We went along to a showcase of Finnish brands organised by the brilliant team from the British-Finnish Chamber of Commerce and it was certainly an eye-opener to discover so many progressive Finnish food and drink brands on the market.
The Harcourt is a former elegant pub turned into a Scandinavian restaurant and bar complete with a Finnish master chef in the kitchen and a Swedish expert mixologist. They have numerous private event spaces with the most spacious and delightful being their garden room, which fits from 30-60 guests. What was particularly enjoyable was admiring the wide array of post-modern artwork on display along with the calming vegetation dotted throughout the space.
We tried some simple to make yet utterly divine Scandinavian canapés: Toast ‘Skagen’, gravadlax on rye and fermented mackerel. The seafood was as fresh as you would expect from a cuisine where the countries are surrounded by pristine coastline. Fermented mackerel was one of the favourites from the selection with the acidic notes making the canapés even more appetising and creating an irresistible urge to make an immediate booking for a full seated dinner service.
In terms of beverages, we tried the award-winning, Kyrö Napue Gin. The company was only started a few years ago by Finnish entrepreneurs wanting to create a whisky brand. However, realising it does take time to create beautiful aged whisky, they decided to start making rye-based gin using Finnish botanicals. Only last year, their gin was voted the gin of choice for the world’s best G&T recipe. The Harcourt has incorporated Kyrö into one of their bespoke cocktails to celebrate the Finnish way of life.
The other products we tried at the showcase included a very refreshing Mallaskosken Black Imperial Rye, which was at an eye-popping strong, 11.4% ABV. This is available online only at the moment via finndeli, but it is a brand we expect to see a lot more of in our local bars and pubs. There is also an extensive list of other cool Finnish food brands on the finndeli website.
We also tried some gourmet Finnish chocolates from Goodio. Their focus has been on sustainability, well-being and transparency; they use organic, raw and primarily wild ingredients. The flavours are as trendy as they come with the likes of chai and licorice & sea buckthorn.
The stock is on the rise for Finnish brands and this is a trend that we should all keep an eye on.