What Do Finns Bring Back From Vacation?

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In Scandinavian countries, alcohol is HIGHLY taxed.   Not surprisingly, they are always ready to take advantage of a deal on alcohol.  He says that he’s never seen anything like the Swedes with an open bar.  Yes, I realize that I’m overgeneralizing a bit here.

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Alcohol is not taxed at the same high rate on the cruises and ferries in the Baltic. As a result, Booze cruises are popular and people take advantage of ferries to lower tax countries to buy alcohol. While waiting for our ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn, we saw people disembarking with their souvenirs.

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If you’re travelling in the Nordics and want to drink. You might want to plan ahead and take advantage of the deals from duty-free. The natives do. DSC_0371 DSC_0372 DSC_0373 DSC_0374 DSC_0377

 

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Chartreuse, It’ll Put Hair On Your Chest!

France has a food and drink culture.  Apparently, every region of France has its own liqueur(s). He received some Chartreuse as a present.  Now, I know where the color Chartreuse comes from.  Even the cork is bright green.
Chartreuse is surprisingly good.  It is made from over 150 herbs, plants and spices.  One of them is anise, a spicy black licorice, flavor.  The Peres (fathers) Chartreux originally created as an “Elixir of Long Life” from a recipe given to them by François Hannibal d’Estrées, a marshal of artillery to French king Henry IV, in 1605.  Today, it is produced by Carthusian monks in the French Alps.  Only three living monks know the recipe to this drink and they’ve taken a vow of silence!


They didn’t skip on the presentation.  The numbered bottle came with seals in a special wooden box!  

The yellow version is sweeter and milder than the green, which will put hair on your chest.  V.E.P. stands for Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolonge, is Chartreuse aged for a longer period of time.  Its a high-end luxury liquor which means that even though it will still put hair on your chest, it’s a little more mellow than the regular.

Although I’d never heard of it before moving here, I understand that hip cocktail joints are using it in drinks.  The New York Times wrote an article about its increasing popularity in the US, proclaiming it “[a] fetish among cocktail enthusiasts, but obscure to the general public, Chartreuse has been steadily infiltrating cocktail menus in New York and elsewhere, with bartenders increasingly reaching for it to add depth and nuance — and instant classical cred — to their creations.”  Popular cocktails include: the Chartreuse SmashThe LumièreThe Beauty SpotThe Last Word, the Champs-Élysées CocktailGreenpointEureka Punch and CCR.

Chartreuse was originally intended as medicine and has a distinctly herbal taste.  I’m not sure if it will work every time, but it cured my cold!  As Brian Fontana said in Anchorman:  “They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.”