yesterday i visited a farmers’ market at Winterfeldtplatz in Berlin. i love farmers’ markets and flea markets so much. you can really experience all types of foods with all your senses. the market at Winterfeldtplatz is quite well known i think, so i visited it on a wednesday to avoid the saturday crowds. it was quite small, but it wasn’t crowded at all so it was really comfortable to walk around in. there were a lot of vegetable and fruit stands, and some random craft booths, but my favorites were a small espresso stand and a bakery stand with fresh breads and rolls. the espresso stand was run by italians who greeted you with “Buon giorno”. it reminded me of being in italy and i would love to go back soon. they had different types of espresso drinks you could buy that were all very cheap, and were also selling slices of tiramisu. it looked so delicious. but the serving was so huge and i knew i could never eat it all by myself and felt bad wasting any of it which means i would have somehow eaten it all and then felt sick for the next few hours… eventually i decided on an espressino, which is basically espresso with foamy milk. i’ve grown to like espresso a lot over the last few years. it’s a lot more bitter than coffee, but i’ve also stopped drinking sugar in my normal coffee so for me the flavor of it is quite nice now.
i didn’t intend on buying anything from the bakery stand that i visited, but the man working there was very nice and friendly (=good salesman). he said something in german and i did my usual polite smile and nod because i didn’t hear/understand what he said. usually this trick works and people smile back. but there are moments, like this one, when what they said was actually a question and not a comment and you feel them waiting for a response and looking confused on why you answered with a smile and kept walking. well he then switched to english and was quite nice. he let me try this special type of dark german bread that had plums, walnuts, and chili in it. at first this combination sounds off somehow, but the flavors are kind of mild and together it makes for a really tasty bread. the shape of it is kind of weird, and it’s actually really heavy (as in physical weight not how it feels in your stomach) so it’s not really a sandwich bread, but more of a snack bread that you could also throw at someone in self-defense if needed bread. german breads are typically darker and denser like this one. the guy recommended to eat it with a soft french cheese like brie which i did try yesterday evening. it’s good, but i tried it again today with butter and tomato slices and prefer this way better.
yesterday i visited the biggest department store in europe- KaDeWe. i never really buy clothes from department stores because they are too expensive for me, and somehow seem a little boring, but i would go everyday to the gourmet food floor of this department store if i could. it’s an entire floor devoted to gourmet (and less gourmet if you count the american products haha) food from all over the world. there are food sections where you can buy almost any kind of oil or spice you could think of, typical packaged products from various cuisines, millions of teas and coffees, and even food counters where you can buy stuff for home or eat right there. and it’s not like a normal mall food court at all. it’s very fancy and sophisticated looking. a lot of high-class business men and women and wealthier looking couples always seem to be enjoying lunch breaks there when i visit. i would like someday to be able to afford lunch there everyday. there is so much you can choose from. seriously, i could get lost. i was so happy and excited and overwhelmed i wanted to run around like a little kid. it puts your senses in overload for real. i like the bakery counters, and there is a french one that has so many beautiful pastries and desserts. they have macarons! AND, pain au chocolat… which is my most favorite pastry of all time. there are chocolate croissants in many places i’ve visited and a lot here in germany, but the french pain au chocolat is perfect and it beats all the rest. the ones i saw at the counter were as authentic as i could get without actually going to france i think. so i bought one of course. i also bought some italian espresso beans which was more of an impulse buy, but i couldn’t help but buy some. i somehow saved my french pastry until this morning and enjoyed it with a cup of my italian espresso which has truly started my day off perfectly. another counter i noticed yesterday was the tea counter. they had these huge chinese porcelain-looking vases with more types of tea leaves than you could ever imagine. each vase had a little bowl in front of it so you could smell it. i only sniffed a few because i was too excited to stay at one counter for too long, but they were such beautiful scents. i don’t know much about tea, but i can imagine any one i picked would be amazing. the american section is entertaining to me. everything is very overpriced, and the selections are things that i do miss very much from home, but they somehow make american cuisine look tacky. you can buy poptarts at 8 euros ($10) a box, piecrusts, marshamallows, swiss miss hot cocoa mix, bbq sauce, pepperidge farm cookies, peanut butter, fluff, and expensive single cans of soda. don’t get me wrong though, i can’t wait to eat all of these once i’m home, but for a much cheaper price. maybe these foods all look too processed and fatty to foreigners, but i’m sure there are other expat americans in berlin like me who are longingly eyeing the brown sugar frosted poptarts and duncan hines funfetti cake mixes.
Filed under bought, stories
two years ago, i bought this by accident at aldi here in germany. it was soon after i had moved here, and i was still in the homesick/culture shock adjustment mode of the transition. in the beginning i was a little nervous venturing out on my own for fear of getting lost. dessau isn’t very big, but it was overwhelming for me at first. grocery shopping was the first thing i became more adventurous about, like trying different stores and locations, and especially different food. it’s an interesting challenge learning how to go grocery shopping in a foreign country. i remember one day i was in the grocery store aisle for about an hour trying to figure out which was baking powder and which was baking soda. all i wanted to do was make cookies!! that day i had a lucky guess and celebrated later by eating cookies of course. well at aldi this one day, i wanted chocolate. and i figured you can’t really mess up with chocolate right? well, when i bought these and tried one later, it confused my tongue quite a bit. i was expecting a chocolate cookie thing, with some sort of chocolate or typical filling. my taste buds told me otherwise. have you ever drank a sip of water when you expected it to be something else, like soda? yeah, that feeling. after asking my good friend, google translate, it turns out it was chocolate covered gingerbread. lebkuchen = gingerbread. not something i would have bought on purpose, but it ended up being one of my favorite treats here. it’s only sold at “christmas time” (september to january-ish) and it’s in a category of other favorite european holiday things of mine (glühwein, stollen, christmas markets…). i’m bringing up this story because today i was aldi and was very excited to see these waiting for me. i was originally looking for glühwein, but i guess it’s still slightly too early in the season for that. i have absolutely no idea how to make these cookies, but i’m okay with that. this post isn’t about a recipe on making them, i just wanted to bring them up. they may be from aldi, but they are so perfect in their own little way. and eating them today tasted like eating christmas.