Historical Café Empire is opening tomorrow
It was then, in the early 19th century, that modern café culture began to flourish in Helsinki when a number of enterprising Swiss master bakers established confectioneries in the city. Café Empire provides a wonderful setting to partake in 19th century pastries and cakes accompanied by the music of the era.
Helsinki became the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1812, and soon the young capital’s café culture was also transformed. At the time, Swiss master bakers were spreading throughout Europe, and a number of them settled in Helsinki. The first was Christian Menn in 1817.
The Swiss established the first confectionery-cafés, which served fine pastries with coffee, tea, cocoa, wine, and liqueur. Having coffee and pastries became highly fashionable among the emerging bourgeoisie and the university crowd that moved to Helsinki in 1828. Cafés were particularly popular among gentlewomen, who now had a respectable way to eat outside the home.
Café Empire’s selection is a meeting of old traditions and the relative newcomers of the early 19th century. Pies and pasties made with puff pastry and filled with plentiful, strongly flavoured filling were popular in the 18th century, but in the 19th century they became more simplistic and refined. Gherkin gives the meat pies their slight tartness. The rich sour cabbage kulebyaka is a taste of St Petersburg.
In Café Empire, young musicians from the Degree Programme in Music at the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and the Sibelius Academy will perform daily at 12 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Where: Sederholm House, Aleksanterinkatu 18, Helsinki.
When: 9–17 June 2012, from 11 am to 6 pm.
Text: Café Empire media release