Helsinki Card

165 years of coffee and cakes

20.9.2017 Text: Henry Loveless Photos: Ekberg
Café Ekberg

The Ekberg family opened their first bakery in 1852. Over five generations, and 165 years of seismic world history later, their business has not only survived but thrived. 

Today their cafe and bakery on Bulevardi combine a traditional style and atmosphere with their long-established quality products made from quality ingredients. In Ekberg you can feel the history. The original bakery was established when Finland was still part of the Russian Empire. Since moving to its current premises in 1915, the giant mirrors on the cafe wall have reflected upon two world wars, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union and the entire history of independent Finland. Ekberg is older than the Moomins.

Inside, the cafe is smart and classic, marble and brass. Though often busy (an estimated 150,000 portions of their own brand coffee are sold per year), the atmosphere is warm and friendly; a recent renovation adjusted the acoustics so that customers could chat without having to shout. There is also table service, unusual for Finnish cafes, from friendly waiters with excellent English skills.

The bakery next door also combines the same quality and tradition, there is even an old cash register complete with old markka notes. The bakers arrive at 4am to start mixing the flour and kneading the dough, their feet upon the same tiled floors that their predecessors have walked for the last hundred years. There is even a sourdough-bread starter that has been used for over 150 years. Notable products include the Alexander and Napoleon pastries as well as the punchy champagne cork cakes. Everything is still made from quality local and seasonal ingredients and everything from scratch.

The Ekberg cafe and bakery are great places either to sit and eat with friends or to pick up a delicious loaf and pastry for a picnic. The cafe serves a buffet breakfast and lunch every weekday and brunch on the weekends. The opening times and other details are on their excellent website, also in English.

Café Ekberg: Mon-Fri 7.30-19, Sat 8.30-17 and Sun 9-17
Ekberg Bakery: Mon-Fri 7.30-18 and Sat 9-16

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