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Posted by portugalpress on November 14, 2017
Pirjo Laurila (left) and Sisko Ahonen at the Koivu shop/café in Portimão

A new Finnish shop and café opened in September in Portimão, bringing a wide selection of Scandinavian products to the Algarve.

Koivu, as it is called, sells all kinds of goods, from coffee, biscuits and traditional sweets to the hugely popular Hartwall’s Original Long Drink, a gin-based beverage that is among Koivu’s “top sellers”, and Fazer chocolates, a favourite among those with a sweet-tooth.

Koivu is owned by Pirjo Laurila, a 56-year-old former nurse who moved to the Algarve two years ago and realised that Finnish and Scandinavian residents and holidaymakers did not have a place to stock up on the products that they missed from home.

“Our first month was quiet, but more and more people have been coming in and we’re gaining a lot of returning clients,” said Sisko Ahonen, a part-time Finnish resident in the Algarve who helps out at the shop and also served as a translator for our interview.

Most clients are Finnish or Scandinavian, though locals have also been in to discover what the café, named after a commonly found tree in Finland, has to offer.

Lunch is served every day at the café, with the menu consisting mostly of Finnish soups during the weekday, and smoked salmon on Saturdays.

Koivu will also be hosting a Christmas market this Thursday and Friday (November 16-17) between midday and 6pm. A number of Finnish residents will be selling everything from cakes and sweets to textile products.

The shop/café is open every day between 10am and 6pm and is located near the Portimão library and court. Staff are hoping to welcome more British visitors and show them the range of products available at ‘Koivu’.

Facebook: Koivu Shop & Cafe