I was so happy when I got the call from VisitBerlin about being the food guide for Helle... I met Helle when I was blogging in Norway and we were at many events together. VisitBerlin invited her to get enjoy Berlin, and that includes the mixed culinary scene we have in this great city.
I made my plan. Let's show her the diversity, the new places and some of the new trends Berlin has to offer. I didn't want to repeat what the other Norwegian bloggers have seen lately and at the same time, show her some of my latest finds. So here I1ll show you the places I took her and why I took her there.
1. %Arabica // Kreuzberg // New
The tour started at 5 pm outside of %Arabica. The first stop was this newly open coffee spot in Berlin. You can find this hidden gem actually hiding in a backyard in Kreuzberg. The first thing you notice is the minimalist interior, a mix of Japanese simplicity and that follows as well the iconic Braun designer, Dieter Ram. Japan meets Germany.
In the middle of the store, it is a big open kitchen surrounded by glass, like an aquarium. And that kitchen is run by Tyler. Tylers has worked in some awesome places I had the honor to visit, like Noma, Momofuku Milk Bar and Torissi (that is closed now but it is a spot everyone still talks about).
In addition to that resume, he makes all handmade fresh pasta and uses all local ingredients who he visits regularly for sourcing. His mindset is sustainable and all those dishes he prepares are carefully sourced and prepared simply to bring the power of ingredients out on to our pallets.
"% Arabica is about my love for coffee, design, and seeing the world," Says the Founder & Owner Kenneth Shoji.
While the coffee trend in the past years has been following the light coffee roast of the Norwegians, %arabica goes back to basics with a stronger and darker roast. They are known for their Latte and the Arabica Latte standard. They do hand brewing but if you really want to taste their coffee at its max, try their latte with an option of less milk.
While Helle got the recommended darker roast latte with less milk, I had the Spanish Iced Coffee, and I am now addicted. As a fan of iced Vietnamese coffee (that uses sweetened condensed milk) this Japanese/Spanish version is way richer and delicious (sorry Quaphe)
They offer cold press juices like the one in the picture. A delicious combination or watermelon, pineapple, pears, lemons and jalapeño... YES! Jalapeño!
On Sundays there is brunch and every day there is delicious food and pastry on their menu. I totally recommend trying this place as I would even drive all the way to Kreuzberg for a glass of that iced coffee.
%Arabica Berlin Kreuzberg: Reichenberger Strasse 36, 10999 Berlin, Germany
2. Shishi // Kreuzberg // New
Second stop. I wonder how many people have ever tried Israeli food. I never had it until a guy in Berlin took me to Yafo in Mitte. And I was stunned... I don't date that guy anymore but I continue going to Yafo for that sweet sweet roasted cauliflower with tahini. But you will be asking yourself why I talk about Yafo?
Shishi is the sister restaurant from Yafo and it has newly open .. actually less than a month ago. Hidden behind a parking lot and inside of yet another Kreuzberg backyard, you will find the beautiful setting of Saint Laurent blue tables adorned with lights and with the most friendly service. Shishi shows us a more refined dining experience of Tel-Aviv in Berlin
We ordered 2 dishes and a dessert and asked the super mega friendly Dimi to choose a wine for us. His choice was Coenobium. A religious experience literally! This wine produced from the Trappiste nuns in Vitorchiano from white grapes. It is refreshing, savory and mineral with aromatic notes of hay, wild herbs, and ripe white fruits. All their wines are natural, of course.
This was a perfect pairing for the grilled kohlrabi with fresh cheese, sesame seeds thyme and chili. I don't think I had grilled kohlrabi before but it was delicious... it tasted a bit like Jerusalem artichoke, one of my favorites.
Shishi only purchases products from local farmers. The beef in this sirloin tartare we ordered was a Grass-fed and even the farmer has named every one of the cows he has. No wonder why this dish covered in cured egg yolks was so good! Did I mention the cows get massages????
To end our stop in Berlin's Tel Aviv, we ordered the raw milk Malabi homemade roses syrup and Iranian pistachio. When you serve raw milk it is important to have great quality milk... as they do in Shishi. Their rose syrup is made weekly by their chef, he gets many bags of fresh local petals to make it... Can you imagine how amazing the kitchen must smell that day?
You guys have to try Shishi! For real! I need to come back for sure and try some other things... maybe this call for a Yafo/Shishi Blog post? what do you think?
Shishi Restaurant: Ritterstraße 12-14, 10969 Berlin
3. Maison Han // Neukölln
Now I need to explain why I took Helle to a Vietnamese Restaurant. Like Japan and Israel influence Berlin's food scene, Vietnam does it too, and a lot! Do you ever wonder why there are so many Vietnamese restaurants in Berlin? and mostly in East Berlin?
Back on the GDR times, Communist countries all over the world would be seen as ‘brother states’, which meant they would try to help and support each other as much as they could. And there were certain groups that were welcome to work in socialist Germany, like Vietnamese. And of course, Vietnam started influencing Berlin's Culinary Experience at that point.
I was traveling around Vietnam with Pepa and got a taste of their food (or in other words, I ate Vietnam in 5 weeks) And even though you might think that Pho, Banh mi, and Banh Cuon are lunch or dinner options, these were my breakfast every day. Yes! the Vietnamese food you all eat for dinner is brekkie material! And that is what Maison Han does, it serves breakfast all...day...long!
We started this "late breakfast" with Bahn Cuon. One with minced meat, morel, coriander and Tia to, and the other one was the vegan option with tofu and a spicier vegan fish sauce. I have loved these little gluten-free Vietnamese steamed rice rolls since the first time I ate them.
Besides serving breakfast, they have their own roastery in-house: Han Coffee Roasters. Because why serve Vietnamese breakfast if you aren't going to wash it down with some tasty Ca phe? They stand for the finest coffee culture in Vietnam's Highlands and promotes direct and fair trade.
We weren't gonna order something else as we had still 2 places to visit, but that Bahn Bao with avocado and fried egg was way too tempting to not order. And if that wasn't enough reason to add this place to this tour, They have the Berlin Bear in their logo ;)
Maison Han: Panniertstr. 40, 12047 Berlin
4. Cookies Cream // Mitte // One Star
How would I miss a vegetarian place and Michelin restaurant on this tour? And I am super happy I could kill 2 birds with one stone. Cookies Cream is a vegetarian Restaurant that has 1 Michelin star. They got it a few days after their 10 year anniversary. And they are just an institution of Berlin culinary scene.
If you were in Berlin during the 90s you will recognize the name "Cookies". And why? If you ever heard of Studio 54 in the US, Cookies was the 54 of Berlin and was in the 90s (and for 20 years) the most exciting nightlife in Berlin.
The owner of the club Cookies, Heinz Gindullis a.k.a. "Cookie", is a vegetarian, so when he decided to open a restaurant, we all knew he was going to be the pioneer of vegetarian fine dining. And this is how Cookies Cream was born.
Even though I knew that it would be the fastest Michelin dinner I have ever had, it was a MUST to take Helle to this restaurant as it is quite rare to find a vegetarian restaurant with a Michelin star. We had one hour and WAY too many favorite dishes. To be exact, we tried 6 dishes and 3 wines.
We ordered the starters. First the tomato Tea with verbena, fennel blossoms, capers, and croutons, paired with a 2016 Groll n Roll from Le Vignes Babaas. This was the perfect start, a delicious gazpacho with a twist and the pairing was just divine.
Then the vegetarian caviar with Avocado came waltzing to the table. I had this dish before and I still cannot believe it isn't caviar. The buttery avocado blends together... and that hazelnut mayo... just yummy. The pairing for this dish was a 2016 vegan chardonnay from Saint Veran Terroir, Burgundy... We had the quail egg in brioche with port wine and shallots, potato mousse and truffle jus.
The main thing about cookies is... I don't miss the meat! In most restaurants, I feel like there is something missing or it is incomplete. In Cookies, I was surprised every time i had a bite or ordered something. Like the Baked Aubergine with corn cream, green beans, peanuts, and papadam (first picture) That aubergine tasted like it was from another world. The depth of taste of it had nothing to envy a great sweet slow braised pork... I would take that aubergine in a split second against pork... and u know I am a meat lover.
The parmesan dumplings with Perigord truffle stock were the group's favorite. the pine nuts were amazing combined with that creamy truffle cream. Now... the recipe I would love to try at home would be the Celery with stained egg yolk filled with macadamia nut butter. This is the heaven for any vegan celiac (#veliac) It was a soft lasagna filled with creamy nuts... and instead of parmesan on top, egg yolk.
All together was a great experience, but it was just an hour dinner. We probably got a record for eating that much in so little time at Cookies. But I promise you I'll to be back later and eat the whole dinner and show it to you in more detail. what do you think?
Cookies Cream: Behrenstr. 55, 10117 Berlin
Wagner Cocktail Bistro // KreuzKöln
So we returned to Kreuzberg, or can I call the Paul-Lincke-Ufer Kreuzkölln? I wanted the last stop to be the new trend: Gastropubs or Gastrobars. These are pubs/bars that specializes in serving high-quality food. I had two of them on my bucket list. So after a round of messaging with my foodie friends, everyone pointed me to one of them: Wagner Cocktail Bistro.
It is located in the same street as big boys like Cocolo Ramen and La Lucha. And welcomes you with a very beautiful and vintage sign. It used to be the sign of an old toy store back in the old times. Hanging in a beautiful brick corner building.
When you go to their website you can read their philosophy: "Playful yet sophisticated adaptation of comfort food with precisely crafted cocktails. Innovative and entertaining version of a modern bistro concept delivered in a clever and casual setting" But this definition doesn't even begin to explain how good their food is.
If you have been at some of the great Scandinavian restaurants (or you follow some Scandi-foodies) you would soon feel like you teletransported to one of them. With some hints of Maaemo, Relæ, Ylajali, Amass and similar, Wagner surprises you with a delicious yet delicate menu.
Sébastien helped us with the ordering. First the Cocktails. The Negroni 2.5 with London Dry Gin, Byrrh Quinoa and Amaro, The Bronx Cocktail with Plymouth Gin, Red Vermouth, dry Vermouth and orange and tall beautiful Sakura made of Sake, Cherry water, dry vermouth and Plum Blossom made of Umeshu Rosé Plum Sake, Amaro, and Muscat d'Alexandrie. I loved them all, but my favorite was the Negroni. But then again, I am a Negroni Fan.
While we were having a chat with Sébastien, the dishes started to arrive at the table. First, a beautiful plate with tomatoes, peaches, and yogurt. The Chef came to our table and explained the dish while serving the aromatic and light rose hip sauce over it. And then, the Ceviche. I am always skeptic about eating ceviche as I am Peruvian and I am very picky, but this scallops ceviche with baby corn, onions and elderflowers were amazing. The chef told us that they use vinegar instead of lime and hey! the scallops were so buttery I could just die.
The next two dishes to arrive were the Cod cheeks schnitzel and Pumpkin flowers filled with anchovies, ricotta, and bottarga, an Italian delicacy of salted, cured fish roe. Again the chef came to our table to explain. We were having a fine dining experience in a cocktail bar. Then we hear he has actually worked in Amass and Relæ in Copenhagen and then we suddenly understood where the inspiration came from.
The Pumpkin flowers were extraordinary. One of my favorite drinking food next to the braised duck hearts at (my all-time favorite and now closed) Pjoltergeist and Truffle popcorn & reindeer tongue at Brasserie Paleo.
Since that day I have been recommending this place to every person I meet... Not paid to advertise here. But I have to say that I was very surprised by the ambiance and quality of food and drinks. Go get yourself to Kreuzkölln and grab a cocktail and indulge yourself with amazing food.
Did I mention we had the same awesome wine from Cookies Cream at Wagner? I guess they already knew our taste.
Wagner Cocktail Bistro: UMSPANNWERK Paul-Lincke-Ufer 22, 10999 Berlin
When you go to a restaurant or a hotel, mostly all the wine is chosen by their sommelier. A Sommelier is the one developing the wine menu and working with the kitchen to make the best pairings with the food.
But what happens when you have 100 sommeliers instead of 1?
This is exactly what happens at Mercure at their annual Weinlese. A group of 100 people test wines and decide which ones are the best to be added to their wine list. A very colorful group of people testing the final round in search of the best for this year's wine list.
When I arrived, I was sent to the parking lot. Super weird but cool... a looong red carpet with a security guy was the only thing I could see. There were music and laughter behind the entrance. Once I got in, all the "sommeliers" were sipping some bubbles, listening to live music by a trio of guitar, saxophone and "cajón".
When the music stopped we were greeted and explained how the evening was planned: Bubbles and finger food, Wine Tasting and last but not least, Dinner. We all got a different letter in our name tags and were instructed to follow the group upstairs. My letter was a "D".
We got into a very bright conference room filled with tables. Each table had a different name. Mine was "Dornfelder" hence the letter "D" on my tag. Every table was trying different wines. About 150 different wines were gonna be tasted! Three bottles of each kind, 5 kinds per table.
After reading the list on my table I was super happy with it: A Weissburgunder, followed by a Grauburgunder... My regular choices when buying German wine.
It was fun to be seated at the table with no bloggers this time. Got to talk to a very mixed table: a hotel owner, a teacher, a sports store owner and even a winemaker. Though I kept going to talk to the girls at the next table... Afterall I kinda missed them a little bit ;)
After all the wines were tasted, we gave our notes for the final counting. And we all left to the restaurant area that was beautifully decorated and filled with appetizers for us.
The tables were filled with small and delicious appetizers like Avocado Salsa, Sesame Chili Popcorn Salad, Hummus, Pan-fried Cauliflower, and oven baked cherry tomatoes. These were paired with a 2017 Weisser Burgunder from Bermersheim Rheinhessen.
The first course was Le Poisson! Cod with Skin Fried served with a red prawn, green sauce, and rice in a Nori leaf. It looked like a maki but it wasn't a maki. Very interesting taste.
The pairing was a 2017 Aufwind Grüner Veltliner & Riesling white wine Cuvée from Bad Dürkheim in the Pfalz.
Le Beof arrived... Poached Beef Filet M VII Sud with a zucchini flower, Jerusalem artichoke puree, and a potato layer cake. It came with an excellent pairing: 2015 M VII Red wine Weingut Markus Klumpp from Bruchsal.
And after the beef and some more glasses of wine, we changed location for the desserts and cheese. A sweet buffet with ham, cheese and grapes were we read the final winners of the event. It was very much fun to compare my notes to the winners. Was I on spot? I was in some of them, but then again it was all about different kinds of taste... Tho I was happy to have at least 3 winners on my notes :)
I finished my night with a great craft beer for a change and some delicious sourdough bread with liver pate. I had loads of fun, ate great food in the company of great wine. I got to learn more about wine and met loads of cool people in the process. We even went out clubbing until late, talking about how awesome this evening was.
Whether red or white, sweet or dry: At Mercure, you can enjoy a fine selection of the best quality wines. All wines are sourced directly from local winemakers with a bold concept that fits perfectly into today's world.
And what is the best part? the guests get to choose: Le Club AccorHotels Participants can participate in the wine tasting at the annual final tasting. And for sure this event has something for every taste. I am pretty sure everyone will find their favourite wine here.
There are loads of places in Berlin that serve brunch, but my all-time favorite place to go with friends is Allan's Breakfast Club aka ABC. This tiny french place owned by the super french and super cool Allan is not only cute, but serve the meanest eggs benedict in town. It is situated in the heart of Kollwitzkiez in Prenzlauer Berg and just some minutes from my flat, very convenient.
I took Kay and my frenchie girl Marie for some drinks and brunch last Friday. While we waited for Marie to arrive, we had some coffee and lemonade while we had a chat with Allan, man! it was hard to decide what to eat, but this time we didn't go for those mean Bennies, but tried some other stuff.
We chose to try different dishes instead of ordering just one per person. Starting with a delicious potato waffle covered with cured salmon rose, capers and avocado, sprinkled with a buttermilk & creme fraiche dressing and red pepper.
Did I mention that I had a hangover? And the best cure for this is: Bloody Marys! The best frigging BMs in town, even better that the ones my grandma used to make *wink wink*
If you are into this ridiculously tasty red drink, you definitely need to make a pitstop at ABC after a crazy party night. Or if u are like me, just after 2 glasses of wine, haha.
Talking a bit about Allan, he comes from France but he used to live many many years in Australia, hence the awesome eggs Benni and the poached eggs in some of his dishes, like in this creamy Czech Mountai soup with a drowning poached egg on top. Did I mention bacon???? BACON!
Marie ordered a hot chocolate with Belgium Callebaut chocolate buttons. OHMYGWAAADDDDFFF! Allan adds the hot steamed milk over them so that they melt... ahhhhh heaven! If I wasn't too much afraid sugar, I would stop by everyday to have this chocolate and milk heaven.
You wold think that ABC wouldn't have a choice for vegans with all these eggs and bacon, but their boost up smoothie bowl is vegan, glutenfree and AMAZING, it is a bowl of frozen smoothie, covered with fresh fruits, coconut flakes and cacao. A huge bowl of energy and awesomeness.
What would it be a menu of a french restaurant without a Croque Monsieur? Well, Allan offers a Tweaked Croque Monsieur. He uses brioche instead of bread, filled with loads caramelized onions, melted Gruyere cheese, Ardeche ham and mushrooom bechamel, served with chips and salad.
But don't let this picture fool you, I moved the chips to show you the brioche and the whole thing was bigger than my head ;)
Here is Allan opening a Bodvár n5 rose from provence for me. If I didn't have to go to work after brunch I would have probably stayed there for hours sipping some more glasses of it. And for the ones not drinking wine, we got some more homemade lemonade and a beautiful and elegant coffee martini.
Some will ask why i didn't show you the many-times-mentioned Eggs Benedict in this blogpost. It is so you get up and run there and try them! And of course the rest of the menu and the flat whites and the oysters in summer and enjoy their terrace. and and and... Just go there!
As their opening hours were confusing in the past year for many people... here I´ll explain them to you:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday Friday and Friday 10am-3pm
Sat and Sunday 10am-4pm
But from May:
Thursday and Friday: 3pm-6pm open for coffee, cake and Rosé
Wednesday- Thursdays and Fridays 6pm- Midnight for Wine
When Bordeaux Wines asked me to make a cozy winter Xmas dinner, I was super excited. But how to make a dinner extraordinary? I decided to make it vegan! But I am not vegan... you all know this. Many of my close friends are and I have been testing different methods. Before I start, all pictures were made by my dear Friend and Amazing Blogger & Photographer Katja Hentschel.
But first things first: decoration. I wanted this Christmas to look like all those pinterest pictures I liked through the years.
I am not into Christmas trees. TOO much mess, all those pine needles everywhere. So I bought 2 big pieces of tree. Already dried of course. I could have gone to the forest and get them for free. But let's accept it: I have no fricking time lately. I put Max ladder on my table and got to drill my over 4-meter high ceiling. With 2 hooks and iron rope, I hanged these 2 babies. I hanged 4 Christmas ornaments and 100 fairy lights. I added some sheepskins on the chairs and banks. (Not so vegan, but Scandinavian Cozy)
I made the menus, covered the bread with jute and rope, Used jars instead of water glasses. In the middle of the table we had mistletoe pine needles and other forest greens. Candles were there as well. And the water bottles were from old Bordeaux wines. And we started the evening with Lateyron Crémant de Bordeaux as aperitif.
The guests started tasting this bubbly, while learning about the Bordeaux Region. In the table was beaten margarine with truffles and sea salt. Starting with a delicious umami taste together with the bread.
You can see here Christine from Lilies Diary enjoying one Rose Vegan Wine, While IHeartBerlin's Frank enjoyed the Chai de Bordes Bordeaux. YESS, Bordeaux has not only amazing red wines, but they come in every color.
It was time for the first course. I love deconstructing traditional dishes and this wasn't an exception. I transformed the traditional pumpkin soup into a Pumpkin, Apple & Ginger Soup served with a gingerbread Panna Cotta. Say Whaaaaat? Normally the cream is incorporated in the soup. But I made the Pannacotta using the "cream" I think it was a cute detail. All the guests got the mini panna cotta and I passed by with a jar full of pumpkin soup serving it around the cream. They made sooo many insta stories of it, so I guess people enjoyed it. *winkwink* I added gingerbread spices as after all it was a Xmas dinner.
It was time for the next course, so I took the mini pies from the oven. The second course was a Chard and Walnuss Cheesy Pie. I love chard! and the red colored chard even more. the greens and reds are so Christmasy. This was my favorite dish, so creamy and tasty. The pairing for this dish was the Rose Chateau Penin Rosé from Bordeaux of course.
The brussel sprouts with agave were ready and the loaf as well. It took me 5 times experimenting on how to make the roll taste like meat. Oh umami, dear umami flavor. It was perfect. a "Turkey and Beef" roll with Christmas Stuffing. I love stuffing. I....LOVE....IT Next to it was a Sweet Potato Mash and the sprouts. The wine chosen for this dish was: Chateau Magondeau Beau Site - Fronsac Red Wine. Perfect Match.
I am pretty sure we were all stuffed at that point. I gave it an hour rest before I started the dessert. We enjoyed the wine, the pup, and great conversation.
I ran to the kitchen... or rolled. The next course was a Cinnamon & Cloves Norwegian Waffle with Baked Apple with Almonds and Coconut Vegan Ice Cream with the dry white Château d'Arricaud 'Réserve du Comte'.
What an amazing evening. My food was on spot (as I heard) and for having some Omnivores sitting at the table, everyone was happy. The wines were very well paired with the menu. Not by me but the great guys from Bordeaux Wines.
The food was so good, that I am actually thinking on posting my recipes before Christmas, in case you are vegan yourself or you invited some vegans to your table this Christmas. Let me know which recipe you would like to, and I will gladly make a blog post asap. Merry Vegan Christmas and a Happy Bordeaux Night. Over and out.
The Blogpost of this evening by Bordeaux Wines (in german) can be found HERE
This Blogpost was not Sponsored
I have been driving past BRICOLE for the weeks. Mostly I am in a hurry to pick up Pepa at preschool. (The restaurant is very close to it) So I added it to my "Food Bucket List".
Lucky me, Berlin Food Week organized a "Stadtmenü or City Menu" on the topic "Mushroom Parade" with over 60 restaurants, including BRICOLE, offering the opportunity to get to know the city in a new culinary way. Whether regional noble mushrooms, exotics from Asia or noble truffles. Whether three or four courses, with or without wine accompaniment, whether gourmet restaurant, down-to-earth classic, vegetarian restaurant or innovative newcomer, each of these restaurants interpret the motto for itself and implements it in the sense of its individual kitchen line.
OFF WITH YOUR HEAD, MAIN COURSE! Their menu does not impose a main dish but offers a selection of dishes that you can combine and order as your mood takes you.
You have a menu that contains about 9 to 10 dishes and you can decide if you want 3, or 5 or all. Your decision. The dishes aren't small though, be prepared to eat!
The first Mushroom was the truffle. While I got served some bubbles, appeared bread and a fluffy beaten butter sprinkled with truffle and sea salt.
The menu looked exciting and the wine pairings as well. The First dish was a Porcini ravioli with smoked celery broth and pickled radish and black walnut. A mouth-watering combination. I am a fan of ravioli, but then again, who isn't?
The ravioli was paired with a delicious Weißburgunder from Weingut Krebs 2016, Fine on the nose and complex with hints of meadow flowers, ripe apples, and pears. This is accompanied by a fresh hint pineapple. Full with a fresh minerality, two of my favorite qualities for a light wine.
The next dish was a poached halibut, savoy cabbage, turnip and morel foam. The fish was very well made. the softness of it combined with the airy morel was really good.
The wine they selected to accompany this plate was a Grauburgunder "Juwel" from Juliane Eller 2016. A strong Pinot Gris with a dense aroma of fruits like melon and pear.
A Spätburgunder was being served. From Genheimer - Kiltz Vintage 2014. A full and strong dry wine with a milder taste of wood, peach, melon, and gooseberry.
While enjoying this beauty, the duck breast with pumpkin cream, oyster mushrooms, and potato crunch did its grand entry. The duck was tender and juicy, and I really loved the taste of the mushrooms with the pumpkin cream. That bird was exactly how I like it. I am still thinking of it.
Paring the dessert, was a Huxelrebe Auslese from Albiger Hundskopf 2015. The Huxelrebe grape is one of the so-called new breeds. Their crossing is between the two white grape varieties Gutedel and Coutellier Musqué. It has a juicy, spicy taste with aromas of caramel, honey, mango, orange, and peach.
Very well chosen wine for the Kefir, aerated chocolate, candied chestnuts, and fermented tea gel.
I can't wait to see what next year's Berlin Food Week will bring, or which restaurants will be part of the Stadtmenü. But for sure I will be there. As for BRICOLE, I will go again and try some more of their dishes as the ones I had so far, At the Côtes du Rhône Gourmet Crawl and BFW were delectable.
Here I leave you with a small video of that evening. It is always nice to see the ambiance of a restaurant in moving pictures than in regular ones.
We all know what a pub crawl is, and last week, I was invited to the first Côtes du Rhône "Blogger Gourmet Crawl" we took a tour in several venues to eat and have some drinks at each of them.
As we learned with Paul Truszkowski, You just have to follow the river! Along the length of its winding waters, Côte du Rhône vineyards thrive across 171 rich terroirs and vineyards, A valley bathed in the generous sun with 21 grape varieties that are officially included in the appellation.
We started at the wine shop Wine ++ in Kreuzberg, where we savored a our first wine: La Ferme Du Mont 2016 Côtes du Rhône "La Truffière" This exquisite white wine combines all the charm of the southern Rhône with the elegance of the northern Rhône.
With scents of lime blossom, mint, tarragon and lemon zest, and taste of apricot and quince. The well-integrated acidity gives the wine freshness and balance.
We started munching these delicious bites. Nutty, veggie or bacon. the 3 different appetizers were excellent and between this and the wine, we were looking forward to see where this evening of "progressing dining" would take us.
We walked our way to the Falckensteinstraße, to the wine shop NOER. They make your wine choice easier, as they divide their assortment into five NOER wine types: Funatiker, Wachmacher, Verführer, Abenteurer & Entschleuniger. And we got the explanation of it while we had a Château Rochecolombe Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2015 - A blend of Grenache and Syrah. This gourmand wine is smooth and unoaked - tremendous quality and taste for the price! It has a blackberry aroma, and notes of fragrant herbs. Very Fresh mouthfeel, enhanced by smooth tannins and a breezy finish.
Wines are described by adjectives like "easy", "heavy", "tangy", "crispy", "fruity", "woody", "mild" or "oily". There are hundreds of nuances that can be expressed in this way.
NOER collected these words, condensed them and arranged them according to their effect on the different situations of pleasure.
Funatiker: slim to strong wines, fruity, uncomplicated.
Wachmacher: delicate, crisp, racy, invigorating
Verführer: delicate, gentle, subtle, fragrant
Abenteuerer: wild, mineral, expressive
Entschleuniger: strong to heavy wines, soothing, soft, fine spicy
Cheese and cured meats arrived! woohoooo love it! One cheese with cristals, a delicious terrine, salami, venison ham and 2 mouth watering soft cheese with olives.
To match the wild and strong flavours of the cured meats and cheese, we were presented to a Halos de Jupiter 2014. This would be in the category "Abenteuer", with 88% Grenache and 12% Mourvèdre that was aged in neutral demi-muids. Its shockingly deep purple color has notes of exotics spices, leather, and darker fruits. Full-bodied, rich and nicely concentrated, with fine tannin and notable, acidity.
Next stop was BRICOLE (blogpost coming soon with the delicious menu I had last month) and we started with a Vacqueyras AOC 2014. A wine produced on a very clayey terroir with stones from the Ouvèze river, the Grenache is dominant and develops a fleshy wine. It's typical aromas of chocolate, cherry and fig match beautifully with the Syrah.
The food arrived and it was astonishing. An ox tail ragout with german "knödel" with fava beans and créme fraîche sprinkled with Valrhona chocolate. Oh my! I loved it. The whole ensemble was perfect. Maria from IN SEARCH OF went with the vegetarian dish with goat cheese balls.
The last wine of the evening arrived dancing with the dessert. A Cötes du Rhone AOC E. Guigal 2012. This wine is deep and dark red. Full and round with smooth tannins. A full-bodied, rich and intensly aromatic wine with the taste of fresh fruits, red berries and spices. I found it incredibly elegant and pleasing.
The dessert was a out of the ordinary Créme Brûlée made with black sesame, plums, mascarpone and vanilla crumble. An awesome dish for the end of such a nice evening jumping around districts, drinking great wines and eating delicious food.
During Food Zürich, I had an evening free of events. And my first choice was Ecco. I was not sure I could get a reservation with such short notice, but I was really lucky and they had a table waiting for me.
Almost like the song: "One Food Blogger went eating one day, over the hill and far away." I was using the awesome Zürich Card, so I decided to go by streetcar. Once I arrived at the stop (Thank Google Maps!) I started the walk. Ecco is at the Hotel Atlantis by Giardino, Really up the hill, with a beautiful view to the city. It was quite a walk, but I love walking, even better in such green small paths.
So it all starts! I ordered the 9 course dinner and I tried to not over eat much before dinner (haha impossible with all the tasty stuff at Food Zürich)
The first amuse bouche was a Cracker with marinated Sepia and Dill, sour cream and iced sepia pearls. It was a very nice appetizer, the different textures, soft, crunchy and ice complemented each other perfectly. The funny thing was, when I cleaned myself with the napkin it was black.
Right away, came the next two amuse-bouches... Yeah! and these ones do not count as the 9 courses.
A delicious cannelloni and a turnip ravioli filled with hazelnuts and sprinkled with black truffle. Both of them delicious. The turnip ravioli reminded me on one dish at the Essento Insects Dinner, where they served kohlrabi ravioli swimming in a cloud of nitrogen.
The sommelier's pairing was a Prosecco. Yeah I dont like to drink champagne before a beautiful dinner like this. It goes right away to my head and "tipsy" isnt really a good thing to remember all dishes. I got an Andreola Prosecco that shows fresh aromas of apple and citrus with a mineral undertone. It is made out of 100% Glera, grown at 250 meters above sea level in a mixed soil of clay and sandstone.
Next appetizer was a superb duck skin cracker with shaved duck and pickled cabbage over it. Yumsters!
Then the bread came and it was the cutest bread ensemble I have seen in a restaurant. Even cuter than the bread presentation at one-star Ylajali.
It was potato bread with sea salt, buttermilk butter and smoked butter with garden cress and a little scissor so you can cut them yourself. Super cute. And wow! that smoked butter! mouth-watering. I really enjoyed this serving.
The last non-menu entreé: Crab tartare marinated with curry and sprinkled with smashed crab shell, pickled carrots and iced purple curry pearls. And crunch of sepia and tapioca. Quite a unique dish. Crunchy and with a soft curry creamy taste. A dance of flavor, spicy yet not hot. The crust crunch is defo a new experience!
First course. Belly bluefin tuna (Otoro) flamed on both sides and thin sliced poached oysters on top. Pickled cucumber marinated, mini cucumbers with Yuzu cream on top and Linseed chips. All this floating in a cucumber and oyster leaves (herb that taste like oysters) soup.
What a taste. Oysters and tuna blend like milk and chocolate, smooth oysters with a really tender tuna. I am a super fan of yuzu, so I loved it! I cant stop thinking of those buttery oysters. I don't think I have ever had oysters in a dish. Normally I get them in their shell. I will try this at home.
A white wine to start. The Sommelier brought me a Grüner Veltliner Federspiel from 2014 from Wachau, Austria. The fragrance of this Grüner Veltliner its fruity and spicy, reminding of fresh yellow apples and apricots, with fresh herbs in the background. You can only find a few stores in Europe and only the 2014 and 2016 vintages are available. (yeah I checked)
My phone was going out of battery, when I noticed they have outlets next to the table and WIFI! Awesome!
While charging my phone and enjoying that Grüner, The "Cep" came by. I was told that the chef thinks that this plate look more photogenic without the sauce. I didnt think so, both ways look so beautiful, with or without sauce.
This was a "Ragout" made out of pumpernickel and rye with boiled mustard seeds, pan fried cep chips and iced pearls of mustard. Drizzled with shaved chips and cream made of herbs from Uetliberg. Served with a cep sauce. (see first picture of the blogpost)
The "Ragout" is just something different, very soft and bready, feels like a sunflower risotto from Relæ I tried to cook at home) with a very subtle but delicious flavor of mustard. The cep mushrooms that they use are local unless there is not enough of them around, then they will import them from France.
Norwegian Lobster, Aha! Norwegian! it was fried and glazed, served together with tomato, seaweed cream, coriander and seaweed crisps. Swimming in a red curry sauce and sprinkled with chives.
This was a huge langoustine like the ones at Maaemo. It was perfectly made. The curry mixed with coriander did get a great mix of cultures Thai and Vietnamese, in my honest opinion.
A tiny difference between scandinavian restaurants and Ecco, was that no cooks come to the table to explain the dish. Though the waitress did and took the time to explain me every dish while I took fast notes. Very patient indeed.
Next wine was really really good and as one of my favorite bordeaux "Calon Segur", it was from a woman winemaker from the french part of Switzerland. Maria-Therese Chappaz's 2015 grand hermitage president troillet has a light gold color with a taste of candied fruits and sweet spices. it has a smooth finish, with notes of flowers.
Seared cod served with a bean cream compote with mussels covered with raw marinated sugar snap and "Ajo Blanco" and Savory and roasted almonds.
This dish is citrusy and fresh even though it is warm. The beans are surprisingly good. I'm not a fan of beans but they tasted great with the citrusy tone that made them very pleasant. The cod is perfectly cooked and the sugar snaps were a special touch to it.
Then came my favorite wine of the evening. I had 2 glasses cause it was soooooooo good. It was a 2013 Bricco del Bosco Vigne Vecchie made out of grignolino grapes (have you heard of those grapes?) from Piedmont, Italy.
Ruby Red with a complex perfume with notes of cardamom, nutmeg, rhubarb, on a bottom of flowers. It is very limited, about 1800 bottles.
This dish was a combination of different parts of veal from Grison. Baked sweetbread, braised and sliced head , braised tongue, cooked and braised chin with deep fried cauliflower, roasted cream and pan fried violet cauliflowers. Lovage cream on the side and puffed calfskin. The sauce was made out of calf with roasted cauliflower and lovage from Eichhof.
I was totally digging the lovage. I don't think I have ever tasted that herb. The sauce is very very strong and more "german". The sweetbread was so buttery and crunchy, haven't got such a good sweetbread in quite a while. This is the strongest flavored dish of the evening and remind me a little bit to my Vau experience back in Germany
And now the main dish. I chose the young venison from Tyrol instead of the Wagyu. It was a shoulder sauce with pickled plums, chervil root and liver, Over it, the pan-fried saddle with a mash chervil root and chips
Very tender and on my favorite rare medium doneness. The sauce was strong and sweet at the same time.
I loved the chervil root in three-ways like the Jerusalem in three-ways I got at Brasserie Paleo. You get the soft mash, saucy sauce and crunchy that complement the overall of the veal.
What a perfect mix of sweet and salty on the sauce, and the venison broth in the sauce gives the oomph it love to have.
Again the same red wine. And who isnt in love with Zalto glasses? so light, so elegant. Short note on my glass love
In a golden envelope, came a thick black paper booklet that explained the cheese I was served. The little booklet was great to know more about the origin and specs of the cheese. They were served with with nut & fruit bread.
All cheese was from Jumi. Check their website here
The first dessert. Americanello grapes in 3-ways. Awesome! Fresh grapes, grape cream and grape iced pearls with a sorbet made out of black walnuts, goat cheese cream and walnut earth.
Wow, just wow! This dessert was the bomb, I was surprised by the saltiness and freshness of it. So many elements and textures without being overwhelming. I can't believe the next one can top this one
The next and last dish and dessert from the menu. A chocolate mousse ball filled with apple compote served with 72% chocolate crumble, marinated apple in thin slices and with a worm of sorrel sorbet.
it was very close to the last one, very flavoursome. That sorbet was craziness! so good! I am now even a bigger fan of sorrel. The chocolate mousse was as delight. A lovely dessert but in my honest opinion, it didn't top the grape dessert.
And I thought I was done and there it comes an special dessert for me! Yay!!! Ice cream with ginger foam and ginger cake sprinkled with poppy seeds and a baked shortbread. Under it, gel citrus filets.
It smelled like ginger strongly. But I didnt expect the flavor once I tried it. It was an outburst of flavors with the right sparkle of ginger spiciness.
I am sorry for the last picture. The ice cream was actually perfect but I got distracted talking to the Chef. You know how chatty I get sometimes... only sometimes. *wink* *wink* This first bite was a caramel brioche with pear and black vanilla verbena.
The second bite was Duck foie gras in a brioche and shaved fennel. I love liver and foie gras and duck. so this was a big plus on my Ecco experience.
The third bite was a "one bite" praline made out of white chocolate, buttermilk and a juicy center of lime.. ahhh love the liquid inside.. like a cooler version of a key lime pie.
And the last bite and last dish of the evening. Cookie with pistachio and cassis, buttermilk and lime ice cream... I love cookies. Who doesnt?
And who is this handsome lad? It is Stefan Heilemann, Executive Chef from Ecco since 2015. And yes girls! he is german, Stuttgart-born to be exact. He spent many years acquiring his skills at the 3-Michelin-star Schwarzwaldstube in the Traube Tonbach hotel in Germany’s Black Forest. A couple of minutes away from my parents Inn. The Ecco was awarded two Michelin stars not long after he became head chef in 2015.
When the bill arrived, also a little goodbye surprise in a jewelry box tadaaaah! When i opened it is was a golden parfait. What a best memento to eat later at the bloggers hotel.
Overall this was my one of my favorite experiences in Europe. The food and ambiance was very similar to the other Michelin starred scandinavian restaurants. I totally recommend you to get a table when you are visiting Zürich, or if you live there. After this HUGE amount of food, I walked to my streetcar again and joined my fellow Food bloggers for a night cap. Check Maria & Sophias article on our "Food bloggers Class Trip" to Food Zürich.
Don´t forget to follow my Instagram account @twofoodieseating. I am always adding on my stories everything I eat and a special preview of what it will be in the blog. Like these 2 pictures while dining at Ecco and during Food Zürich.
This article was made in collaboration with Visit Zürich who brought me all the way from Berlin to the beautiful Zürich.
Since a couple of months, it is legal and possible to buy insects for food in Zwitzerland. You can actually jump into a supermarket and buy some mealworm patties or locust falafel. Can you imagine?
Some years ago, when I went to the famous NOMA restaurant in Copenhagen, I had the pleasure to eat ants and crickets, So I am ok about eating bugs.. yeah BUGS!
I was invited by Visit Zürich to their food week called Food Zürich. And one of the events I signed up for was the "Essento Dinner - Insekten Genuss" by Pfefferbeere. An Insects Dinner, A full 5 course dinner just using insects. That sounds exciting, right?
The dinner was in a beautiful building, looked like we were in the theater backstage: Raw walls, props, paintings. A very used Atelier. Beautiful.
Waiting for us was a table serving Marius Blanco 2016 and 3 kinds of insects: Mealworms with salt, crickets and locust with curry powder. They were exquisite and super crunchy. like chips or popcorn.
It was an open kitchen, so we could see the guys from Pfefferbeeren work. The first course was pickled quail egg with mealworm "soil", watercress and balsamic pearls. It was a perfect combination of soft and crunchy. The soil was delicious, but it was weird to see the little parts of the worms while eating them. Still, mouth-watering.
Our Sommelier of the evening, Thierry, paired this dish with a swiss wine Chasselas Cru de Champrevéyres, Neuchâtel. Delicately fruity, flowery and silky.
While we were finishing our wine, the kitchen was already busy. They were making little nests that would hold the mealworm and locust soup and next to it, the black mealworm panisse over rape butter. This was absolutely my favorite dish of the evening. The little "brownies" were salty and crunchy outside and soft like melted cheese inside. I wish i had a bucket full of those while watching a movie... just WOW.
We had the same wine as pairing, the sommelier chose this wine because it is so versatile that fits this two courses. a really good match.
And now... There was loads of smoke coming from the plating table. I had to run quickly there to see the magic happening. It reminded me the time I had dinner at the chefs table in Maaemo. loads of Nitrogen making a thick mysterious mist.
This course was kohlrabi ravioli filled with peas cricket and a forest berries gel. I loved the idea of not using pasta to make this ravioli. I will definitely try to recreate this at home. Stay tuned!
The wine pairing for this course was Tremenda from Alicante. Beautiful wine, intensive, with a hint of berries... very elegant.
Some logs starting to arrive and the kitchen was filled with rosemary scent. The grilled locust pinchos were sticking of the logs. There were 3 kinds of beauties: BBQ, Tahini and rosemary. My fave was BBQ. On the side: rosemary potato boats, hazelnut-mayo-salsa and quark. They were served all together in the table, so I am showing you the potato boats still in the pan ;)
The wine of choice was a Petit Verdot from Alicante as well, a strong and intensive wine. My favorite of the night. you could taste a flavour of dark berries in this one.
The cooks started looking like mad scientists and it was time for dessert. Nitrogen clouds started filling the room and we all started making pictures, videos, instagram stories and just going Ohhh-Ahhh. This was ice cream in the making.
Meanwhile the Barolo di Villa a very sweet but delish Recioto della Valpolicella appeared in the table and we couldn't wait for the dessert. It was a brownie with flower pollen and mealworms with a cricket covered in caramel on top. A mealworm-nut ice cream next to it. When we turned around there was spider webs made out of cotton candy and sweet crunchy locusts where hanging from them.
A delicious perfect evening that wasn't missing meat, it tasted marvellous and even tho it was weird to see little legs and heads, it was adventurous and exciting. I cant wait until there is legal to buy insects in Germany.
Thanks again Visit Zurich for let me be part of this gorgeous event!
I was so happy when I got the invite to the last Food Clash Canteen at Berlin Food Week 2016 Hosted by Côtes du Rhônes. A 5 course dinner paired with their awesome wines.
The evening started with a welcome speech from the super charismatic Carine Patricio, our sommelier, while we enjoyed the aperitive Lirac.
Suddenly all the people on stage started plating the first course: "Salat Nizza" a signature dish from Brasserie Colette. It is a Tuna sashimi with green beans drizzled a delicate sardines mayonnaise. Made by Dominik Obermeier from Brasserie Colette by Tim Raue.
The pairing for this course was a Rhônes wine: Condrieu, a white wine with notes of violet and peaches.
Once we finished the entree, the cooks started waltzing on stage, preparing the next entree: "Saint Jacques, Red beets and fermented Elderberries" by Laurens Friedl.
This Kreuzberger, started his career in the 2-michellin-stars "Fischers Fritz" followed by the 3-michelin-star "Bareiss". Now he is in "Morsh" making beautiful dishes like this one... My favorite of the night, that was paired with strong dry red wine Grenache Noir "Rasteau".
VAU VAU VAU... Remember whenI visited VAU Earlier this year? Sadly the oldest Michelin Star restaurant closed its doors 2 months ago, But we all got to enjoy a course by VAU´s KoljaKleeberg: "Confit Cod in a Porcini Fond with lemon and Marjoram" paired with a Rhône´s "Saint-Joseph".
French Flair was brought by Felix Mielke, Head Chef at Sofitel´s Le Faubourg, With his "Lamb and Ratatouille with Peperoni, Black Garlic, Miso and Hazelnuts" that was perfectly paired with "Côte-Rôtie"
And while we were waiting for the dessert to be plated, we jumped in the photobooth and made some funny pictures, had some more wine and posted some funny snapstories and instastories. I was sitting in the best table of all! <3
Once we returned to our table, the awesome Anna Plagens was ready plating the dessert: "Bisous Plutonien", a Crème Brûlée with Cardamom, Orange and Arlette Croustillante.
Anna is one of the owners of my favorite pastry shop in Berlin: Du Bonheur. This tiny super cute place is just 1 minute walk from my office and it got me soooo hooked on their beautiful french delicacies.
it was paired with a "Gigondas" from Rhônes and coffee from Kaffekirsche.
Here you can check the video from the evening. Sadly it was a bit dark and hard to film... but you can get a peek of that amazing meal! Thanks Côtes du Rhônes, Berlin Food Week and ff.K for this great experience!
Sorry for my lack of posts lately, I have been sick for some weeks and couldn't bare to be on a computer for a long time.
I am at the moment crazy about oils. As you might remember, I posted a recipe for Basil Infused Oil some weeks ago. So I have been experimenting using it in some recipes.
It is getting cold in Berlin and I always feel like "Italian" when I am sick. I had some Black Tiger Prawns at home and some risotto rice, and this is what I made with it:
Risotto with Black Tiger Prawns (2 pers)
4 big Black Tiger Prawns
150 gr Risotto Rice
1000 ml Broth (chicken or fish)
2 small Yellow onions or 3 shallots in small dices
2 Garlic cloves in small dices
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Butter
50 gr Parmesan Cheese
50 ml Créme fraîche
1 tbsp Milk
1 tblsp Herb infused Oil
Salt and Pepper
In a pot, fry the Risotto, garlic and onions in olive oil until the risotto starts to look transparent. Start adding the broth little by little. Add some and let it cook while stirring. Repeat.
When it is done, take it away from the heat and add the butter and parmesan. Let it rest.
In a hot pan, fry the prawns about 30 seconds per side and add some salt and pepper. They will change color from black to orange. Take them off the heat.
On a bowl or little jar add the milk, créme fraîche with a bit of salt and the basil infused oil and mix well.
Serve the risotto with the prawns on top adding the basil & créme fraîche sauce around it and enjoy warm.
I used this beautiful dish and jar from Lov i Listed. They have beautiful handmade stuff made in Bornholm. I got the jar as a birthday gift from Torben and Susanne the people behind this amazing store.
We paired this dish with one of my favorite natural wines from Gut Oggau: Theodora.
I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...