Tartar on trout from Bergö with Ritgrund whitefish roe and Västerbotten cheese cream – a foretaste of the delicious World Heritage Menu that has been created by the renowned chef Michael Björklund. The menu, which will be served onboard Wasa Express in the ferry’s à la carte restaurant in September, celebrates the World Heritage Site’s 10-year anniversary and combines unique tastes from the High Coast and the Kvarken Archipelago.
Marianne Sjöström, Project Leader for the Spotlight High-Low Coast project and Mikael Erkas, Restaurant Manager onboard m/s Wasa Express, togethet with the creator of the menu, chef Michael Björklund. Foto: Anna Sand/Kvarken Council
”We wanted to highlight the World Heritage Site’s 10th anniversary with a menu that consists of ingredients from both sides of the Kvarken Strait,” explains Marianne Sjöström, Project Leader for the Spotlight High-Low Coast project. The cross-border project is administered by the Kvarken Council and financed via the Interreg Botnia-Atlantica programme.
The cooperation project aims to introduce additional reasons to visit the site, such as taste experiences and new product packages with components from both sides of the Kvarken. The goal is to increase awareness of the area and consequently contribute to a larger number of visitors.
The menu will be available onboard Wasaline’s ferry during September 1st–24th and, therefore, it can be enjoyed by Swedish, Finnish and even international travellers.
“The decision to launch the menu onboard the ferry felt natural, seeing as how we work with cross-border issues,” Sjöström tells.
The choice of the Åland-born top chef Michael Björklund was also easy considering his merits as Chef of the Year in Finland and Sweden and his fifth place in the renowned Bocuse d’Or chef contest. ”Michael is also well-known in both countries thanks to his guest appearances on TV,” Sjöström adds.
Michael himself remarks that his fondness for the region and its fine ingredients was one of the reasons why he agreed to the task.
“There are several incredibly capable producers and entrepreneurs in the World Heritage Site – and I also love new challenges,” he adds knowingly.
Michael has based the menu on ingredients that are able to keep the delivery times and high quality. These include, among others, trout, whitefish roe, Västerbotten cheese and beef from Nordingrå in Sweden as well as berries from Replot and Vallgrund in Finland. The main course’s beef tenderloin is accompanied with tender beef cheek, chanterelles, vegetable ragout, cranberry syrup and almond potato compote. The dessert is lightly frozen sea buckthorn mousse with raspberry sorbet, chocolate crunch and caramel sauce. The menu also boasts an Amuse-bouche – an appetizer in the form of fermented Baltic herring from Ulvön served with potato puree, red onion and whipped crème fraiche.
The ferry’s staff members are also enthusiastic about the exciting project.
“For my part, it has been very interesting to forge new contacts with local meat producers along the High Coast,” admits Mikael Erkas, Restaurant Manager onboard m/s Wasa Express. ”The idea of the World Heritage Menu interested me from the beginning, because local ingredients are close to our hearts onboard the ferry.”
Both Erkas and Sjöström eagerly wait for the launch of the menu onboard the ferry and, eventually, even in other parts of the region.
“I hope that the menu will be received well and that it will attract more visitors to the Kvarken region” Sjöström concludes.
For further information:
Project Leader for the Spotlight High-Low Coast project, Kvarken Council
+358 (0) 40 678 8375
The Spotlight High-Low Coast project is funded by the EU through the INTERREG Botnia-Atlantica programme. The cross-border World Heritage and tourism project aims to create product packages and marketing materials in order to attract more tourists to the High Coast/Kvarken Archipelago World Heritage Site and its surrounding regions in a sustainable way.
The project is due to end on May 31st, 2018.
Text and photos: Anna Sand/Kvarkenrådet