The theme to the Usedom Baltic Fashion Catwalk held at Berlin Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2011 was from the Bath Tub for the Berliners to the Fashion Island of the Baltic Sea. The show has been a platform for designers from the Baltic region for more than 10 years. The show featured: Marita Huurinainen (Finland) – Wave and Poems; Agnese Narnicka (Latvia) – Coming Soon; Grosser Heinrich (Germany) – Blue – the foxes of August 2nd; Zanete Auzina (Latvia) – The Dream. Show”; and Sandra Straukaite (Lithuania). Check out our favourite top ten looks from the show below…
Celebrate 10 Years of The Tallinn Light Festival
Symbolically, the Tallinn Light Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2010, continuing to offer art projects in public space during the darkest time of the year. The conception of the Light Festival is not solely centered on light art and design, but also offers possibilities in various fields of culture and for different age groups. The 10th festival will be marked by a selection of artists and works that have participated in the Festival during these 10 years, but they are presented in new situations. The main axis of the spots of events is formed by 11 cultural cauldrons many of which have started to boil during these 10 years and that have accommodated the festival by chance: Battery Prison, Cultural Factory, Telliskivi Environment for Creative Industries, Polymer, Baltika Quarter, Latin Quarter, Tartu Yeast Factory, Pärnu Museum of Modern Art, Von Krahl Theater, Rotermanni Quarter.
The agenda follows the last year’s pilot of moving the opening of the Festival to Christmas time, thus supporting the developing idea of the Winter Festival introduced bu the town government. The programme starts in the Christmas teepee on the 20th of December and the winter solstice journey on the 21st of December. Light installations can be seen primarily within the period from Dec 29th to Jan 10th, on the 12th and 13th of January the projects in Tartu and Pärnu are opened. Traditional burning of the fire sculptures made from old christmas trees takes place in the Fish Market on 16th and Mustamäe on 17th of January. On the 30th of January the Festival reaches its apogee in Kadriorg with the Fire and Ice Show. This years cold winter also hopefully enables the building of the Snowtown in Tallinn and to greet the year of tiger on Valentine’s Day.
For more information visit Valgusfestival 2010
Jazz Season at Baltic in London
Baltic restaurant in London have announced that they are re-starting their regular Sunday Jazz evenings in association with Zhenya Strigalev and t Wo music who have gained a well earned reputation for working with some of the most innovative muscians currently on the music scene.
The restaurant will also be participating in the London Jazz festival again this year with three evenings featuring some of the best international musicians. Dates and line-up are yet to be confirmed.
The Sunday sessions will start at 7pm with three sets during the evening. The bar is open all day serving cocktails, draft beer and a great bar food menu while the restaurant opens at 5.30 with an all day brunch menu, a la carte and a set menu at £19.50 for two courses with a cocktail included. Tables can be booked in the bar or the restaurant.
Baltic May Schedule:
2nd May – Strigalev/ Ramm Duo – Leading London alto-saxophonist, Zhenya Strigalev (seen with Robert Mitchell, Foley, Chris “Daddy” Dave) and top UK pianist Nick Ramm (Cinematic Orchestra, Matthew Herbert) present a program of originals and jazz standard’s RE-arrangements. Their last album “Off the Cut” came out on The Baltic label.
9th May – Ivo Neame Duo – leading UK pianist. Has recorded and performed throughout the world with diverse artists such as Matthew Herbert, Seb Rochford, Tim Garland, Jim Mullen. His trio has performed as part of the recent F-ire Festival at Pizza Express Dean Street, Ronnie Scott’s, the Devizes Music Festival and at many other London venues.
16th May – Tom Cawley Duo – His band “Curious” was described by Mojo as “the most formidable piano trio in the UK”. Now with two acclaimed records already behind them, extensive touring throughout UK and Europe including the North Sea and London Jazz Festivals as well as winner of ‘Best Band’ at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2008, Curios are now poised to be launched to a worldwide audience.
23rd May – Brigitte Beraha Duo – Beautiful set of arranged jazz standards & originals including some exciting vocals and scat. “Brigitte is someone who concentrates on the music’s core values: imagination, individuality, improvisation.” – Jazz Review.
30th May – Heidi Vogel Duo – Being one of the most original voices in UK she has performed, recorded and toured with artists/groups, such as: Isaac Hayes, Cinematic Orchestra, The Brand New heavies, Afro Elements, ZeroDB to name a few.
Check the website for future listings Jazz at Baltic.
Baltic Restaurant, London
Although I had eaten in and thoroughly enjoyed a meal at Baltic once before, I had never reviewed this particular restaurant until a few weeks ago. Baltic restaurant, Jan Woroniecki’s second restaurant, has become London’s destination restaurant south of the river. Situated a stones throw from the Old Vic and the Tate Modern, it specialises in East European Cuisine. Architect Seth Stein, has retained the building’s (originally an eighteenth century coach builders) beautiful and spacious design, providing a truly exquisite dining arena. The restaurant offers an extensive food menu, a range of cocktails, draft beer served in iced glasses, and Baltic’s famous myriad of flavoured vodkas.
On arriving at your table the waiting staff present a selection of bread, a beetroot caviar spread, pickles and red peppers. Having recently made my own beetroot caviar spread (Ikra Iz Svekly) I was particularly interested in sampling this. This version was far superior to my own attempts. The spread had a much finer consistency, presumably achieved with the aid of a food processor/blender, and a much more peppery taste which I think was probably created by using raw garlic and white pepper.
I then began my meal with a selection of blinis as from previous experience the starters at Baltic prove to be rather large and as it was a hot day my appetite was somewhat suppressed. There are a selection of blinis on the menu but I opted for two smoked salmon (£6.50) and two aubergine and mushroom caviar (£5.00), an interesting option for vegetarians. Both plates were particularly pleasing in presentation and taste, the blinis were not too doughy and most unlike those purchased from supermarkets. The smoked salmon, sour cream and lemon were in abundance as was the aubergine and mushrooms pastes.
This was followed by a generous serving of beef stroganoff with wild rice pilaf (£15.50) and for my dining companion, a plate of lamb shashlik with grilled aubergine and roasted red pepper, served with flat bread (£16.00). The beef stroganoff was somewhat unlike beef stroganoff I have eaten elsewhere, including at restaurants such as NEP in St Petersburg. It was indeed, therefore, quite unlike the stroganoff I myself make and am used to consuming. Although I think I prefer a traditional take on stroganoff, rather than the more experimental at Baltic, this plate was at least interesting. What made this dish different was the use of pickles and pepper in a sparse sauce which contained less mushrooms than would normally be used in stroganoff. The taste was unusual but the cut of beef was fantastic, as was its flavour.
The lamb shashlik was by far the reigning dish of the day. The meat had a wonderful flavour and was cooked to absolute perfection. The dish could have only been improved by the addition of a tomato condiment popular in Georgia which is included in Georgian restaurant Ket’s (in St Petersburg) equivalent of this dish.
I enjoyed a particularly rich bottle of beaujolais with the meal and finished off with two ice-cold shots of cherry vodka. I am not usually a fan of cherry vodka but this particular one was deep and intense with a sweet finish. There could be not better way to finish off a meal. The waiting staff were attentive yet did not make customers feel harassed and the tables are generally a reasonable distance from one another so you do not feel as if you are eating on top of each other. Although many aspects of the interior are modern, I love the old wooden beams the property boasts and the traditional, velvet curtains just inside the door which is a particularly traditional East European custom, ideal for keeping the cold out in the winter.
While I think the restaurant fare is more ideal for the winter (although the menu is changed depending on the season) the menu does not do a bad job of satisfying a hungry Londoner with a desire for a little taste of Eastern Europe. I do think that during the winter months the mushroom soup, pelmeni and pierogi are probably the most delicious food in London, if not the UK.
Angus Bell’s Batting on the Bosphorus
Angus Bell is a Scot, who while living in Canada, stumbled upon a medium who told him his Great Uncle Ivor (who had died as a child) was inspiring his ideas, that he would travel and write about it. While working in a methadone clinic Bell planned a cricket tour around Eastern Europe. Starting in the Baltics with playing cricket on ice and encountering a streaker, Bell picks up many a hitchhiker along the way and makes his way through the Balkans, Bulgaria, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic and finally finishes his tour in Poland where his final match is cancelled.
My sister lent me this book and instructed me that despite my general dislike of travel writing and my limited knowledge of cricket, it would indulge my love of Eastern Europe. However, whether you are a lover of travel writing, cricket, Eastern Europe, or would like to find out about an interesting, albeit odd, adventure.
While Bell’s knowledge of East European history is not always necessarily spot on (though I do understand it is difficult to convey complicated historical concepts, thoughts, ideas and facts in a limited number of words) I did find his investigation of academics’ work amusing simply because there were many thesis written in utter jest. I had never before come across academic work written as a hoax and I do wonder where academics get the time considering supposedly how hard they work and how much research they do! (Note, I realise many historians actually do work incredibly hard!) What I found most intriguing was the brief mention of Lapta, a Russian game which began in the medieval period and is a Russian game similar to cricket.
To find out more about Angus Bell and his adventures go to: www.angusjjbell.com
Batting on the Bosphorus written by Angus Bell is available on Amazon priced at just £5.99. To purchase your copy go to www.amazon.co.uk.