Matarromera Crianza 2011 – wine from Spain

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Winery: Bodega Matarromera
Region: DO Ribera del Duero
Type of Wine: Red wine
Aging & Type of Oak:
12 Months in French and American Oak
Annual Production(in bottles): 700,000
We’re mingling with royals this week with the younger relative of the Matarromera Reserva the King of Spain likes to order. Even though it’s younger than its illustrious older brother, there’s nothing humble about it.

The colour is rich, dark and blueish

The complex nose promises all kinds of stuff like cherries, wood, vanilla

The palate has acidity, tannins that underline the wood; licorice; blueberries and cocoa

Elegant, full wine with intensity

Pairing: toast lamb with herbs, game dishes, stews

Availability (delivery costs apply): – €20; €19,99; €18



Hotdogs, Hamburger and Lobster – Restaurants in Helsinki, Finland

I’m on a mission, a fun one, to find the new and newish in the restaurant world out there. I hop on my bike, whizz down the road, make for the glorious Helsinki shoreline, pedal till I get tired and there it begins.

 Birgitta (1)

Birgitta – neatly placed at the end of Eira and the beginning of Hernesaari, this café is much more than just that. Let’s start with the coffee which comes from local artisans that call themselves Kaffa Roastery, then the open sandwiches of Baltic Herring on rye and other innovations, the ‘pulla’ (sweet buns) brimming with butter and sugar and best of all, hamburgers, meat and veggie, barbecued on their charcoal grill set to rival any others out there. The salads are ridiculously fresh created with local, as local can be. And then there’s the Baltic Sea view…. (

Hummeri ja Hodari (Lobster and hotdog) – You can only giggle at this one but this is no laughing matter, I assure you. The hotdogs are hand-selected from local sausage maker Chef Wotkins while the buns travel less than a klick from Kanniston Leipomo to land in the hands of the crazy chefs who love to fool around with lobster sauce combined with fresh dogs, or serve the whole crustacean on a bed of Caesar salad. Sides include black trumpet mushroom or Parmesan fries and coleslaw with not a hint of mayo in sight. Need I add that champagne is available at €9,50 a glass as are other stylish wines and beers. (


Let’s tell a Story about a few top chefs of Michelin star fame that believe they have finally earned the right to take their place in the historic Market Hall recently reopened after extensive renovations. Anders, Matti, Teemu and Markus have paid their dues in some illustrious eateries and are serving up some creamy Eggs Benedict for breakfast, pulled pork sandwiches for lunch and dinner invented every Friday and Saturday by whatever captures the chefs’ imaginations in the hall that day. Of course there’s plenty more on the menu and the prices are well in sync with most wallets. (

It only takes a couple of Australians to take one look at Helsinki and say, “Yeah, mate, these guys like to drink and they like having fun.” The Woolshed is born. Friendlier you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere, good value for money too at this dining and drinks joint right next to the station. Lobster, flown in from Maine, features strongly and comes at as little as €20 while their plenty-to-eat burgers weigh in at a mere €14,50. Woolshed and Camden beers on tap as well as their wines cutting out the middleman and served to you at a competitive price. Live music. laughter and banter come free! (

But if you want some bite in your bite, sink your teeth into an Adobo De Res taco with Mexican chilli beef and onion or a slow-roasted pulled pork quesadilla at Eatos. To make your day even more complete, you’ll be just as pleased as I was when I saw the bill. (


Tapas plate at Bronda

You can’t miss it – it’s right there on the Esplanade near the Swedish Theatre and it’s Bronda owned by celebrity chefs Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg whose favourite European food countries are Spain, Italy and France and who incorporate their culinary travels with their finely-honed skills to present you with an Anchovy Toast and Manchega cheese snack, tiger prawns gently rolled in garlic and brown butter with fresh herbs and roasted almonds for crunch. Handcrafted snacks at the bar, a la carte or a tasting menu for dinner, it all happens in an elegant stylish atmosphere of white linen and selective lighting. (

Passion is an overused word these days, but there’s nothing passé about the guys cooking food at Passio. Let’s get you started on smoky, creamy whitefish served with a potato pancake, then wild boar smothered in porter beer sauce next to Jerusalem artichokes, then apple pie and caramel… You know the feeling, you’ve died and gone to heaven. (


Lunch at Kolmonen

Tucked away in cosy Kallio is Kolmonen, a tiny little place where good home food is made with heart and is served at no more than €10 at lunchtime with fresh bread and crispy salad, a little more at dinner. The menu changes constantly but there are some evergreens that make the list every day such as their own take on a Charolais Burger and Fish of the Day. Seek them out – you won’t be sorry! (Kolmas Linja 11,