Sunday, 18 August 2013

Black coffee, watermelon and the best seeded bread you ever tasted



The two flight attendants stared at me cluelessly.
"No milk? No sugar?"
"No, just black please."
"Oh, isn't she continental."

I handed over the last of my pound coins in exchange for a simple black coffee and went back to my book while Gatwick receded into the afternoon sky and the white cliffs of somewhere slid into view. I hoped Berlin wouldn't be as bad as this. It couldn't be.

It wasn't- I'm beginning to think it may just be London that is bad.

I was lucky enough to stay with one of my best friends in Kreuzberg. Heather is a dab hand at every bit of cooking. By 11am on our first morning we'd flirted our way to free watermelon slices at the greengrocer (I say flirted, all Heather really had to do was ask some prices in German) and stocked the fridge full of berries, radishes and ripening avocados.



As the resident chickpea obsessive, I was put on hand to make hummus, while Heather concocted salads from beetroot, seeds, rocket and lemon juice. Turkish bread fresh from the market had to be kept folded in half because it took up the whole table otherwise. I think one of us managed to find some olives and Luci, another friend from London, tracked down some balsamic vinegar. Once again, we'd made a feast.

Berlin has its own chain of vegan supermarkets called Veganz (great name guys) which I heard on a Radio 4 programme is reportedly expanding into London soon. As with Barcelona, from the small section of the city I got to see, everything felt pretty geared up for vegans or anyone with a dairy-free diet- most cafes will offer soy milk with coffee or tea, and the restaurants will try their best to accommodate you if you're patient. Not expecting this to be the case, I got to try an amazing vegan burger at White Trash, where instead of just offering one vegan or vegetarian option for a burger, lets you add the vegan burger, which is made of nuts, beans, tofu, vegetables, herbs and spices, to one of the eight burger options. LONDON TAKE NOTE!



My trip happened to coincide with a crazy heatwave in which the numbers 33 and 35 degrees Celsius got flung about way too much and in the end it got too hot in the daytime to do much more than drink iced coffee and eat more slices of melon. But in the early morning and late at night we ate toasted seeded bread just with olive oil, pepper and salt, couscous and rocket salad with yoghurt for Heather and her flatmate Petra, blueberries, raspberries, and fresh mint in hot water.



On the final day, after meandering through a flea market, too hot to speak let alone barter, we ended up in a Turkish cafe, Zimt und Mehl, in Neukll├Âlln for breakfast. I spotted 'vegan special' in German on the menu, and ten minutes later was presented with the sight above. If you go to Berlin any time soon, get to Zimt und Mehl as early as possible to grab a canal-side table, order the vegan special and for 8 euros you'll also get amazing coffee and all the bread you can fit in. You won't need to eat again until you get back on home soil.

1 comment:

HMS Voyager said...

Yummy!!! I need to plan a trip to Berlinn asap!! x