On average, a typical Finnish citizen consumes more than 26 pounds of coffee, making Finland the most caffeinated nation on earth. What do the Finnish do with all that energy? They forage. Finland’s forests are a smorgasbord of superfoods: blueberries, lingonberries, cloudberries, and chanterelles abound alongside wild herbs and root vegetables.
With the advent of autumn and the return of NORTH Food Festival, New Yorkers are fortunate to experience some of the most dynamic Nordic cuisine as prepared by the world’s most celebrated chefs. A recent dinner hosted by Finnair at this year’s festival introduced New York gourmands to the pleasures of Finnish cuisine as experienced by travelers in Finnair’s Business Class.
Created by Executive Chef de Cuisine Kari Aihinen, the Finnair Signature Menu takes inspiration from the Finnish autumn harvest and includes whitefish roe mousse with rye bread, as well as cold smoked salmon with salmon-haddock mousse and sugar-salted cucumbers.
As Executive Chef at Restaurant Savoy in Helsinki, Aihinen has maintained the prestige of one of Finland’s most iconic restaurants while expanding its purview to encompass neo-Nordic gastronomy, which has been termed “the most influential gastronomy movement since the 1960s.”
Opened in 1937 by Finnish designer Alvar Aalto in cooperation with textile artist Dora Jung and the newly-established Artek, the historic Savoy restaurant is notable for the purity of its minimalism and its perfect proportions. Birch veneers and Aalto’s club chairs are complemented by Aalto’s sleek lighting fixtures. Throughout its 75-year history, the iconic dining room has remained timeless, with interior design details such as the Savoy Vase, first created in 1936, which has become known as the Aalto vase.
A dessert course commenced with Savoy’s signature Marshall Mannerheim’s Pastry: a cardamom mousse-filled pastry drizzled with warm caramel sauce and dotted with seasonal berries that is named for the Savoy’s most demanding – and loyal – cosmopolitan customer.
As a European Capital of Culture (2000), Helsinki offers five Michelin-starred restaurants and a gastronomic culture influenced by both East and West. Thanks to Finland’s unique position atop the world, Finnish design is also influenced by both Eastern and Western cultures, which results in a refined Scandinavian simplicity marked by vibrant color.
In keeping with Finnish attention to design detail, all Finnair meals are served on Marimekko for Finnair textiles and tableware. Blankets, as well, are designed by Marimekko for Finnair.
Established in 1923, Finnair is the only Nordic carrier with a four-star Skytrax rating – and for the past six years, Finnair has won the World Airline award for “Best Airline in Northern Europe.” As the first European airline to fly the new Airbus A350 XWB, Finnair offers its passengers a quieter, more comfortable flight on an aircraft that is 20% more fuel efficient, which means less emissions.
Founded in 1550, the city of Helsinki is one of the greenest metropolises in the world with more than 60 miles of shoreline and over 300 islands. One third of Helsinki’s area consists of parks and green areas. No wonder that travelers the world over are saying “Hel Yeah!” to Helsinki.