Berlin Market with a New York City Favorite
Wherever I am traveling, you can be sure there will be a visit to a local market. I love to see the array of colorful products, how they are put on display, how the locals interact with the market vendors and more. Back to Zurich from my recent travels, I went right to the market here to see what had changed. And there it was, the newest addition, telling me that the holiday season is truly not far away. Mistletoe is back, and Christmas decorations are soon to follow. A perfect way to follow the seasons and the holidays, taste your way around the market (and the world), discovering products you may not find at home, wherever your home may be…
A few weeks ago in Berlin, I went to the Winterfeldtmarkt, known for its busy Saturday morning atmosphere. Tables of local fruits and vegetables were intermingled with those of exotic ingredients, hand carved wooden objects, (random) hardware and ladies selling hand-knitted hats. You could easily have lunch there too – ethnic eats abound (Greek and Turkish), one man throwing fish on a grill (above left), another serving up hefty plates of sauerkraut, and plenty of stands with fresh breads. My find of the day, and enough reason to want to go back to Germany: the Laugencroissant. Two words people: Pretzel. Croissant. For those of you familiar with (and like me- in adoration of) New York City’s famous Pretzel Croissant at the City Bakery – this was it! A cross between a wholesome, salty, slightly doughy pretzel and a sweet, flaky, delicate croissant. It was dark golden and even had the signature sesame seeds on top. I got one, and then got another. And could only wonder if Maury Rubin of the City Bakery spent some time in Germany years back. If he did, gute Idee Maury!
It was a grey and cold day, and while I watched other market goers warm up with cups of coffee and hot chocolate, to go with steaming plates of Kaiserschmarrn (that shredded pancake dessert we all fell for earlier in our trip), I couldn’t resist a cup of fresh squeezed pomegranate and orange juice. Worth the shivers. But then I got a plate of Kaiserschmarrn too! As you can see below, it is essentially a huge, fluffy pancake that is then shredded up and tossed with your topping of choice: sugar and cinnamon, applesauce, chocolate or vanilla sauce, kirsch or stewed plums. I went with just sugar. That’s how I order my crêpes in France too – just sugar and butter. Simple mais bon.
There was one more stand that got my attention, and from afar, I had no clue what it was actually selling. But boy was I intrigued. There was a huge steel contraption, which I later saw was filled to the brim with little brown seeds, going through a sausage-like press. Out came what looked to me like horsefeed. I stared, then grabbed my camera. At which point the gentleman next to me, apparently buying this mysterious product, told me to taste instead of shoot. He had a point. But, um… what is it, I asked. Turns out, not horsefeed.
The seeds in question were flax seeds, or linseeds, known for their popularity as a nutritional supplement. The yellow liquid flowing from the machine was thus fresh cold-pressed linseed oil. Sold in small brown glass bottles, the oil had a deep yellow color, which you can see up close, just above left. The byproduct, Leinkuchen (linseed cake) is apparently a local favorite, eaten out of hand (bleh), mixed in muesli (better) or used as a baking ingredient (I have yet to try). If you are familiar with the oil and/or cakes, please let us know how you use it. I’m awfully curious. Until then, I’ll stick with the Laugencroissants!
Winterfeldtplatz in Schöneberg
Saturday 8am to 4pm (also on Wednesday 8am to 2pm)