We arrived in Berlin on June 1st. Spring was in full bloom and the deep sweet aroma of the linden trees, with their white furry blossoms, enveloped us. We are in the home stretch of my husband Dick’s, sabbatical year before we return to Boston. He is at the Free University finishing up his project and Berlin is also home(for the past 10 years) to our younger son Alex.
Although it is coming to the end of their season, thick white asparagus(spargel) bundles are still prominent in grocery stores and outdoor markets and the little pop-up stalls shaped like strawberries and selling the local erdbeere dot the streets and entrances to the train stations all over the city.
White asparagus are often served with a hollandaise sauce alongside boiled potatoes sprinkled with parsley and a crispy piece of schnitzel.
At home we have been enjoying them boiled and served warm or cold in a herbed vinaigrette. The strawberries are sweet and wonderful as is, however rhubarb is also in season so I couldn’t resist making strawberry rhubarb sauce which we spoon over vanilla ice cream with a sprinkling of crunchy muesli (aka granola)–nightly.
And speaking of night, it stays light well past 9 PM. Here is what 9PM looks like from our wonderful rooftop apartment in the Schoneberg district.
This apartment has a large light filled kitchen with a wall of glass doors – the perfect place for all the pickling and putting up I have been doing lately: salt and sugar cured wild salmon, cherries in brandy, strawberry rhubarb sauce and kosher-style pickles.
More about that in my next post, suffice it to say, shopping at the markets is just so inspiring. Our favorite is the Saturday market at Winterfeldtplatz just a 10 minute walk from here. Creamy salads, wild flowers, organic eggs, fruits and vegetables,
and dark and seeded German breads (my all time favorite) are among the dozens and dozens of stalls that crowd the square.
And there are all manner of eateries. On our first outing we had grilled wurst, which is served on a round crusty small bun just cradling the center of the sausage, leaving the two ends of the wurst suspended. We asked for sauerkraut on ours and the shopkeeper looked skeptical but obliged. Apparently that is not how it is eaten here, says our son. It was delicious!
The next Saturday we followed our noses to where fresh mackerel was being grilled. Whole mackerel as well as filets are set in a fish shaped wire baskets over glowing coals and cooked to perfection and then set on a large piece of paper, sprinkled with herbs and served with condiments. With fork and knife we boned the fish and ate the moist flesh, dipping it in a creamy horseradish sauce.
And finally, on a more personal note, my dear husband and I just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We spent the day walking the city and ended up on the 6th floor, the gourmet and food emporium of the KaDaWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) -one of Europe’s most elegant department stores, for champagne and sustenance.
Here is to 40 more – and I mean it.