When I was a kid I scrawled my contact information on every competition coupon in every magazine and entered every supermarket giveaway draw I ever stumbled upon. But growing older, I started to loose my enthusiasm.

Getting bored might have something to do with the fact, that the odds were never in my favor. Only once I won: A duffle bag from the plaster-maker Salvequick. Nice. Used the bag to carry my horse riding gear ca. '87-'89.

Nowadays you can get me moving towards a competition enrollment only if the carrot is truly compelling. And the odds of winning are better than one in a zillion.

The Chilean wine maker Cono Sur is organizing a blogger competition, and I must say, their carrots are tastier than many others. Top winner of each country (Finland, Sweden, Ireland) will be sent to finals in Paris for a weekend and the winner will spend a week in Chile and make closer acquaintance with the Cono Sur house.

The task was to create a main course for one of their Bicicleta wines: Riesling or Pinot Noir. I went for the Pinot Noir and pimped it with liver, or to be more precise, lamb liver.

So here we go, recipe below.

Oh, there's a carrot for you too. Go vote, me of course, and win a 100 € traveling gift card.

So, simply click HERE and make the world a better place. (And don't forget to validate your vote through the email link sent to you.)

(for 4)

fresh sage leaves (4 per portion)
fresh rosemary leaves (8 per portion)
4 garlic cloves, sliced thiny
4 shallot onions, sliced thinly
2 tbsp oil

1/2 dl white wine vinegar
1/2 dl orange juice
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
10g sage (a handful), minced

400g green beans

500g lamb liver, sliced
white pepper
  1. Start with frying the herbs and onions: Heat the oil on pan and fry the herb leaves for a moment until they get crispy. Set leaves aside (on a kitchen paper).
  2. Add the thinly sliced garlics on the pan. After a few minutes add shallots and keep on frying until they get crunchy and golden brown. Sprinkle some salt on them and set aside.
  3. Measure the vinegar, orange juice and sugar into a saucepan. Boil down for couple of minutes. Let cool a bit and then mix in olive oil and fresh sage.
  4. Cook the green beans in well salted water for about 3-4 minutes. Drain first and then toss in the sage vinaigrette.
  5. Melt some butter on pan, sprinkle salt on the liver slices and fry them ca. 2 min per side. Or even less if very thin. Try to make sure the liver remains rosé inside. Ground some white pepper on them.
  6. Divide the green beans on plates, set the livers on them and sprinkle crispy onions and garlics on top. Garnish with fried herbs.



Photo: Helsingin kaupungin aineistopankki / Volker von Bonin

When travelling, one of my favourite things to do is to find the local markets, especially old market halls, and just stroll around and dream we’d have as cool places in Helsinki.

But actually we do, we've just simply gone terribly wrong with our grocery shopping culture. The massive hypermarkets, size of six football fields, and the two chains dominating the whole food retail sector have done great job alienating people from using small neighbourhood businesses and local suppliers.

There are three market halls in Helsinki, that all date back 100 years or more. Outside two of them you also find a market full of local produce and old school market cafés and in front of the third one, there’s the largest open-air flea market in the city. And what’s great about the halls is that they all have their own characters.


Due to it’s location, Old Market Hall is the flagship hall and the newly finished complete renovation only establishes that role. The oldest & definitely classiest one. Probably listed as a must-see on every Helsinki travel guide, but also a local grocery store for wealthier southern Helsinkians. And a great place for a lunch.

But if inside the Market Hall the touristic vibe and the real deal grocery shopping go successfully hand in hand, the Market Square outside is a classic tourist trap. You still find the season’s berries and potatoes, even some fresh fish sellers, but for the most part the Market Square is filled with souvenir sellers, weird fur hats and also food that doesn’t quite present the Finnish cuisine. And remember to watch out for the damn seagulls. The war has been going on for years now and still the birds seem to lead 6-0. So keep your eyes on the sky and hold tight to your ice cream.

My three favourites + one extra:
- Story, the new main restaurant of the hall. A beauty.
- Alko, worlds smallest and most sympathetic Alko. (Get the whole package for an extempore picnic!)
- Annan villiliha, Anna’s wild meat, specialized in game, poultry and organic meat.
- S-Maria, fresh Vietnamese rolls. You just don’t find enough of Vietnamese food in Helsinki.

Opening hours:
Old Market Hall: Mon-Sat 8.00-18.00
Market Square: Mon-Fri 6.30-18.00, Sat 6.30-16.00


Many tourists end up checking out the Old Market Hall, but I’d strongly recommend to take a half-day trip to Hakaniemi Market Hall. Easily reachable with public transportation, if not in the mood for a walk.

Of the three halls Hakaniemi Market Hall is the liveliest and the most authentic one, but also offers the widest selection. Downstairs you find tens of different food stalls and the upper floor is full of a bit weird and not so weird little stores selling design stuff, gift items, clothing, wooden toys, etc. I only hope the renovation they’re facing in 2016, won’t damage the perfect kind of rugged ambience.

Although the working-class neighbourhood status of the surrounding Kallio district has slowly turned into a hip place to live status, you still can see the distinctive combination of the clientele.

You can even spot the former Finnish president having a cup of coffee on the market, probably wearing an ill-fitting cap. If only you recognise her, since she so well blends in with the locals, being a local herself too.

My three favourites + one extra:
Reinin liha, when it comes to meat, they’ve got it all.
Lentävä Lehmä, flying cow, the cheese shop hard to beat.
Soppakeittiö, heartwarming soups (nowadays also in the two other halls but this is the original one).
Jukka Lavinto, and his small vegetable booth.

Opening hours:
Hakaniemi Market Hall: Mon-Fri 8.00-18.00, Sat 8.00-16.00
Hakaniemi Market Square: Mon-Sat 6.30-15.00


Hietalahti Market Hall is kind of the underdog within the three halls. Still looking for it's own personality. The past years haven’t been so beneficial: First the unsuccessful attempt being a completely organic market hall, followed by nearly 10 year period, when no food was sold in Hietalahti Market Hall, but antiques instead.

Then the city decided to redeem the hall’s grace as a functioning food hall and started the renovations. Grand opening was great and stalls and booths were full, since most of the sellers from the Old Market Hall moved to Hietalahti when their big renovations started 1,5 years ago.

Now however, since the Old Market Hall opened shiny new in the beginning of June, it has unfortunately left some empty stalls in Hietalahti. I’m definitely holding thumbs up high, that the hall’s great entrepreneurs soon find more colleagues next to their stalls, since this third hall, again on totally different direction, is a perfect reinforcement and a needed add-on to the city’s food selection.

Hietalahti even has it’s own competitive edge of having the city’s biggest regular outdoor flea market right outside.

My three favourites + one extra:
- Love to Meat Hki, French specialities like porc noir de Bigorre.
- Räkan, the best räksmörgåsar in town.
- Say Cheese, cheese português.
- Roslund, and their Rosburger.

Opening hours:
Hietalahti Market Hall: Mon-Fri 8.00-18.00, Sat 8.00-17.00, Sun 10.00-16.00
Hietalahti Flea Market: Mon-Fri 8.00-18.00, Sat 8.00-16.00, Sun 10.00-16.00
(Summer opening hours until 30.9.)

I hereby challenge all my fellow metropolitan area citizens to go to a market hall, at least once a month, and buy something. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive piece of black angus filet. Get the most perfect beetroot instead, or at least a cup of coffee.

And all my fellow stroll-around-market-hall-tourists, keep on strolling. Just go get the cup of coffee too.



I've never been much of a festival person. I do not sleep in tents, I need a proper morning shower before starting a day and I want real food.

That's why the only yearly festival I go to is Flow Festival where no one sleeps in tents, the location is close enough to enjoy the morning shower at home and the food is real.

Suvilahti power plant area offers magnificent surroundings for a cosy but cool festival. The artists represent indie, soul, hiphop, jazz and club music, both local and international. Beside the music there's also arts, design, movies and discussions going on through out the weekend. And food.

Since the very beginning of the festival's 10-year history, the nutritional aspect has been as carefully planned as the musical and cultural one.

The lineup includes not only hot newcomers (Jungle) but also old school legends (Outkast). Same thing with the food: OGs of the local restaurant scene include vendors like ToriYsi and Kabuki. Or you can get your din din from this year's hit places like Tres BonesSandro or Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri.

This year the food theme is vegetarian. With the 3-day festival pass I'll be wearing from Fri afternoon until the first hours of the following Monday, I'm sure I'll get to taste quite many of the dishes.

Pictures 1 & 6 Flow Festival / Samuli Pentti, picture 4 Flow Festival / Helen Korpak, other pictures Flow Festival / Jussi Hellsten