Next stop was Helsinki.
(The parliament: incredible to think that it was made from icing sugar almost 100 years ago).
The flagship branch of High and Mighty.
I was there to research a book which had nothing to do with food but, well, a man's gotta eat.
Best dish of the trip, beetroot carpaccio (sic – you can't have carpaccio of a veg, you Finnish fools!) with bleu cheese cream, fish eggs and a lovely flower which, after prolonged chewing, turned out not to be edible. Doh! Damn those pesky non-edible garnishes (while we're at it, let's be done with the branches of rosemary and vanilla pods too. If you can't eat it, don't put it on the flamin' plate!)
And the markets were full of amazing wild berries – cloud, blue, rasp- and kantarell mushrooms. Best quality I have ever seen, and the cheapest too.
Best of all was the market hall down by the quayside.
Oh deer. And it gets worse…
I've been to every Nordic capital going, but this was the best produce I'd seen in any of them. No kidding.
Finally, in the spirit of those old CNN 'Images of…' (which were invariably Hong Kong). Images of Helsinki:
Oh come on, admit it, we've all had 'em. This was in the National Gallery would you believe. What are Finnish standards coming to?
The many moods of Steven Seagal.
The many moods of Peter Beardsley.
This is considered the most important painting in Finnish history. Do not laugh. They have guns.