berlin food

Berlin's best Currywurst

The ubiquitous Currywurst with its sweet ketchup, dusting of curry powder and classic German sausage, is synonymous with Berlin and food. Perhaps not a 'refined' delicacy, but this little wurst stands proud within the Berlin food scene and definitely fulfills its purpose as good street-food.

A product of a dark and desperate time and a devastated city, where the resources were low but perseverance high, when a lady named Herta Heuwer obtained ketchup and curry powder from some neighbourly British troops in West Berlin, (they received alcohol in return, I say no more!), and combined it with what she had to hand, the traditional German sausage.

The interesting concoction was immediately successful and remains very much a firm favourite of Berliners today.

There are thousands of Currywurst vendors to choose from today in Berlin, and of course the quality can vary considerably, so I am going to share with you some of my favourite places to enjoy this tasty little plate of food fusion.

Konnopke's Imbiß

This is widely regarded as one of the best Currywurst in Berlin and they definitely win on the historical front. A sausage-maker since 1930 and the first Currywurst vendor in East Berlin, and also the creator of the skinless Currywurst sausage. Great sauce, great fries, a great place to start.

http://konnopke-imbiss.de/Home.html

Konnopke's in the 1960s

Konnopke's in the 1960s

Curry Mitte

By far one of my favourites in Berlin. The meat in the sausage is locally sourced and they have an extra spicy, garlicky sauce you can order if you want a little more kick to your curry. They even offer a beef currywurst but I'd go for the original pork if I was you.

http://www.currymitte.de/

Curry 61

I always enjoy this Currywurst, a fairly sweet sauce which I think works very nicely with the curry powder. Be sure to ask to have your wurst 'scharf', meaning spicy, for that zing you need in a Currywurst. These guys even have a vegetarian sausage for those plant-eaters among us that don't want to miss out on this authentic Berlin experience.

http://www.curry61.de/

Curry Baude

On the advice of a friend of mine, a true Berliner, this is the best Currywurst in Berlin. All the key ingredients are perfectly balanced, great fries and they even have something called 'Zigeunersauce' which translates as 'gypsy sauce'. How can you go wrong.

http://www.curry-baude.de/

Guten Appetit!



A Berlin Christmas Gift Guide

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It's that time of year again!

The fresh scent of pine, glüh wein and sugared almonds perfume the air. The sharp, icy days nip at your cheeks. And the Sun disappears for its annual slumber... hmm...but don't despair...

The Weihnachtsmann is coming!

Well... that's as long as you've been good this year?!

Now, I have always liked to think myself a good present planner. I try to tap into peoples wants and desires and have the memory akin to an elephant. So this year I thought it a good idea to put together a festive little list to help others during this time of hectic christmas shopping, last minutes woes and 'one day left to go' desperation.

I'm basically one of Santa's little elves.

Christmas is after all, all about sharing, so here are some of my favourite (of course mostly food related!) Berlin gifts to help you plan your 2017 Christmas gifting.

Gifts are appropriate for Berlin locals and visitors alike. Not sponsered.

All suggestions are small, local businesses, so by following these tips you can feel very virtuous in the fact that you're supporting small businesses. Therefore it's kind of a present to you too. 

1. Stollen from Lindner. Christmas isn't Christmas without this sugary, buttery German classic. Will be found in every German home at this time of year.

2. 'Winter Light' tea from Paper & Tea. This gorgeous store sells wonderful tea blends and stunning stationary. Either would be a perfect Chrimbo gift.

3. 'Rhubarb & Mint jam' from Zeit für brot. Perfect for making toast a little more exciting.

4. Pralines & Truffles from Sawade. Scrumptious chocolates handmade by Sawade, Berlin since 1880. A delicious little piece of Berlin history.

5. Classes at Ceramic Kingdom. Learn how to make your own bowls and mugs here! I had the most fun and am now the owner of some very 'unique' pieces shall we say! Variety of courses available. One off daytime events also possible so could be part of a special Berlin stay!

6. Spices from the Turkish Market. A little bundle of vibrant spices for the avid cook would make a lovely present and at the Maybachufer Turkish Market you can find spices in abundance and for great prices. Perhaps team these with an interesting wooden spoon/ chopping board that can also be found at this market.

7. Candles at Oblique. Who needs Jo Malone (now part of the hellhole that is LOreale) when you can support such a beautiful, local brand. Candles to die for. 

8. Gift Voucher for Goldhahn & Sampson. The foodie's dream pressie. Can be used for goodies including food items, kitchen utensils or cookbooks. Or even for one of the regular cookery classes that are available. Check website for details.

9. Crazy Bastard Sauce. A gift for those that like to eat alllll the scovilles, or at least say they can. This sauce will put them to the test. Details for buying online and Berlin stockists available on the website.

10. Bite Berlin food tour Gift Vouchers...ahem...Gift vouchers are always a great idea. Pretty effortless for you but all of the enjoyment for the receiver. BUY YOURS NOW :-)

11. Bonanza Coffee. Truly special coffee perfect for the Coffee fiends we know. Perhaps head to Mauer Park and find yourself a vintage coffee bean grinder and this would be some gift!

12. Our/Berlin vodka for the boozers amongst us. Perhaps find a Spreewalder Gurke in a can (local pickle) to accompany it and you have a pretty cute gift!

13. Aventyr Not so much a specific gift idea as a wonderful little spot where you can find truly unique pieces from all over the world. Homeware to underwear. For all ages & preferences.

14. Bite Berlin tote bag anyone? Number 13- lucky for some! I drew the Frenchie!!! <3 #shamelessselfpromo Contact me at info@biteberlin.com to purchase.

15. Berlin Museum Passes for one of the cultured souls you know. Either the annual one for someone that lives in Berlin or day passes for those just visiting. 

16. Christmas cookies at the Markthalle9 Christmas market or if you aren't here during the advent weekends, then head to the Kadewe food hall where you'll find food heaven on earth.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

World Hummus Day

Hummus.

I could happily eat hummus everyday. That creamy chickpea nectar is not only good for your health, it's good for your soul.

Well, my soul at least.

You know that question that people ask, usually in magazine interviews, a question that I find sometimes keeping me up at night, racking my brains- 'what would your last supper be?' That death row meal. I think mine actually might be the glorious hummus, teamed with its great friends: fresh bread, pickles and fiery white onion that I inevitably regret munching later on.

Perhaps it was in fact hummus that Jesus and his disciples dined on during the principal Last Supper, its origins are found in that part of the world after all.

First recordings of hummus were discovered in cookbooks from the 13th Century in Cairo and it is a significant part of cuisine across the Levantine world. 'Hummus' means literally chickpeas in Arabic.

It is a dish that has been enjoyed by ancient rulers and despots, spanning a milennia, so you know it has to be good and deserves respect.

Upon my nerdy food googling this morning, I learnt that tomorrow (May 13th) is World Hummus Day!

So it is only right that we celebrate this wondrous and ancient dish and with this post I share with you all my favourite spots to enjoy it in Berlin tomorrow.

Akroum

Though not found on the menu above the counter, their hummus is delicious and fresh. Just ask for hummus 'gemahlen' (ground).

Azzam

Just opposite Akroum on Sonnenallee, you'll find the famous Azzam. Busy and sometimes a little hectic, their hummus always hits the spot. I like to have it with the spicy potatoes.

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Sababa

Gorgeous Israeli dishes, their hummus with aubergine is always a triumph.

€€

,Zula

Another Israeli restaurant, the hummus with mushrooms is my go to, but they have a variety of toppings to join their super creamy hummus.

€€

Kanaan

A perfect place to go in the Summer with their funky outdoor space in Prenzlauer Berg. A Palestinian and Israeli run restaurant, which just touches the soul. As well as the hummus, the Sabich with a Yemenite pastry is fantastic.

€€

Brunch at Refugio

This cafe is part of a Sharehouse for refugees and homeless in Neukölln. The cafe is run by volunteers and offers a weekend brunch with Levantine fare. The hummus is beautiful. Citrusy fresh, it will brighten up your heavy head on a Sunday.

 

Berlin foodie hitlist

So you've made it to Berlin for a little trip and there are so many amazing things to do and see that you just don't know where to start.

Of course the most important matter at hand is what to eat and where.

It's all too easy to get a little lost when you visit a new city and if you're only there for a few days or so, you need a little guidance. It's always best when you know someone that lives there, a friend that can take you by the hand to all their favourite spots and lead you away from all the tourist hellholes. You may be thinking, that's all well and good but we don't know anyone that lives here in Berlin.

There you'd be wrong.

You have me!

And this blog is for you- an easy, concise plan of foodie action for when you are in Berlin for a holiday and want to make the most of your trip without any culinary mishaps.

Follow these steps and you will have yourself a truly delicious, vibrant and an extremely Berlin holiday.

You'll find a balance of the German classics, that one may be craving on a visit to the Hauptstadt, and the more diverse foodie finds that reflect the multi-cultural bounty that is the Berlin food scene.  

Enjoy!

Kadewe- the foodhall

The stunning department store that is the Kadewe (Kaufhaus des Westens) hosts Europe's largest foodhall and it demands that you visit. Far more affordable than its British rival (Harrods) and the Wintergarten canteen on the very top is special. Awesome view of the city and the food is just immense with a great variety. The strudel here with vanilla and blackcurrant sauce should not be missed.

Rogacki- the deli

This is a little piece of history. A family owned business since 1928, they have been providing Berliners with delicious morsels such as smoked fish, sausages and even oysters for years. Go during a month with a 'R' in it and enjoy yourself some oysters with a nice little glass of Riesling. Also, for a little trivia- Anthony Bourdain went to Rogacki during his episode on Berlin food.

Berliner Weisse at Zwiebelfisch

This is charming little bar in the chic neighborhood of Savignyplatz in Charlottenburg. This area was extremely popular amongst artists, poets and other Bohemian types in the 70s before this scene moved over to East Berlin after the fall of the wall, and Zwiebelfisch encapsulates that. You can enjoy some traditional German bites here or just a little tipple- the red or green Berliner Weisse is a Berlin classic you can try here.

Strudel at Einstein

Though this is an Austrian delicacy, of course it can be found extensively in Germany and Cafe Einstein Stammhaus provide a pretty scrummy offering.

Schnitzel at Austria

Another Austrian dish adopted by their Germanic cousins and after extensive research, it is the schnitzel at Austria that is my favourite in Berlin. Crispy coated and the size of your head, this will satisfy those that are craving the Teutonic classic.

Schwarzes Cafe

This 24 hour cafe/restaurant/bar is a typical Berlin establishment. Cosy with an endearing shabbiness where you can enjoy extremely good afternoon Kaffee & Kuchen (coffee/cake) or a midnight cocktail. Alternatively you can have an afternoon cocktail and a midnight coffee and cake.

Clärchens Ballhaus

This Berlin institution built in 1913 as a ballroom is still used for dancing to this day along with a great German menu and also pizzas. Try the classic Königsburger Klopse and then join in for a little salsa.

Currywurst at Konnopkes

Because no trip without the Berlin Currywurst would be complete!

Brunch at Dots

Delightful little cafe with all the necessary brunchtime treats such as pancakes, avocado toast and eggs.

Fassbender & Rausch

For the chocolate lovers amongst us! In a beautiful location, opposite Gendarmenmarkt, this chocolate shop is a must. Check out the Berlin landmarks made entirely from chocolate and there is even a chocolate restaurant upstairs.

Dong Xuan Center

Go to Vietnam for the day and experience the cultural richness that the prominent Vietnamese community in Berlin brings to the city.

Sonnenallee for Middle Eastern cuisine

This street is nicknamed 'Arabic Street' and hosts a multitude of fantastic Arabic restaurants. Azzam. Al Andalous. Akroum. To name a few spots! The heavenly scent of baklava fills the air, get off at Rathaus Neukölln and follow your nose.

Food Markets

The markets are a must for any trip of Berlin, they teach us so much about the culture of the city and are just plain delicious. There are quite a few in Berlin, almost every day of the week there is a market somewhere to be found- so below is a list of my favourites.

And of course, join one of my food tours!

Berlin's best Currywurst

The ubiquitous Currywurst with its sweet ketchup, dusting of curry powder and classic German sausage, is synonymous with Berlin and food. Perhaps not a 'refined' delicacy, but this little wurst stands proud within the Berlin food scene and definitely fulfills its purpose as good street-food.

A product of a dark and desperate time and a devastated city, where the resources were low but perseverance high, when a lady named Herta Heuwer obtained ketchup and curry powder from some neighbourly British troops in West Berlin, (they received alcohol in return, I say no more!), and combined it with what she had to hand, the traditional German sausage.

The interesting concoction was immediately successful and remains very much a firm favourite of Berliners today.

There are thousands of Currywurst vendors to choose from today in Berlin, and of course the quality can vary considerably, so I am going to share with you some of my favourite places to enjoy this tasty little plate of food fusion.

Konnopke's Imbiß

This is widely regarded as one of the best Currywurst in Berlin and they definitely win on the historical front. A sausage-maker since 1930 and the first Currywurst vendor in East Berlin, and also the creator of the skinless Currywurst sausage. Great sauce, great fries, a great place to start.

http://konnopke-imbiss.de/Home.html

Konnopke's in the 1960s

Konnopke's in the 1960s

Curry Mitte

By far one of my favourites in Berlin. The meat in the sausage is locally sourced and they have an extra spicy, garlicky sauce you can order if you want a little more kick to your curry. They even offer a beef currywurst but I'd go for the original pork if I was you.

http://www.currymitte.de/

Curry 61

I always enjoy this Currywurst, a fairly sweet sauce which I think works very nicely with the curry powder. Be sure to ask to have your wurst 'scharf', meaning spicy, for that zing you need in a Currywurst. These guys even have a vegetarian sausage for those plant-eaters among us that don't want to miss out on this authentic Berlin experience.

http://www.curry61.de/

Curry Baude

On the advice of a friend of mine, a true Berliner, this is the best Currywurst in Berlin. All the key ingredients are perfectly balanced, great fries and they even have something called 'Zigeunersauce' which translates as 'gypsy sauce'. How can you go wrong.

http://www.curry-baude.de/

Guten Appetit!



Tales of pickles and 'Ostalgie'

On the day to commemorate 25 years of German reunification, it seems only right to recognise the beloved Spreewälder Gurken (Spreewald pickles) and the concept of Ostalgie. For this little gherkin, represents a wealth of German history and political, even emotional conflict. He is more than just a pickle and encapsulates the essence of Ostalgie, the longing or nostalgia for the East German regime, the GDR.

Ask today's Berliner how they feel about the German reunification and of course, the majority are relieved and positive about the end of the GDR (and their country becoming whole again). However, there are some who lament the loss of the communist era and with it, the social system and the feeling of being part of a community.

This longing, affectionately termed 'ostalgie', a play on the words 'ost' meaning east and 'nostalgie' meaning nostalgia, encompasses the sentiment felt by some East germans that it was better in the days of the GDR. 'Die Mauer im Kopf' (wall in the mind) represents the divide, east from west, that continues to be felt by some. The remains of the Berlin wall may have been swept away, but it could take another generation for its effects to be fully forgotten. 

Walking around Neukölln, where I live, the difficult past of this city can be so easily forgotten, but enter Mitte or walk by Ostbahnhof and the remnants can be seen. Walk along Bernauerstraße on your way to Mauer Park, pass the Eastside gallery on your way to Berghain, Berlin's struggle is tangible, though it may now be brightly coloured. 

The Spreewald pickle, hailing from the damp, swampy forests of the Spreewald region just outside of Berlin, are one of the last remaining 'Ostprodukte' (Eastern products) to survive the fall of the wall. Flavoured either with dill, mustard seed or spices, they help satiate this nostalgia and represent a little win over the dominant West.

A popular delicacy in Berlin for centuries, stemming back to the 1740s when Frederick the Great, king of Prussia, brought both potatoes and cucumbers to Germany. He was a good man- I have no idea what Berliners would do without potatoes and pickles!

Other OstProdukte that can still be found in today's German supermarkets are Rotkäppchen, Vita cola and Berliner Pilsner. Rotkäppchen sekt (sparkling wine) is still very much the favoured Berliner bubbles of choice. A few days ago, in my local Späti, (corner shop), a lady was forced to buy a bottle of Mumm as the Rotkäppchen was sold out and this clearly pained her no end. Rotkäppchen actually now owns Mumm, but she wasn't to know.

If your interest has been piqued, go to Ostpaket in Mitte here in Berlin, which is an Ostalgie paradise. 

The authentic way to enjoy this juicy, fruity little Spreewälder pickle is with a hunk of good German bread and a lick of schmalz (dripping). If, like me, dripping gives you the fear, then you can find veggie options as shown in the photo. 

Enjoy with a nice Berliner Pilsner or a glass of Rotkäppchen and raise your glass to the German Reunification.

Prost!