Raise your glasses – Taste of Helsinki, Finland’s largest food festival has started and it deserves a toast. From June 15-18, the Citizens’ Square transforms into a vibrant outdoor food village, the ultimate setting for a summer feast.

Yesterday evening marked the first of four food-filled days. The festival, founded by Mira and Barry MacNamara, celebrates the finest cuisine and drinks that Helsinki has to offer, with some of Helsinki’s most innovative and elite restaurants, breweries, distilleries and provedores showcasing their mouthwatering menus and products. “Taste of Helsinki is an event, which allows people to really explore the city’s gourmet food culture while also serving a higher purpose to promote Helsinki’s growing fine dining and restaurant scene,” said the event co-founder Barry MacNamara.

Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

This year’s program is jam-packed with a fresh line-up of rich culinary cuisine. “You can expect an amazing feast—10 restaurants, 40 different dishes and amazing beverages to match those dishes,” explained MacNamara. On tasting the curated menus it is evident that the restaurants have opted to delve into Finnish roots and showcase the exceptional native produce in new and creative ways. Taste of Helsinki gives visitors a sneak peek into the current trends in Finnish gastronomy and what’s cooking in Helsinki’s hottest kitchens.

Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

“It’s an exciting event, it’s good to do something different,” said Toni Kostian, the co-owner and chef at Grön, a restaurant focused on high-quality plant-based and inspiring food. “Our team has been preparing since last Sunday—eight chefs and two foragers picking the wild herbs we use . . . what we do here today needs to look and taste as it would at Grön. Even though we will prepare 2,000 portions instead of 20, it needs to be perfect,” Kostian said.

Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Visitor’s can expect to pick up some perfectly sumptuous dishes prepared by top chefs from Bistro Omat, Grön, Ludu, Passio, Pastor, Savoy, Shelter, Toca, Tuohi and one of Estonia’s finest, Noa. Think grilled octopus, potato terrine, cold-smoked salmon roe (Pastor); Ravioli filled with cheese, basil sauce and tomato powder (Toca) and white chocolate cremeux, malt crumble, birch sap foam and sorrel ice cream (Ludo)—just to name a few.

Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Of course, every delicious meal deserves to be paired with an equally delicious drink. Enjoy a cellar door experience at the Taste Wine Pavilion, where visitors can pick up handy tips on the basics of wine tasting and find the perfect wine to match their meal. Consider yourself to have a champagne taste? Try some bubbles at the André Clouet Champagne Bar. As for those who enjoy a good tipple, the new Taste Spirits Pavilion is the place to go, which includes carefully crafted spirits from some of Finland’s leading distilleries.

Opening times

Fri June 16: 11-15, 17-23

Sat June 17: 11-15, 17-23

Sun June 18: 11-16