What a year it is! Finland celebrates 100 years of independence, Silja Line celebrates 60 years of being in business and what a long way they’ve come. (See the video!) New products have been chosen and a celebratory menu has been designed by Tommy Myllymäki and Matti Jämsén, Tallink Silja’s Head of Restaurant Services.
As you can see from the video, food has always since the very beginning, been a vital component of cruising. Putting together a menu of the best tastes of summer is the task ahead of Tommy and Matti and what fun they’re having. Finland explodes with spring vegetables, seafood and fish and some of the best ice cream in the world. At Bon Vivant, the fine dining option on board, Menu Nordic consisting of 5 courses is a tribute to Silja 60. Tomatoes are finally ripening and serving it as a cold soup with feta and basil gives you that first hint of warmer weather. With the Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine de la Garrelière from the Loire Valley, it’s an acidic rush that pricks the palate and opens the taste buds for the surprises to follow.
Veal Tartar comes with a tarragon sauce and crisp, sweet raw peas that Finland is so famous for. Just walk along the Market Square and see the number of empty pods lying on the ground, a habit that is cleaned up at the end of every day in the summer. Dry Rosé de Carsin especially made for Finland 100, gives this dish an extra dimension. Followed by Pike Perch & Ginger comes the Beef & Onion main course with morel mushrooms on a bed of spelt, hearty and filling and complements the Carsin Cuvée, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc to carry it through to its full conclusion. Rhubarb for dessert and to sweeten it there’s meringue and a creamy mascarpone ice cream. Price €109/118 including wine, the former with Silja Card.
Every second year a new range of Ship’s wines and beverages are chosen. The lucky producers can look forward to massive sales on board but criteria are strict and supplies need to be forthcoming. Choosing them is not easy since you have to keep the general palate in mind, the price and not least of all the label. Hence, nothing too challenging and under €10 except for the champagne. Bauchet Brut Champagne at €28,90 is light and user-friendly with toast and almonds on the palate. Riesling is a huge favourite in Finland for the time being and hence needs to be represented. Geil Riesling Trocken from Rheinhessen, Germany, fits the bill. It’s a no-nonsense wine with acidity, pear and herbs. Zonin Velluto Appassimento is the red choice with a blend of dried Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes. It’s velvety and smooth and rather sweet as a result of the drying of the grapes.
Marimekko has entered the fray of the jollifications on board and has come up with special colours highlighting the marine mood that can be seen in the suites and restaurants. Don’t leave the ship without some bars of chocolate from Kultasuklaa. White chocolate with a flavouring of salty liquorice, dark chocolate with salt and milk chocolate, all made with heart by this small producer in Finland.
Happy cruising and cheers to Silja Line on this auspicious occasion.