Wineweek 135: The Heat Wave

This weekend has been very unusual. The weather has been hot. I mean really hot, close to +30. Such temperatures are not common in Stockholm. Definitely not in May at least. We dream of days like this all year, where the sun is shining from a blue sky and the wind is warm and gentle; and perhaps there is one such in July. From a wine enthusiasts perspective I can say that I am in waiting all year as I have quite many wines that I have bought with the excuse of them being perfect for summer and slacking on the balcony. Think of all those crispy white Bourgognes and Grüner Weltliners..not to mention Champagnes. That statement is however just to fool myself. If I start really thinking about the logic I can say that I have balcony wines for the next ten years. Continue reading “Wineweek 135: The Heat Wave”

Wineweek 86: Sunny Memories from Helsinki

The pictures featured in this wineweek are from our Midsummer trip to Finland. While last week I could not contain myself from writing about some Helsinki newbies, the great photos I took over the weekend were left untouched. We did some fabulous stuff: ate at Chef and Sommelier, had drinks in the sun at Bar Chaperon Rouge and walked around town taking some pictures and enjoying the quiet streets.  Continue reading “Wineweek 86: Sunny Memories from Helsinki”

Wineweek 34: Hello Helsinki!

It is mid July, the temperature is +15 C and it’s raining cats and dogs. I just came back from a Sunday walk, soaking wet. Despite the weather, it is great to be home. Helsinki quiets down in the summer, all Finns either travel somewhere warmer, migrate to their summer cottages or spend time at Finland’s many summer festivals. Last weekend was the legendary Ruis Rock in Turku and I think Pori Jazz just kicked off. I always feel too old for these festivals (too many drunken teenagers), but then again I miss the festive atmosphere. One thing is for sure though, I would not be able to find any good wine.

One could say that the town is sleepy, but to me that is just good news. We have been walking the empty streets, talking about what it would be like to live here after London and Stockholm, and playing around with the idea of moving our businesses here. One thing is for sure, it would mean more paperwork! I don’t know if I could take it, haha! The holiday season also means that nice restaurants (the ones that are open) have space and my favorite wine-bars are not packed full on people. This weekend, we visited four great places, Vinvin and it’s new sibling Bier Bier, Latva Bar and the fabulous Restaurant Ask, that is one of the most recent addition to Helsinki’s collection of Michelin-stars.

As it is summer, and I am actually quite busy with my “secret” project, I will be saving the comments to the actual reviews, however here is a gallery of photos taken with my trusted Samsung Galaxy S6 (the camera is so much better than on the iPhone 6) from this weeks activities:

Veuve Forny & Fils Blanc de Blancs aperitif at Restaurant Ask
Veuve Forny & Fils Blanc de Blancs aperitif at Restaurant Ask
The food was beautiful and yummy at Ask
The food was beautiful and yummy at Ask
Taps Tasting at Bier Bier (12,50€ for 5 x 1dl tasters)
Taps Tasting at Bier Bier (12,50€ for 5 x 1dl tasters)
The Cava at Latva Bar was excellent value for money
The Cava at Latva Bar was excellent value for money
Some red wine to accompany the Cava at Latva Bar
Some red wine to accompany the Cava at Latva Bar
Hanging around in piggy-slippers.. stylish!
Hanging around in piggy-slippers.. stylish!

Thanks for reading! Hoping a great coming week to you all!

Wineweek 33: It’s Getting Hot in Here

As per tradition, I will start with the weather report. It might seem like an irrelevant part of my weekly posts. But on the contrary, I think it is an important note for setting the right mood. The kind of wine I drink is heavily influenced by the weather. So it is no coincidence I have been drinking a lot of light reds, white and rose this week as it has been HOT. Sweden has been showing it’s best with 25-30 C and sun, and I have been doing my best to enjoy the hot weather with some cooling drinks.

Wednesday we went to check out the second location of our favorite wine bar in town, Gaston at Nordiska Kompaniet. NK is one of the finest department stores in town and the top floor has recently been taken over by the king of Swedish fine dining, Björn Franzen. Gaston wine-bar is also a part of Frantzen’s culinary empire and one of the most notable wine-hangouts in town. While the location in the old town of Stockholm remains my favorite (it also has a more extensive list of wine), the NK location is also a place worth to visit. The style of displaying the wines in fridges along the wall with pricing written with a white marker reminds me of Paris and it’s many wonderful wine bars. So on a rainy day, head up to this comfortable oasis for wine in between shopping. The two go well together (I have experience)!

Relaxing at Gaston Wine Bar at Nordiska Kompaniet
Relaxing at Gaston Wine Bar at Nordiska Kompaniet
The beautiful bar at Loka Izakaya
The beautiful bar at Lokal Izakaya
Strawberry, champagne and black pepper. Omnom!
Strawberry, champagne and black pepper. Omnom!

On Friday we went out for some drinks and Asian food at a new restaurant in town, Lokal Izakaya. The Japanese inspired Izakayas are the new food trend in town. Sushi and Asian inspired dishes combined with some yummy cocktails and a list of Sake makes up for a concept I very much enjoy. Sadly every single Izakaya in Stockholm has the same problem, they are not Izakayas. Don’t get me wrong, I like the restaurants as such. I just don’t like that the concept has been so grossly miss-interpreted. An Izakaya is a simple Japanese eatery, like a tavern or pub, a kind of after work place that serves some food to accompany the drinks. The so called Izakayas in Stockholm remind me more of Asian fine dining than a local.  Lokal Izakaya, like the first on the izakaya scene in Stockholm, Shibumi, is a fun restaurant. The cocktails, sashimi, and hot dishes all very satisfying. I was just expecting something more simple.

As many cities in Europe, Stockholm will partly close for summer vacations. July is prime time for Swedes to head to their cottages and travel around in Europe, so many small restaurants and bars close their doors. We went to enjoy the last opening day of Hornstulls Bodega, a wine bar and restaurant close by to where we live. After Gaston, I would say this is THE place to come for wine. We enjoyed some Spätburgunder rose, reds from Loire and an amazing peppery Rioja.

Last wine of the summer at Hornstulls Bodega
Last wine of the summer at Hornstulls Bodega
Celebrating 4th of July at Nya Carnegiebryggeriet
Celebrating 4th of July at Nya Carnegiebryggeriet

I will miss the Bodega, but the summer will go by fast. Next week we are heading for Helsinki, my home city; to rest, meet friends and relatives, and to drink some more wine of course. The blog will not be taking a holiday, but summer vacation will mean that there will be a slightly slower pace (maybe). And perhaps I have the chance to finally really consider what to do with the look and layout. All ideas and inspiration are more than welcome! Hope a warm and sunny week to you all!