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Why Koivu? Why now?

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

For the past couple of years, the conversation over our kitchen table has often turned to how can we turbo charge our love of food and wine into something beyond cooking for friends and family. We’ve come up with a whole host of ideas; a café, a shop selling our favourite Finnish chocolate (Fazer of course!) and a wine bar - anyone fancy popping for drinks at the Polar Bar?!

The ideas have never progressed beyond a name which riffed on Finnish or Scandi themes and a wistful “wouldn’t it be great…” We both work full time and are not able to throw it all in, no matter how tempting that can feel on a Monday morning. Then I came across a website that was promoting home cooks and delivering their food. When I looked into it further I found it was based in London so I forgot all about it, until the next Friday night wine fuelled conversation of what if? I casually mentioned the website and by the time I shuffled downstairs to watch Saturday Kitchen the next morning, Terry had investigated the whole concept and emailed the owners. We never heard back from them but the spark had been ignited!

Anybody who knows us, won’t be surprised by that story. I can come up with an idea and sit on it for years, mulling over the options and dreaming of the perfect colour scheme and ideal font for non-existent stationery. Terry gets an idea and charges ahead with it, ready to go with all options fully researched and costed within the day! This time was different. By the end of the weekend we had agreed a concept (it was always going to be Nordic inspired really), investigated how to start a food business from home on the Food Standards Agency website, signed up for Food Hygiene training and planned the next six months meticulously on Click Up

It’s been an intense, but hugely enjoyable few months. Every weekend has been filled with recipe development, systems planning, comparing environmentally friendly packaging and website design. We have eaten some really great food and Terry (our amateur sommelier) has matched it with some truly delicious wines, so it hasn’t all been hard work!

And, why Koivu? During those Friday night conversations we considered many names; Further North was a hot contender, but anyone who knows the Leeds bar scene knows that that was already taken. Using a Finnish word made sense, but finding one that worked for the Finnish and English ear was tricky. We considered Lumi (snow), Loimu (glow), Pohjanpalo (Northern Lights) and Kastrulli (copper pan) but couldn’t agree on any.

Our surname is Koivunen, koivu is the Finnish word for birch tree. It’s björk in Swedish, birk in Danish and bjørk in Norwegian. Finns like to do things differently! Through Koivu, I hope we will bring tastes and ideas that are a blend of familiar seasonal, local produce with a Nordic difference.

The website launched last Saturday, 19th August and it’s been a whirlwind of a week. We are so grateful for the support of friends and family and mega excited to be picking up a host of new followers from Leeds, Harrogate, London and even Denmark! As we head towards our first delivery weekend on the 23rd September we are stunned by how far we’ve come and are truly excited for what the future will bring.

Rachel. 26th August 2023

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