Café Ehrensvärd in the Sederholm House during Helsinki Week
The historical cafés hosted at the Sederholm House during the Helsinki Week have been wildly popular in previous summers. Consequently, Helsinki City Museum and Palmia Meeting and Banquet Services offer also this year a café event. This time, it is themed around Count Augustin Ehrensvärd (1710–1772), the founder of the Suomenlinna maritime fortress, who is celebrating his 300th anniversary.
A variety of pastries from his youth are served in Café Ehrensvärd, based on 300-year-old recipes. They reveal forgotten taste combinations that are surprisingly fresh and original. Historically inspired pastries, the atmosphere of the oldest house in Helsinki and appropriate music take you from the coffee table to the past centuries.
Café Ehrensvärd offers a variety of typical pastries of the early 18th century, based on old Swedish cookery books. They tell which spices were in fashion then and open an exotic culinary world, interestingly different from our modern taste. You might not expect to find mace, cinnamon and currant in a meat pasty. Chervil, the herb with a subtle liquorice tinge, lends a unique taste to a hit pastry from the 18th century. Our ancient lemon pie has a very strong flavour, but in our gooseberry pie the tart taste of the berries is softened with almond. Ehrensvärd's favourite tree was the common hazel, which is why his celebratory tart packs the crunchy punch of hazelnuts flavoured with rosewater.
The recipes have been chosen and interpreted by Jere Jäppinen, a curator of the Helsinki City Museum. Chef Antti Mikkelä from Palmia has adapted them to a modern kitchen.
During the Helsinki Week June 7–13 2010 Café Ehrensvärd and the Sederholm House, Aleksanterinkatu 18, are open daily 11am–6pm. Young musicians from the Degree Programme in Music at the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences will perform daily chamber music that was popular in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Before or after you enjoy the delicacies of Café Ehrensvärd, take a look at the exhibition Night in the Sederholm House. It tells the story of the City of Helsinki in the dark moments of the night. The entry is free.
When coffee came to Finland
Coffee drinking, originally adopted from the Turks, became common among the higher-class folk of Western and Central Europe in the late 17th century. It was then that Europe saw the establishment of the first coffee houses, where men would converge to discuss politics. The fashionable new beverage soon made its way to Sweden, too, and it was not long before the gentlefolk in Stockholm, and to some extent in Turku and Helsinki as well, were smitten with the exotic drink. Coffee drinking spread gradually, but it was not until 1773 that the first coffee house in Helsinki, and presumably the entire Finland, was opened.
The new expensive and rare drink was originally enjoyed once a week as is, without any accompanying edibles. However, the contemporary cuisine included many sweet and savoury pastries, which were served at feasts alongside other dishes. Cookbooks published in the Swedish Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries included a wide variety of recipes for pasties, pies, biscuits, doughnuts and waffles. The preparation of fancy pastries naturally required special tools: doughnut and tart pans, biscuit moulds and waffle irons, which could also be found in the kitchens of wealthy Helsinkians as early as the turn of the 18th century.
Payments in cash only.
Helsinki City Museum: curator Jere Jäppinen, tel. (09) 3103 6505 or jere.jappinen(at)hel.fi