The year started with a trip as far north as I have ever been, to Finnish Lapland. We fly through a beautiful sunset above the clouds and land to deep snow and temperatures of minus 20C. Dinner is a perfect warming feast; deliciously pink duck breast with a medley of winter flavours. Sweet parsnips and carrots, a rich apple puree and a few pieces of doughy gnocchi, all brought together with a tart, decadent, glossy blackberry sauce.
As we venture further north temperatures fall further to minus 35C. The clear skies and snow covered ground are a stunning sight. Birch trees twinkle with every branch covered in a thick white frost, and the arms of the firs droop heavily with snow. The sun makes a momentary appearance above the horizon at midday, a bright red sliver in an otherwise white landscape. Walking outside in these temperatures is a challenge despite wearing so many layers I practically waddle, and the steaming glass of hot loganberry and almond punch is wonderfully welcome when we return inside. The week is full of further inspirational dishes and flavours; a rich porcini mushroom soup, Arctic chard with leeks and buttermilk sauce, reindeer carpaccio with beetroot salad and a sweet creamy dessert with beautiful cloudberries. Perfect winter fare for the freezing weather.