“NORTHERN HOSPITALITY WITH THE PORTLAND HUNT + ALPINE CLUB.” By Andrew and Briana Volk. Voyageur Press. 2018. $30

Despite the stream of sweat forming on your brow during this stretch of sweltering weather, fall is, indeed, coming soon, to be followed by winter in all its biting, blustery glory. As you are raking leaves, chopping firewood and making other preparations for the cold, consider also picking up a copy of “Northern Hospitality with the Portland Hunt + Alpine Club,” a new cookbook by local restaurateurs Andrew and Briana Volk.

It’s a cookbook and cocktail guide that blends Maine life with Scandinavian sensibilities, and honors and updates the traditions of both. It will entice you to find comfort in a bowl of salmon chowder, or courage in an Old Fashioned sipped by a crackling fire. (The Volks met and fell in love over a few rounds of Old Fashioneds.) And you’ll wish for a dusting of that children’s book magic that allows ordinary humans to step right into the cozy, stylish photos – in this case, photos by Peter Frank Edwards, who also photographed celebrated Charleston chef (Husk) Sean Brock’s “Heritage” cookbook.

“Northern Hospitality” is like an invitation to a party that fights the raging blizzard outside with hot buttered rum, oven pancakes drizzled in warm maple syrup, and Swedish meatballs served over homemade spaetzle.

The Volks own both the Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, a cocktail bar that serves Scandinavian-inspired fare, and Little Giant, a restaurant they opened last year in the West End. “Northern Hospitality,” their first cookbook, draws from Briana Volk’s Finnish heritage and Andrew Volk’s creativity with cocktails, and targets the same folks they like to see walk into their bar.

They welcome those who want something simple and familiar, “but if you want to come in and get super nerdy, you can do that too, because our bartenders are super knowledgeable,” Briana Volk said.


The cookbook, she said, is “really for people who have some interest in food and drink and entertaining, but also maybe want to learn something too. We try to be approachable and not scary, which is what we try to do with Hunt as well.”

Entertaining is a running theme in the book. Shots of bartenders laughing and goofing around on top of the bar at Portland Hunt + Alpine are followed a few pages later by one of Briana serving up a pair of Firecrackers, a cocktail that was on the bar’s opening menu. A lit sparkler flickers in one of the glasses.

“One of the things that we always talk about in restaurants is it’s supposed to be fun,” Andrew Volk said. “We definitely wanted to be sure we included a bit of the lifestyle involved and the experience of being at Hunt + Alpine, not just pretty food and pretty drinks.”

A chapter on making cocktails for a crowd includes two versions of every recipe: One recipe makes a single drink, and another yields a 64-ounce pitcher.

The couple gives advice on creating “sexy lighting,” putting together a smorgasbord (“We’ve found that gravlax is often the first thing to disappear”), and when cocktails should be shaken and not stirred. They even include instructions for building a good bonfire, illustrated with photos taken on a frozen-over Long Pond in Bucksport, where photographer Edwards’ family has a small hunting camp.

“We were out there from morning until it got too dark to shoot,” Briana Volk said. “It was cold, but we were prepared for the cold. And we had their little cabin to build a fire in and go in and warm up.”


The food in the book is heavily influenced by Scandinavian culture. You’ll find recipes from Briana Volk’s family, including one for the Riccipurra (rice pudding) that her grandmother and great-grandmother made for her every Sunday when she was a child. In a chapter devoted to the popular Scandinavian spirit Aquavit, the Volks share their do-it-yourself infusion.

In this marriage of cultures, have the Volks found similarities between Maine and Scandinavian foodways?

“There are similarities in the sense of using a lot of seafood and just the seasonality,” Briana Volk said. “We have very cold winters here, and there are very cold winters in northern Scandinavia, which really lends to the idea of pickling and the idea of using a lot of root vegetables, and taking the bounty that you get in the summer and trying to make it last as long as possible throughout the year.”

The approach at the Hunt + Alpine Club, Andrew added, has been to serve not so much authentic Scandinavian food, but “Scandinavian food passed through the Maine lens.”

“We’re in Maine, and we want to embrace that,” he said.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:



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This recipe is from “Northern Hospitality” by Andrew and Briana Volk. They write: “Our chef created this luxurious and ridiculously easy recipe for a coursed dinner we presented at the James Beard House and refined it at our kitchen at Hunt + Alpine.”

Yield: 4 entrée-sized servings

1 cup (approximately 1/2 pound) fingerling potatoes, chopped into 1-inch rounds


Salmon Soup is a Hunt + Alpine chef’s creation.

1 tablespoon canola oil, or other unflavored cooking oil

2 leeks, white parts only, roughly chopped

1 large onion, finely diced

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Pinch of white pepper

1 cup dry white wine


4 teaspoons fish sauce

11/2 quarts heavy cream

1/2 pound raw salmon, skin removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces

Dried seaweed, for garnish

Dill, for garnish

Bring a small pot of water with a pinch of salt to a boil. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes, or until just fork tender. Be careful not to overcook, as you want them to hold their shape. Turn off the burner, drain the potatoes, and set them aside.


Heat the oil in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is nice and hot, add the leeks and onions and sauté until clear and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the allspice and white pepper, stirring until they coat the onions and leeks.

Add the white wine, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the fish sauce and heavy cream and immediately reduce the heat to medium low. At this point you don’t want to bring the soup to a boil again – keep it at a low simmer.

Add the salmon and cook until just done, approximately 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and warm through.

Divide into four bowls, ensuring that each gets a good amount of salmon and potatoes. Garnish with dried seaweed and dill.

Smoked trout deviled eggs.


This recipe is from “Northern Hospitality” by Andrew and Briana Volk. They write: “When we opened Hunt + Alpine, we knew we wanted an upscale Scandinavian version of the classic (deviled eggs). We have a great relationship with a fish purveyor less than a mile down the road. They smoke their own trout, among other fish, and we knew immediately that we wanted to use that in our deviled eggs. Over the years, we’ve departed from just offering the smoked trout deviled eggs and now have a rotating selection of equally delicious options, but these still hold a special place in our heart.”


Yield: 24 halves

1 pound smoked trout

1/2 cup finely diced shallots

1 cup crème fraîche

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives


1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

2 lemons, zested

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste


1 dozen eggs

Clean the skin (if you’ve purchased a side of smoked trout) and shred the smoked trout.

Combine the shredded trout, shallots, crème fraîche, dill, chives, parsley, cilantro, lemon zest, white pepper, lemon juice and salt in a mixing bowl and stir gently to combine. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator while continuing with the recipe.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. There should be enough water to cover the eggs once they are placed in the pot. Once the water reaches a boil, carefully add the eggs and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the eggs for 11 minutes. After 11 minutes, remove the eggs and immediately transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking.

In their new cookbook, Briana and Andrew Volk tell how to make Firecracker cocktails, left, and which cocktails should be shaken and not stirred.

Peel the eggs under running water, then slice each egg in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and fill the empty egg whites with the smoked trout filling. Use the yolks as garnish, microplaning them over the stuffed eggs.



This recipe, a play on the town of Mexico in Maine, is from “Northern Hospitality” by Andrew and Briana Volk. The Volks write, “This cocktail is what came to our minds as we envisioned a marriage of Mexico and Maine. It’s based on the strong flavors of Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy and mezcal. Thus, you have the iconic spirits of Maine and Mexico! We’ve found this is a drink that’s made for cold weather. It’s a friend of fried food and won’t ever say no to a campfire.” For coffee bitters, the Volks use the Portland-made Coastal Root brand.

Yield: 1 drink

Glass: chilled double old fashioned

11/2 ounces El Jimador Blanco

1/2 ounce mezcal

1/2 ounce Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy


1 teaspoon agave syrup

6 dashes coffee bitters

Orange peel, for garnish

Add the El Jimador, mezcal, Allen’s, agave and bitters to the glass. Add a large ice cube, and then stir for 20 to 30 seconds. Garnish with an expressed (aka twisted) orange peel.

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