Spent a fantastic few hours yesterday at the KaDeWe Department Store Food Hall. This place is unbelievable. I have never seen such a huge selection of foodstuffs in one place before. The array of items on offer and the variety was just staggering. I think I started hyperventilating a little with sheer joy at being surrounded by so much wonderful food!
Cases upon cases of sausages, dried and cured meats, fresh meat and poultry of all kinds, cheeses, breads, smoked fish, pastries, seafood, chocolates, candies, honeys, jellies, condiments, spices, caviars, pates, foie gras, fruits and vegetables.
Not only were there items to buy and bring home, there were also an endless variety of counters at which to have a hot or cold meal, coffee, sparkling wine, etc.
Here was our lunch. I had a beef bratwurst with sauerkraut, mustard, and of course, a beer! The brat was delicious, and the sauerkraut was the best I've ever had. Served warm, it had been cooked with tiny bits of ham and the perfect amount of vinegar. It was a reflux disaster, but boy, was it worth it.
I have been to Harrod's food hall before, and it is also a spectacular place. What set this KaDeWe food hall apart from somewhere like Harrod's was the affordability of everything. Unlike at Harrod's where you have to take out a second mortgage on your house to buy a loaf of bread, everything we saw yesterday was beyond reasonably priced. It's the food hall for normal people. Our lunch cost us about $20, for two meals and two beers.
After lunch we walked miles, around two very cool neighborhoods: Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte-Scheunenviertel. Prenzlauer is kind of like Park Slope lite. It was one of the first neighborhoods to be re-vamped after the wall came down, and it has a lot of very cool looking buildings, pretty parks and amazing cafes and restaurants.
The one thing that made me feel a bit depressed along our wanderings was the fact that every Jewish-themed building we passed: a synagogue, the Jewish Center, Jewish Museum, Jewish memorial, etc. was surrounded by barricades and fronted by armed guards.
I don't know if there is still a big problem with anti-semitism in Berlin in particular or if they are just showing an abundance of caution, but it was a bit hard to see. The more things change...