Today I thought I would write about my newest restaurant obsession. The title might be a bit misleading as the restaurant is not in France, but in arctic Finland. However, that one magical evening a few weeks back at restaurant Aito felt and tasted very much like a vacation in Loire valley. Game, mushrooms, soft cheese and honeycomb, combined with some Anjou blanc, Cheverny rouge and tasty Pouilly-Fume. And when you are in the company of your best friends, everthing tastes a bit better.
Aito is one of these cozy neighborhood bistros that have been there God knows how long. They serve fresh , seasonal dishes and some awesome wines to pair. Something in between fine dining and a well prepared home meal I would say. The service is easy going and attentive. Aito has seatings for lunch and dinner, and there is a small bar where you can pop in to enjoy a local beer or a well selected glass of wine (my friend is the restaurant manager and she has very good taste).
The five course menu-Loire started with a lovely bird pate accompanies by a light and herbal Cheverny Rouge. Lovely texture and beautiful presentation. The second course was a clear soup of mushrooms and roots, and the third (main) course was elk neck with lingonberries ans mashed potatoes. Oh, that piece of meat was tender. The wines served with these courses were Anjou Blanc Le Haut de la Garde 2015 Château Pierre-Bise and Eolithe 2010, Château Fosse-Sèche, Saumur. The Eolithe tasted like a walk in a wet forest.
For dessert it was a bite of soft cheese from Loire with the Pouilly-Fume, followed by vanilla, honeycomb and blackcurrant. As a digestive we had a small glass of Macvin, which is a wine-liqueur made by adding Marc (Pomace brandy) to halt fermentation. I suspect it was that last glass that contributed significantly to the headache I had the next day, but it was totally worth it.
The cost of the five-course menu was 49€ and the matching wines (5 small-medium sized glasses) 34€. I think 83€ for the whole package was a steal. In addition, the service was super – friendly and very knowledgeable. We had such a fun time and I left the restaurant with a full (bulging) tummy. I can only recommend stopping by Aito if you have a chance (and I am of course not biased at all).