Violetta Teetor

Correspondent

  • Helsinki, Finland, Europe

Violetta Teetor is a South African expat and correspondent who lives in Helsinki, Finland and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Like most foreigners, she sees and notices things from a different perspective. Her freelancing pursuits have given her the opportunity to work closely with Strömma/Helsinki Expert on their tourist publication Helsinki This Week. Knowing what’s going on in the city is part of her job description and she keeps social media pages buzzing with where to eat, what to do and what to see. She has also written for Helsinki Times, Six Degrees and various international media.

  • On December 13, 2014
    Benny Smeds is now following Violetta Teetor
  • On July 2, 2014
  • On July 29, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What is the Design Museum like in Helsinki?

    Deeply entrenched in Finnish culture is design, some of it practical, some of it not so practical but always distinguishable for its simplicity and shape.

    The permanent exhibition at the Design Museum has an impressive collection of items designed by noteworthy names from the 19thC to the present day. Fiskars scissors are not only attractive but also some of the best on the market, Eero Aarnio’s bubble chair is fun to look at, tactile in its shape and comfy to sit in, Richard Lindh’s Solifer scooter/motorbike from 1960 personifies retro with its rounded blue shape. Not only is this exhibition about beautiful things to look at but it also gives an indication of how life in Finland has changed over the past 200 years.

    Celebrating its 140 years of existence, a special exhibit called Parallel Histories is currently running with some top level international designs from Finland arranged thematically according to perspectives of otherness, sexuality, failure, gender, power and other thought provoking issues. The magnificence of Arabia glass and ceramic ware is in the spotlight of this 140-anniversary exhibition as is the Habitare collection showcasing interiors and furniture.

    Contributions to the Let’s Build the City project are highlighted by a children’s plan to build a garden in the courtyard of the museum. Let’s Build a Garden invites kids to cultivate all things edible – vegetables, plants, flowers and herbs over the summer months.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the most romantic restaurants in Helsinki?

    The fairytale island of Katajanokka right in the heart of Helsinki is where you’ll find Nokka. Distinctive in its maritime atmosphere, it’s housed in what used to be a redbrick warehouse, beautifully converted and right on the seashore. You can’t miss it for the huge anchor displayed outside. Sit at the water’s edge in the open air, or cosy up inside, the mood is all about romance. Head chef Ari Ruoho has created a menu using the best of local ingredients. Try the Helsinki Menu which consists of bream from the Baltic, smoked and served with dill cucumber and rye, lamb from Bovik with thyme sauce, Finnish cheese and organic strawberries.

    In another glorious area called Kruununhaka where Jugend and Classic architecture stand side by side, is Restaurant Ask. It’s small, it’s intimate and it requires a booking if you want to make sure to get a table. Small farmers and producers are the source of inspiration for Filip and Linda who own the restaurant, cook the food and serve it together with their trusty team. Most products are organic except for the wild and foraged ones and the menu is dependent on what is now, what is fresh and what the chefs feel like creating on that specific day. Closed for July.

    What could be more romantic than an island setting, a short ferry ride from the mainland with your table set on primary rock with a expansive view of the sea? On the island of Sirpalesaari, there’s Restaurant Saari with its intimate, homely atmosphere inside and seating space outside, depending on the weather. Sit next to the porthole-style window and order some fish delicacies including slightly salted salmon with pine tar syrup followed by beef fillet on dark shallot sauce only to finish with a pancake with rhubarb, strawberries and Finnish ice cream.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best stores on Aleksi Street in Helsinki?

    Stockmann’s has pride of place at the beginning of Aleksanterinkatu or Aleksi Street as we fondly call it. It’s our version of Harrod’s in London and it’s got a deli that rivals it any day with huge varieties of local and imported fish, fresh meat and marinades that make your mouth water. But that’s not all. There’s a superb display of Finnish design all of which you can purchase of course and the international couturiers are well represented.

    Monki’s ethics are sound – the group cares about who makes the clothing and what happens to our planet. The range includes easy to wear, loose-fitting funky dresses, coats, shoes, accessories and are pretty much aimed at the more youthful amongst us.

    For out of the ordinary, unique, colourful and truly Finnish, go for Minna Parikka’s shoe shop. Transparent heels carry the platforms, femininity and elegance is the norm, shape is highlighted and you can wear her shoes everywhere from the office to the beach.

    My O My comprises hand-picked pieces of clothing and shoes from the likes of Tsumori Chisato, Stella McCartney, Henrik Vibskoy and Nanamica for men. Each item stands out, the buyers are clever in their selection and you have to exclaim with delight when you see what they’ve got.

    For the hardcore there’s G-Star Raw and Superdry Store for the dress-down, street wear look, both carrying jeans and plaids, leather jackets and boots and of course it’s for both the guys and ladies.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best kid-friendly restaurants in Helsinki?

    You will be hard pushed to find a restaurant in Helsinki that does not have a high chair to pop your baby into or a waiter that will not willingly heat up your jar of baby food. Generally, restaurants are more than happy to provide the young ‘uns with half portions of whatever’s on the menu and quite a few hotel bistros even let them eat free as long as they’re accompanied by adults who are also partaking of a meal. These include the Bistro at Kämp Hotel as well as all Sokos Hotels.

    The usual greasy spoons that you might find at amusement parks have been replaced by high quality fare provided by various top Finnish chefs at Linnanmäki. These include some Michelin star restaurants like Demo with chef Tommi Tuominen’s clever meatball bar called Kuula, Postres who serve up Meditteranean cuisine at Coccola and Hans Välimäki, from Chez Dominique fame, whose North American food will amaze you. There’s sushi, Finnish and of course a buffet to delight kids and adults alike and may I add that none of these will break the bank.

    Theme restaurants are fun and Harald The Viking is just such a place. Be served by buxom maidens in traditional dress, sit in a Viking boat and eat and drink from boards and crockery from the olden days. The Hard Rock Café’s smokehouse sandwiches and legendary burgers are just the thing for fussy teenagers while the music keeps them rocking and bopping.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best stores for designer clothes in Helsinki?

    Making their mark firmly in the world of fashion are some hot, young talents from Finland.

    Samu-Jussi Koski is the creative mind behind Samuji on Northern Esplanade. His designs are simple yet chic, girly, feminine and intriguing. Changing Patterns is the title his summer collection and he’s not afraid to use models that are real and don’t make the rest of us feel like going on a starvation diet.

    Acolyth on Iso Roobertin Street has a collection for both men and women. The curved lines are elegant and comfortable, clothes to be worn at the office, lounging at home or going out to dinner. They’re timeless.

    Asuna carries an impressive line of clothing for women with strong Finnish designers such as Anna Ruohonen as well as international names like Commes des Garcon, Linda Toye and Eley Kishimoto. Not a hint of overdressing can be seen in the no-nonsense collection of plain colours and comfort garments. Visit the store at Frederikinkatu 24.

    Separating a lady from her shoes can be dangerous. Watch out for Minna Parikka on Aleksanterin Street. She stands tall among the best of the best in shoe design. Feminine with an input of quirky, always striking.
  • On July 23, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best free museums in Helsinki?

    All Helsinki city museums are free of charge and there are 7 to choose from. Hugely popular amongst the kids is Sederholm House, one of the oldest buildings still left standing. Children’s Town allows young and old to play in the shops, sit at a school desk from the 1930’s, scribble on a writing slate and visit Grandma’s 1970’s home. Discover your inner child and join in the fun.

    The Worker Housing Museum depicts living conditions of the employees of the city as it was in the 20thC. The tiny ‘stove rooms’ are authentic in every way and gives us an indication of furnishings and decorations. A short bus ride out of the city takes you to Tuomarinkylä Manor House, pure style in its architecture, it is situated in the beautiful grounds of the riding stables next door. The Elegance Exhibition introduces us to a range of styles from baroque to functionalism. Pop in to the restaurant next door. The food is outrageously good. For all the museums, see http://www.hel.fi/hki/Museo/en/Museums+-+Exhibitions.

    Helsinki University Museum incorporates the museums of Medical History, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry and the Collections of Craft Science.
    Learn more about the administration of the university from Russian and Swedish times to the time after Independence. See the writing case of embroidered silk designed by Helena Westermarck which was presented at the Paris World’s Fair in 1900. The Bank of Finland museum is also free of charge. Follow the route of the old Finnish Markka to Finland’s involvement in the European Economic Community.

    Many art and history museums have free opening times. The Sinebrychoff Museums with its imposing collection of Dutch masters can be visited free of charge on the first Wednesday of every month from 5pm till 8pm. See the Natural History Museum on the first Thursday of every month from 4pm till 6pm (3pm till 5pm in summer), the National Museum every Friday from 4pm till 6pm, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Design first Friday of the month from 5pm till 8.30pm to name but a few. Give them a call, you might get lucky.
  • On July 10, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best farmers markets in Helsinki?

    You want fresh, you got it! Most outdoor markets open at around 8 am and close at 6 pm in the summer, 2 pm in the winter.

    Hakaniemi Market is a hop and a skip away from the centre but worth the short tram trip with its array of fresh fruit, vegetables, potato trucks, flowers, baked goods, cheese, fish and meat. Prices are a little lower than anywhere else and the quality is up there amongst the best.

    The Market Square downtown is filled with orange and white tents, each vendor selling their selection of fresh goodies. Strawberries, blueberries, cherries are in abundance as are the boats that arrive early in the morning from the archipelago with their freshly smoked fish.

    The old abbatoir has been given a foody facelift with exciting restaurants and shops and puts on a pop up organic, locally produced farmers’ market once a month. There’re chillies, cheese and homemade breads and of course veg and fruit. Check out their Facebook pages for more info: https://www.facebook.com/Maalaistentori

    Not exactly a market but offering a fantastic range of locally produced cheese, breads, beverages, jams and other delicious delicacies from Finnish farms, is Maatilatori in Kluuvi Shopping Centre. You simply can’t walk out empty handed, it’s a great gift shop for your family and friends back home.
  • On July 10, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best farmers markets in Helsinki?

    You want fresh, you got it! Most outdoor markets open at around 8 am and close at 6 pm in the summer, 2 pm in the winter.

    Hakaniemi Market is a hop and a skip away from the centre but worth the short tram trip with its array of fresh fruit, vegetables, potato trucks, flowers, baked goods, cheese, fish and meat. Prices are a little lower than anywhere else and the quality is up there amongst the best.

    The Market Square downtown is filled with orange and white tents, each vendor selling their selection of fresh goodies. Strawberries, blueberries, cherries are in abundance as are the boats that arrive early in the morning from the archipelago with their freshly smoked fish.

    The old abbatoir has been given a foody facelift with exciting restaurants and shops and puts on a pop up organic, locally produced farmers’ market once a month. There’re chillies, cheese and homemade breads and of course veg and fruit. Check out their Facebook pages for more info: https://www.facebook.com/Maalaistentori

    Not exactly a market but offering a fantastic range of locally produced cheese, breads, beverages, jams and other delicious delicacies from Finnish farms, is Maatilatori in Kluuvi Shopping Centre. You simply can’t walk out empty handed, it’s a great gift shop for your family and friends back home.
  • On July 9, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best holiday events in Helsinki?

    School’s out for summer and Helsinki is vibrant with stuff to do and see.

    Helsinki Cup is Europe’s biggest international soccer event for young kids and every grass pitch in the city is filled with whipper snappers trying to snag the Fair Play prize in every game. There are 870 teams and the event is as exciting for the players as it is for the spectators.

    Treasures of the Palace is the title of the exhibition at Ateneum Art Museum which gives viewers a chance to see the art which would normally be on the walls of the Presidential palace. It’s being renovated at present and the museum is housing the works for everyone to see.

    The Guards Parade takes place on selected days starting at 12.30 from Senate Square through the streets of Helsinki. Everyone’s up for a parade and this one’s got the pomp and ceremony that makes one stop and stare. For dates see: http://www.visithelsinki.fi/en/events-in-helsinki/guard-parade-in-helsinki-0

    The Espa stage in Esplanade Park in the heart of the city has come alive with Espa Jazz. Here you can see big bands like UMO featuring trumpeter Verneri Pohjola, the Ira Kaspi Jazz Diva Band and plenty of other Finnish greats. For times and dates see: http://www.visithelsinki.fi/en/events-in-helsinki/jazz-espa-0

    This year’s big event is the Tall Ships Race when more than 100 vessels will grace the shoreline of Hietalahti Harbour and Helsinki will be celebrating in true style from 17 till 20 July. No traffic will be allowed in the area except for public transport and bicycles. Get ready to be rocked at Hietalahti Market Square where you can see flamenco dancing and Finnish rock bands. Food vendors will be coming up with some innovative snacks like SeaDogs and the kids will be entertained in Sinebrychoff Park with circus acts.
  • On July 8, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best bookstores in Helsinki?

    You can’t miss Akateeminen Kirjakauppa as you walk along the Esplanade in the centre of Helsinki. For a huge range of and I venture to say, almost every genre under the sun, this bookstore has it all and if they don’t have it, they’ll order it for you.

    But for something a little less commercial and with a genuine dollop of friendliness, is Arkadia International Bookshop on Nervanderinkatu in Töölö, a mere tram ride away. Ian Bourgeot, the owner, couldn’t be more accommodating and you’ll find an array of oldies and newies in his selection at reasonable prices. The cultural programme is jam-packed full of poetry readings, music, films, discussions and exhibitions, most of which is in English.

    Edgy is how I would describe Pitkä Mies. Owner Jelle Hugaerts is passionate about the comic subculture, but not your normal run-of-the-mill Donald Duck genre. Oh no, this is cutting edge stuff – art comics, graphic novels, mini comics hand-selected to fit into the alternative style he is looking for. They also have a range of indie music vinyls, a coffee shop and comfy sofas where you can eye out the comic-related exhibitions on the walls.
  • On July 2, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best island restaurants in Helsinki?

    The summer has arrived, let no one stand in your way, hop on a boat and find yourself in a restaurant on an island in the spectacular Helsinki archipelago.

    Not for wheelchair users, perched high up inside the 18thC fort is Restaurant Särkänlinna. The building is listed and hence no elevator can be installed but if you’re well and able climb the stairs and be ensconced by the enchantment of this venue with its peekhole windows that look out over the sea. The menu is heavily laced with local ingredients with poached perch newly caught from the Baltic Sea, blue cheese from Peltola, lamb from the Åland Islands and white fish from the Finnish archipelago amongst other delectable items.

    Martha’s Vineyard, actually Boathouse, a hop and a skip away from the mainland sitting on a rock overlooking the sea with its laid back, relaxed atmosphere. Popular among the natives is Lazy Sundays when you can sit in the sun, sip on a sparkling wine and chomp on the sandwich of the day with coleslaw and marinated red onion.

    Join the yacht crowd at NJK on the tiny island of Valkosaari. The building is a breath-taking green and white villa, elegant and gracious with style that matches every morsel of food you may consume there. They have their own garden guaranteeing unsurpassed freshness. The Archipelago’s herbs menu will tantalize your palate with tarragon crayfish and lentils, chive lamb and garlic, basil strawberries and white chocolate.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best places for brunch in Helsinki?

    Brunch culture has exploded in Helsinki and the number of restaurants in on the gig is overwhelming.

    Sunday is the usual day but Saturdays won’t leave you hungry. In the historic area of Kruunuhaka with its classical buildings, there’s Qulma serving fresh fruit salad, a great yoghurt buffet with all kinds of yummy toppings using mint, lime and crunchy granola and lots more for €18. Can’t beat the price, can’t beat the atmosphere with its funky, owner’s choice rock ‘n roll. http://www.qulma.fi/brunch.html.
    Have a chili/chorizo omelette and fill up your plate with pick-of-the-day salad, brie, cold cuts and a range of breads at Flada 13 on Frederikinkatu. The dessert table is tempting too and there’s plenty of juice and coffee to wash it all down. Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10-16. Table reservations at 010 832 2600/bistro@flada13.fi.

    Head over to Kallio, the edgy part of town and discover some real gems. Rock the Casbah brunch makes your eyes pop out with its variety of tzatziki, hummus, couscous, saffron focaccia, lamb meatballs, mussels in creamy sauce and other Morrocan-type goodies. Sandro on Kolmas Linja is where the action is but make sure you book, it’s very crowded. For €20 you even get a glass of sparkling thrown in. Seatings at 10 and 1 pm, only on Sundays. http://www.sandro.fi/home

    For a mere €15 the salad table selection at Oiva is pretty impressive together with their smoked fish, slightly salted salmon and pickled herrings. Traditional meatballs and sausages are always on the menu and there’s an array of cake, tarts and other sweet stuff.
  • On June 22, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best champagne bars in Helsinki?

    Champagne, the drink of choice in this metropolis called Helsinki and you needn’t pay an arm and a leg for it either!

    One Tiny Champagne Bar on the ground floor of the Stockmann’s Department Store serves the most delectable, hand-crafted nibbles to go with your glass of Moët et Chandon. As its name suggests, it’s tiny and wraps around the corner with an under-stated, green-tinged interior, every bit as vibrant as the fizz in your glass.

    Shampers is tucked into one of the lobbies of Forum Shopping Centre. With its coloured lights and celebratory mood, Mumm provides the bubbles to put a sparkle in your day.

    Helsinki’s only 2-star Michelin restaurant Chez Dominique has an impressive champagne bar where it’s possible just to have a glass of the good stuff without indulging in a meal. The choices range from Krug to Jacquesson and while the prices may be a little elevated, the service and natural, calm atmosphere turns every sip into an unforgettable moment.

    Wine bar Grotesk has a brand new concept with 60 wines by the glass and some pretty excellent champagne included in that list. Indulge your palate with Champagne Tribault, exclusive to this restaurant, or Veuve Fourny Blanc de Blanc 2002, while you gaze up at the exquisite carved wooden ceiling of this historic building.