When visiting my hometown Vasa in Finland I usually have a pretty simple and short agenda: spend time with my family and eat at a few of my favorite local spots. I don't want to mislead you on what sort of culinary place we are talking about, though. For most of my life living in Vasa, eating out, or even having a coffee, was not the most exciting thing. Though the town still only boasts a few, mostly chain, restaurants, the cafeteria, lunch food, and bakery scene has seen a big improvement within recent years (of course, just in time for me to have moved far, far away). Now, you can actually sit down at a cozy cafeteria and enjoy a seasonal salad of locally sourced ingredients, or enjoy a delicious in-house sweet treat.
A new favorite my mom introduced me to a few years back when I visited was Sweet Vaasa, an American-inspired bakery offering classics such as cupcakes, rocky road brownies, and big, rich slices of cheesecake. In Vasa, this was the first of its kind, as, believe it or not, a cupcake is still a pretty rare sight at cafeterias there.
My mom and I definitely share a love for all things sweet, and going to bakeries and coffee shops when we are together is a daily must. On our first trip to Sweet Vaasa, she was convinced that I had to try the Pavlova, a massive piece (basically the size of a New York pizza slice) of chocolate meringue cake, filled with chocolate mousse, chocolate sauce, and sliced bananas. Did I mention my mom loves chocolate?
The airy and light meringue paired with rich chocolate and sweet banana was indeed a heavenly combination. Since that first time, I have visited Sweet Wasa on each trip back to Finland, and my mom always has great new recommendations of what I have to try, including the summer version of the Pavlova, topped with fresh strawberries. And no, I will never order the cupcake. Not because I think it will be bad, but because who would ever fly to Finland to eat cupcakes when you live in New York? No, I’ll stick to the more "exotic" stuff...