A Northern love story
Ruoka tarjotin

A Northern love story

The Lapland nature never ceases to amaze the Australian-born couple Juha Tolonen and Kate de Bruin. Their company, Arctic Frontier, helps Levi visitors see, experience and taste the nature.

IT WAS ONLY A FEW YEARS  ago that Juha Tolonen and Kate de Bruin would wake up to the scorching heat of 40 degrees Celsius. They would wake their two children up, have breakfast and take a moment to look at the flowering trees and bushes, listen to the insects buzzing in the air and then drive to work through the metropolitan area of Perth: Juha to teach photography at the university and Kate to the museum where she worked.

Then Kate was offered her dream job: the largest museum in Western Australia, the Western Australia Museum, offered her the position of Head Curator.

What do Kate and Juha do? They move to Finland, to Levi.

A COMPANY CALLED Arctic Frontier was established. Juha and Kate’s company offers services helping people experience the Lapland nature with unexpected approaches.

Juha organises excursions where he teaches how to photograph the Aurora Borealis (see Juha’s tips here). The participants are provided with cameras and taught how to make the best of them. Then Juha takes the group to lake Munajärvi and askst hem to look at the Northern sky. There, on the opposite side of the lake, you can almost always see the green lights dancing.

It’s an amazing experience every time, Juha says.

Kate, on the other hand, creates a mouth watering Lapland experience. She cooks for the Northern Lights excursions and organises food-oriented workshops.

I have always been interested in food and, particularly, in the way it brings people together. With food people open up about themselves and their culture, Kate says inviting to enter the dim kota hut.

There is a typical Finnish rakovalkea fire (a fire between two logs) in the middle and you are embraced by the aromas of smoke and different berries and herbs, the autumn.

Kate has placed different dishes and ingredients on a wooden surface: juniper, cranberries, different mushrooms, sorbus blossoms, nettles, heather, cloudberries. Everything foraged by Kate from the nearby woods and marshes.

Kate uses the ingredients to prepare different tasting menus or, for example, makes brownies by the open fire. All the while telling about the food, where it’s from, its significance and different notes you can taste.

I want to awaken people’s taste buds.

And she wants everyone to see the abundant nature of Lapland.

JUHA SAYS THAT IF HE WANTED to go to the marshes in Australia, he couldn’t be relaxed as he would constantly be thinking about snakes.

In Lapland walking in the marshes is an incredible experience.

The Northern nature never ceases to amaze the couple.

- There are endless possibilities to photograph. The seasonal variations are unbelievable with each day bringing about a new change in the nature, says Juha. 

It is because of that change Juha and Kate decided to change their lives.

In Australia I had this feeling that I don’t quite belong here. Here I feel at home, Juha says.

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