I’ve talked about Kaapelitehdas (Cable Factory) before because it’s such an underrated cultural attraction in Helsinki. In my post about cultural centres built from repurposed industrial buildings, I shared some photos from TEOS 18. This was an art show highlighting the work of local sculptors and graphic artists. Art shows are a mainstay at Kaapelitehdas, and there are several permanent studios and galleries there. Among others, Artists’ Association MUU has a gallery at Kaapelitehdas.
In addition to art shows (and circus, dance, theatre, and museums), festivals are commonly held at Kaapelitehdas. This year, April was full of them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch the Helsinki Beer Festival. But I set my sights on the Helsinki Coffee Festival and the Jäätelö- ja suklaakarnevaali (Ice cream and chocolate carnival). I don’t often do posts centred around time-specific events, but I had to make an exception here. Plus, the festivals are annual!
Anyone who reads my blog or is otherwise familiar with Finnish culture knows that Finns love our coffee. Therefore it should come as no surprise that Helsinki hosts the largest coffee festival in the Nordics. The Helsinki Coffee Festival provided a venue for numerous local coffee breweries and manufacturers to introduce the people of Helsinki to their products.
I trekked around the venue from one booth to the next, sampling filter coffees and espressos. A couple of booths even provided full cups! I drank an oat milk-based latte at Oatly’s booth. I hadn’t ever had a coffee drink with oat milk before, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the taste! Oat milk doesn’t taste like dairy milk, and Oatly doesn’t claim that it does. But the beverage goes very well with coffee and lends a mildly sweet hint to lattes and other mixed coffee drinks.
The other full cup was a cappuccino from Rock Paper Scissors Coffee Roastery. As he made my drink, the representative from Rock Paper Scissors told me that the company had only existed since August 2017. This surprised me, because they’ve got this thing down! Their cappuccino was one of the best ones I’d ever tasted. Smooth, not bitter, with a great amount of foam. Then, as if they weren’t cool enough already, the representative told me that Rock Paper Scissors also produces beer. You’re sure to get love from Finns when your talents include brewing both beer and coffee!
There were also some other products at the Helsinki Coffee Festival, including some delicious teas from théhuone! I talked about my visit to their Eerikinkatu cafe in an earlier post. I also sampled an oat milk-based chocolate drink from Valio called Oddlygood Dark Cocoa Oat Drink, and coffee in a solid form from Coffee Pixels. Suffice to say, I was wide awake for the rest of the day!
This event sold out, so you have some idea right away about how popular it was! This is the first time Jäätelö- ja suklaakarnevaali has been held. Despite being new, it is already the largest event of its kind in Europe.
This festival both reaffirmed my love for my old favourite brands and introduced me to some new ones. I’ve been a huge fan of 3 Kaverin Jäätelö and Jymy for some time now. I sampled some of their new products at this festival and loved them. Both of these companies are small Finnish ice cream makers who use fresh local products. They both also have tasty vegan options!
Speaking of vegan options, there were some other good ones here as well. I sampled soy- and hazelnut milk ice creams from Alpro and oat milk ice cream from Oatly. Sorbet is a traditional vegan option, and I found a fantastic one of those here too. Dione is a Lithuanian company which I hadn’t heard of before, but immediately took a liking to. I tasted their mango and cranberry sorbet, which was so good that I had to go back to the booth to taste their other offerings!
I’m impressed by Valio’s new ice creams too. Valio is such a huge brand in Finland that it’s inevitably mass-produced, thus usually just average on the flavour front. But their new range called Jäätelöfabriikki is a very pleasant surprise. With flavours like strawberry-basil, carrot cake and blueberry-rye, Valio has made their ice cream taste like a small local creamery’s.
There was chocolate at the festival too, of course! By the time I got to the corridor of the venue where the chocolate booths were, I was pretty full. Consequently, I didn’t eat that much chocolate. But one booth which I’m super glad to have visited is Goodio ChocOat. They’re the first company in the world to make milk chocolate with oat milk (which is really having a moment right now in Finland, for good reason!). Their chocolate tasted just like dairy milk chocolate, or even better!
I’ve always been a fan of Kaapelitehdas, but these festivals take my love to a new level. It’s hard to go wrong with coffee, ice cream and chocolate in any venue. But having festivals devoted to these treats in a place like Kaapelitehdas, with its cool cultural vibe, is even better. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for Kaapelitehdas’ future festivals!