Coffee and tea house Café Helmi (Pearl in English), is located in the cobblestone streets of Porvoo (Välikatu 7, 06100 Porvoo) . They also have a shop in Helsinki, but only the one in Porvoo serves afternoon tea. You can pop in for a cup of coffee or tea downstairs, but if you have booked afternoon tea in advance you are escorted upstairs to their tea lounge. And what a lounge it is… It can certainly hold one’s own against other international tea rooms in cuteness and charm!
I was a bit apprehensive of enjoying afternoon tea so shortly after the Cadier Bar’s disappointment, but just looking at the pictures of Café Helmi makes me so giddy. I am so happy that Porvoo has such a high quality and inventive afternoon tea to offer and I warmly recommend it. Café Helmi is a family run firm and they have started serving afternoon tea only since September (if I overheard correctly). I highly recommend booking afternoon tea and resting your weary legs amid doing Christmas shopping. I hope they have enough customers to continue serving afternoon tea.
The tea choices are few, but good. I chose Tea of Stockholm’s black Söderblanding which was excellent. Next time I am in Stockholm, I really must visit their shop.
The afternoon tea costs 22€ and is money well spent. The Cadier Bar’s afternoon tea cost twice as much and was not nearly as good. Café Helmi’s afternoon tea was well-thought and put together and it had a good balance of something old and something new (and Finnish!).
The first tier includes an onion quiche, smoked reindeer roll with lingonberry, a mini BLT, cucumber cream cheese sandwich, gravlax on Finnish rye and malt bread, radish on wood sorrel bread and bird liver mousse with brioche. They were all very tasty, even the bird liver mousse that I only nibbled since I don’t like eating animal’s internal organs (which is a bit hypocritical as I eat animals so there shouldn’t be any qualms about eating their organs, but that much of an oxymoron I am). My favourites were the onion quiche, the reindeer roll and the radish on wood sorrel bread. During the war, since there was a shortage on food and so many forests, Finns used to make bread from wood sorrel.
The fluffy scone was served with whipped cream and homemade apple jam and gooseberry jam.
The last tier had an open liquorice macaron with raspberry, polenta cake with orange and hazelnut, white chocolate and almond financier cake with mascarpone cream and granite apple, passion fruit and yogurt cream filled merengue tarlet, dark chocolate and beer cake with salted caramel and a tuile, and lemony buttermilk pancetta with honeyed blueberries. So delicious! My favourites were the lemony tarlet, the dark chocolate cake and the lemony pannacotta.
The rest of the time was spent admiring the cute Christmas decorations that the shop keepers had put up. Unfortunately, all the snow had melted away so the pictures look a bit depressing, but we are supposed to have more snow in a couple of weeks.