What’s new since yesterday? Oh yes, there was sushi. There was also a room party. Someone brought a bottle of Jura Prophecy. I can’t imagine who that might have been. It seemed to go down very well. Otto revealed a new skill: expert cake maker. He should do that more often.
After way to much whisky and sparkling pink stuff I had to get up early again this morning for another tour. This time I got the clocks right and managed to inhale a reasonable quantity of breakfast. This is just as well, because the alcohol started early.
We were visiting Smakbyn, a new enterprise set up by top Finnish chef, Mikael Björklund. Although the venue will feature a top quality restaurant, Björklund isn’t in Åland just to cook. He wants to start from scratch. He and his wife have purchased a distillery which specializes in apple-based beverages. They plan to start smoking their own meats and fish, making their own cheese and honey, and so on. Åland is a fine agricultural location, and therefore an excellent place for such a venture.
Our tasting concentrated on the alcohol. We were served a number of beverages, starting with apple wine and working up through various liqueurs to a Calvados-like spirit. Given that I am from Somerset, I’m pretty hard to please when it comes to apple-based beverages, and several of the drinks didn’t pass muster when compared to equivalent French offerings. However, the apple wine was very nice and did, as advertised, go very well with cheese. I’d like to try it with a proper cheddar rather that the wussy equivalent made here. The star of the show, however, was Appleaud, an apple-based liqueur that tastes exactly like liquid apple pie. I need to get a bottle or two before I go home.
Back at the hotel, we dived straight into the academic session. Merja and Mika were their usual thoughtful and entertaining selves. Merja gave a fascinating paper about the temporal structure of Ted Chiang’s “The Story of Your Life” while Mika continued to expound on semiotics and the multifarious ways in which stories are adapted and evolved through modern media. Sadly he didn’t have time for the whole of his six-part theory of orcish evolution, but we got the general idea. I’m longing to see the theoretical framework he’s been developing for this PhD melded with fan studies to look at the way in which different representations of well-loved characters vie for authenticity.
Tricia’s GoH speech is due up soon, so I’ll head back down for that. It is a gorgeous spring day here today, though, and the temptation to sit down by the water with some cheese, bread and a bottle of white wine is very strong.