A Scandinavian café that was launched by a former British army officer using the handwritten recipes of his Norwegian great-grandmother is celebrating its first birthday this month.
Paul Rawlinson trained at Sandhurst alongside Prince William and served in Afghanistan before leaving the forced in 2011 to marry his wife Katie, a dietitian.
The electronic engineer then spent nearly two years planning every last detail of his Scandinavian café Baltzersen’s before it finally launched in the centre of Harrogate last October.
Paul chose his grandmother Liv’s maiden name, Baltzersen, because it conjured up memories of his childhood.
Scandinavian culture was hugely influential in my upbringing and I grew up with a strong sense of the importance of family, food and health along with a love of simple and effective design.
He then set about finding local suppliers to help him bring his Norwegian heritage to Harrogate.
Since opening its doors on Oxford Street Baltzersen’s has sold over 11,000 of its popular cinnamon buns, which are baked on the premises daily using a combination of the best locally and nationally sourced ingredients.
Customers have made their way through 12,000 litres of milk, a tonne of coffee and over 3,000 of them have ordered the café’s top selling Hot Meatball Sandwich.
The business’s strapline ‘Yorkshire Sourced – Scandinavian Inspired’ sums up the ideas I set out with and I’m delighted that the concept has proved such a success.
Many of the dishes have been inspired by my great-grandmother’s recipe book, a treasured family heirloom which is hand-written in Norwegian and dates from 1919.
Paul says creating a calm and relaxed Nordic atmosphere inside the café was crucial to its success. Grandma Liv’s original knitted sweaters hang on hooks inside and framed artwork by Harrogate designer Dan Gardner, the man behind the Baltzersen’s branding and logo, hangs on the walls. Local interior shop Lime Lace helped him source some of the eclectic furniture and finishing touches.
Finnish head chef Anna Schavikin-Parry was Paul’s first employee and helped him develop the menu.
Anna is highly experienced and worked as a chef in Scotland, Cambridge and The Academy in Harrogate before joining Baltzersen’s.
Like me, she understood the potential in creating Nordic inspired cuisine for the UK market so her ideas and enthusiasm have been hugely influential.