My first visit to Porvoo, a historic city some 40 minutes drive from Helsinki, proved to be a very successful trip: red wooden houses aligning a slowly gliding river, cafés and restaurants full of cheery looking customers, tourists groups posing and pointing with their cameras, pretty cobblestoned old town with a cosy feel. What else could a traveller ask for from a coastal Finnish city? Well, in the case of Porvoo, there were also amazing chocolate shops as a bonus.
Which was very convenient as a friend of mine, who likes chocolate and Porvoo, had a birthday coming up. For once, I was going to do well with my gift idea!
1) Brunberg, Välikatu 4
I begin with Brunberg, the most historic Porvoo chocolate factory, and one of the most historic Finnish chocolate factories in general: Brunberg was established in 1871 and is well known to most Finns for its “Brunberg’s kisses” (chocolate covered marshmallow treats invented in Denmark in the early 1800s). In 1928 Brunberg was bought by its current owners’ ancestor, who lived in Porvoo. At that time, the factory also concentrated in its main product, chocolate. Välikatu is one of Porvoo’s old town’s main streets, and Brunberg’s chocolate shop one of the first shops I saw after arriving at Porvoo. From outside, the shop looked very picturesque but stepping inside it was just a basic looking shop, with shelves covered with various kinds of chocolates, so I didn’t take any photos. Nevertheless, the products were the main thing here, and I did manage to purchase a solid, chocolaty base for my friend’s gift.
2) Petris, Laivurinkatu 5 and Rihkamakatu 2
Petris is a family-owned chocolatier, with a little shop just around the corner from Brunberg. There is another shop too, a little further down (or is it up?) the river, but unfortunately I did not have time to walk there. Next time! The one I managed to reach is situated next to an apparently popular restaurant in one of Porvoo’s oldest buildings, the Simolin House. Apart from chocolate, you also find various types of lemonades, cakes and coffees from Petris. I was offered a little taste bite of a very fresh tasting chocolate flavoured with Japanese citrus fruit, and based on its balanced flavours I would have bought a whole cake to take with me back home if I could have. Now I settled to buy only a few chocolaty treats for myself and a selection of chocolates for the birthday girl. If I’d live in Porvoo, Petris would bring me a sweet and slow death by over consumption of chocolate.
3) Pieni Suklaatehdas (Little Chocolate Factory), Kirkkotori 1
Little Chocolate Factory was the highlight of my chocolate tour, although what it came to the flavours, Petris is on the same, tasty level. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit Petris’s second shop in Porvoo, so I don’t know if you can sit down there, and enjoy your chocolates with some coffee. But I did find out that Little Chocolate Factory offers us sweet tooth loiterers a cosy surrounding to sit down and savour our chocolates in peace: step into Little Chocolate Café! Or, Pieni Suklaakahvila, as it is in Finnish. I first visited the Chocolate Factory, a tiny space where you can see the actual facilities where the magic is being made. This Little Chocolate Factory was opened in 2005 and the Little Chocolate Café in 2015 – thank goodness, as the combination of a little chocolate factory and a little chocolate café is perfect! I bought the cutest box of chocolates for my friend and a bar of chocolate made of Brazilian beans for my Brazilian sidekick – it was quickly eaten and mostly appreciated! In the café next door, I could sit down and rest my weary feet from all the chocolate shopping, take in the charming atmosphere of olden times Finnish living and… taste some more chocolates…
Enjoy your chocolate tour in Porvoo!