Weleda – from Germany with Love

For some reason looking for beauty products from Germany is not something that ever occurred to me. It just doesn’t sound right. France, Paris, Grasse and lavender fields have more of a romantic and beauty oriented tone to it. However, I seem to have been slightly converted.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve received a few Weleda products as gifts and have to say that they are pretty wonderful.

It is more and more that I’m using products, which say and I hope, are, better for the body. And why would one use something that in the long term could turn out to be harmful?

Weleda story began as a collaboration between a Dutch doctor, an Austrian philosopher and a chemist and pharmacist from Munich at the beginning of 1920ies and until now it delivers the philosophy that the medicine should provide crucial stimuli for the body’s own healing powers. They follow the principle ‘what goes into our body is just as important as what does not’ avoiding the use of synthetic fragrances and dyes, preservatives and mineral oil-based ingredients.

The products I’ve been using for the past weeks are the Skin Food, which apparently is their top seller, Citrus Hydrating Body Lotion and Wild Rose Body Oil, which is my favourite out of the three.

The Wild Rose Body Oil comes in a green glass bottle, must be something to do with its medicinal heritage, and being 100ml also fits nicely into 100ml liquids bag when travelling. The scent is not an ordinary rose scent. It’s more of a musky, almost smoky rose scent. It took me a bit of time getting used to it, but a rose scent doesn’t have to be a sweet flower power. It’s slightly mysterious. I keep asking myself, what are you that I’m putting on my skin? I normally apply it straight after shower and it soaks in the skin very quickly. Apparently Demi Moore is a fan.

On the other hand, the Citrus Hydrating Body Oil is a completely different story. Refreshing citrus scent can be quite powerful to get you going in the mornings – perfect for sleepyheads like me. This body oil contains aloe vera, coconut oil and sesame oil for moisture and the essential citrus oils come from Weleda’s Sicilian trading partners Francesco and Concetta Salamita, whose cooperative includes about 100 islands throughout the island. I think this body lotion is best used in exactly that kind of climate – where refreshment is needed. Or you can argue the opposite – in a climate where you need something to take you to a sunny place.

Now the Skin Food seems to be undoubtedly the most loved product of Weleda. The list of celebrity fans in endless and includes ladies like Alexa Chung and Adele. This cream is the rescuer for very dry skin, however I’ve started using it regularly for my hands, in quite small quantities. The cream is rich, yet refreshing and have to say, my hands looked more moisturised than ever. I can imagine it being soothing for sunburns as well. The ingredients sunflower seed oil, extracts of wild pansy, chamomile, calendula and rosemary extract make me think of this cream as mash and bangers for skin, i.e. the ultimate comfort food for skin.  


Gastro tripping in Estonia – Tammuri Talu

Most of the people visiting Estonia end up only staying in Tallinn, quite often they only come for a day trip from Helsinki and part for the night.

There is however more reason to venture out of the capital these days – the ever so evolving gastronomy of Estonians. The proof to that is in the list of 50 best restaurants, which comes out every year and includes a great selection of places to try out, not only in Tallinn.

One of these places is Tammuri Talu, a farm on the outskirts of Otepää in South of Estonia. Run by one man, Erki Saar, this rustic farm house can fit 25 people for lunch or dinner, by appointment only.

We arrived just in time for a late lunch on an incredibly sunny day. Erki was there to greet us, however, he made it very clear, that what ever is offered is there to be enjoyed and we shouldn’t complain. In a very sort of grumpy but friendly, I’m-the-chef-I-know-what-I’m-doing-kind-of-way. As there is no menu, Erki was going to introduce the dishes before each serving. Have to say though that I did miss a few words here and there as I was trying to find English translation for the more exotic ingredients and didn’t dare to ask again!

Erki was serving the food, whilst telling stories about how he ended up being the owner of the farm.  The dining room is decorated with photographs of his ancestors and quite a peculiar, slightly extended, map of Estonia.

On to the food, it appears to be quite fashionable these days to serve water with at least some fruit or leaf inside it, so that’s what also welcomed us on the table. The freshly baked breads on the table accompanied with ramsons or wild garlic pesto, were quite a treat. It all disappeared pretty quickly.

Most of the ingredients served are homegrown and considering that Erki does all the cooking himself, the quality and presentation were pretty impressive.

  Quail’s egg, salmon pate, shrimps, salad decorated with flowers and mushrooms started us off. The salad was a little spicy, pleasant surprise. My granddad sitting next to me didn’t make much of the starter dish, he prefers a good old pork and potatoes. For myself I might have enjoyed the presentation slightly more than the tastes.

Next up was sea buckthorn pastry, fois gras, which I do not eat, so kindly shared it, rowan tree jelly and salad from the garden.Unusually for a restaurant, Erki sent us off for a stroll in the garden to ‘digest’ the first two courses.  We used it for taking some group photos and as the weather was nice, it was a good chance to turn our heads to the sun and lounge on the grass. In some point we heard a shout ‘Strawberries’. Not understanding what on Earth was going on, we soon realised that we’d ended up on a wild strawberry field. Momentarily everyone was down on their knees chomping away the sumptuous berries.
After filling the 20 minute gap with eating strawberries, we strolled back to the dining room and we were greeted by an extremely tender fillet steak with blackcurrant sauce, pumpkin pie and veggies from the garden. Turns out that Erki himself is a vegetarian, so it was quite surprising to find him serving meat. However, Estonians are meat lovers, so there must be plenty of demand. Apparently he also serves fish at times from his pond across the road.I’m a big lover of desserts and have to say that the one we had coming up was excellent. Light gooseberry mousse with strawberries, pineapple strawberry and wild strawberries (probably from the same field in the backyard we raided earlier) with a flapjack was stunning. I loved the lightness and fluffiness of it. To finish off, we were offered some homemade liqueurs, from sea buckthorn to rowan tree flavour, it was all there to try.

Our group left very happy indeed, as such I’d recommend a visit when in South of Estonia.