I was ready, but the SUPER MOON didn't show up in my neighborhood... So I had to settle for the next best red&round-experience that never lets you down; the autumn apples.

BUT, I was ready to go out and see the supermoon eclipse at 5 am, wearing mittens and a wool hat (it's already cold at nights), two cameras ready in my backpack. And I was not alone, I met families with small kids, teenagers, joggers, dog walkers, bikers... some waited in a parked car on the roadside  next to a field, for the historical event... But all we got was a cloudy sky and some rabbits jumping in the darkness. Not even red clouds... just clouds...and lots of them! Next day I finally saw the red moon, in the pictures, from all over the world... Even from Rovaniemi (northern Finland), where they frequently get to enjoy the northern lights, too, NOT FARE!?!

"GOT U! (the night after, sorry folks- no blush-tone)."
And the night after (=today), I slept the curtains open, just to show the moon that I have already forgotten it even exists (what a terrible revenge?!)... And the moon shined bright all night long, just laughing at me! Even in the morning, when I got up and took a look outside, the moon was still there, dancing with the sun. What a character!

So, instead of the bloody-supermoon post, I'm now introducing the Autumn apple pie to you:


200 g almondflour
200 g butter
1 egg
2 egg yolks
200 g sugar
200 g all purpose flour

1 kg ruddy apples
2 dl sugar (or according to your taste and the sweetness of the apples)
2 dl water

Blend the pastry- ingredients together to a smooth mixture. Let rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Peal, core and halve the apples. Bring apples water and sugar to boil and cook on a low heat until apples are soft (mashy).

Roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper until about 4 mm thick. Place the pastry in a tart tin, spread the apple filling in top, and decorate with the rest of the pastry.

Bake for 20-30 minutes in a 200℃ oven, until the pastry edges are golden brown. Serve with vanilla sauce or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


lauantai 29. elokuuta 2015


Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) is our national "style-hero"; architect, designer, sculptor, painter... He represents Finnish functional architecture, minimalistic style and timeless design. He was, and still is, one of the most acknowledged Finns.

The tree-legged stacking stool was designed in 1933 and the unique Aalto Vase in 1936. Both of them  are iconic pieces of Finnish design. A lot was created during those years... The construction of Villa Aalto was also finished in 1936. It was designed to function as a private family home as well as designer's atelier.

Still so fashionable; modern and minimalistic VILLA AALTO was looking quite different from the other houses in the neighborhood, and bypassers were calling the building with nickname "hen house".  Little did they know that these architects were way ahead of their time.

The home was furnished mostly with Alvar Aalto's own designs... Cozy, and intimate building... But the most interesting room for me is, always, the KITCHEN.

The kitchen was a bit of a disappointment... Both Alvar and his wife Aino worked as architects and designers, and probably spent very little time in the kitchen. It was the nanny's modest kingdom...

But imagine, if instead of the sketching tables, the corner-kitchen was placed under the atelier windows! The Alvar Aalto- dream kitchen!!!

***PS. The impressive house CAN BE RENTED for private meetings and dinner parties.***

tiistai 11. elokuuta 2015


You can now mark ISOKYRÖ into your must visit places- map.
That's where five young men make the world's best Gin... with "IN RYE WE TRUST"-spirit.
One night, May 2012, these guys decided, in SAUNA, (that's where the best ideas usually get started), to give it a try to start making rye whiskey. Then they got an idea to distill rye gin.  Not just any gin, but the world's best rye gin. Sounds kind of insane, but this July the "Adventurous Rye Rye Gentlemen" did reach their goal. Kyrö Distillery Company won the International Wine and Spirits competition (IWSC) Gin and Tonic Trophy. Now the whole Finland is nuts about Isokyrö Gin. (Even the ones, who usually drink only white, red, sparkling or rosé!)

The world winning Napue Gin is named after the Finnish village of Napue, and it's battle that dates back to 1714. The Napue Gin uses rye grain and Finnish botanicals, such as birch leaves, meadowsweet, sea-buckhorn and cranberry. The down-to-earth world champions count on honest Finnish ideology and explain their principals in one interview "We don't put gold nuggets into the bottle, because they don't bring anything to the taste. Everything has to have a meaning."

The Rye Rye world champions  advice always to use class full of ice, so that the cubes don't melt too fast making the drink watery. The amount of gin should be standard 4 cl, always measured, and the best tonic is the Fewer Tree Indian Tonic. So; a class full of ice, 4 centiliters of Napue, then the rest of the class full with Fewer Tree, plus one freshly cut rosemary stick and couple of cranberries (preferably from Kuhmo).