Sunday, January 27, 2008

Gourmet shopping at Alexanderplatz

During the years of the division of Berlin, the KaDeWe das Kaufhaus Des Westens, was the place to go to experience the independence of the West-Berliners. Here they could get what their brothers and sisters on the other side of the wall in the East just dreamed of. This was also the case of its food department, where you could get all the ingredients you could think of, and a few you did not know.

KaDeWe at Kurfürstendamm has still one of the most impressive food departments I have seen. Wandering around here is like being in the food department at Galerie Lafayette in Paris and Harrods food hall in London.

Sadly I realized on my last day in Berlin, that I would not have time to go west. I was very happy to find Galeria Kaufhof on the other side of the street of my hotel, and its culinary department was very impressive. So if you want do some last minute grocery shopping, Galeria Kaufhof is not a bad alternative.

What can you buy, when you are traveling for five to six hours. Fresh meats, poultry, or fish products are often out of the question as they need to stay refrigerated. There are still a lot of things you may buy. Canned meats, cheese, cured and smoked meat, dried mushrooms. This means many good things, and I am very happy to say that I did some serious grocery shopping.

And what did I buy? I bought some medium hard cheese, similar to a tilsiter or an emmenthaler. Delicious!! I also bought some small and thin cured, smoked and salted sausages. Very hard, and best to use as a snacks.

I will show you a little of what else I bought in Galeria Kaufhof in Berlin.

Beppino Ocelli - Tuma de Trifulau - creamy cheese with black truffles

I love truffles and I could not resist this delicious product. Beppino Occelli in Farigliano in Piemonte is responsible for this exquisite dairy product.

Like the brie cheese it was pale in colour with a slight greyish tinge under crusty white mould; very soft and savoury and with 5% black truffles.

Truffle Cream with white truffles from Piemonte (Eugene Lacroix)

Talking of Piemonte and truffles...

I have enjoyed white truffles once, under Michelangelos dome in Florence. I bought this glass of truffle cream made from white truffles from Piemonte. I have no expectations that it will taste the same as that meal under the Tuscan night sky.

What to make from it? I have found one recipe, but I have to consider other alternatives.

Pfälzer Griebenwurst (Johannes Steiner-Erben)

Over to Germany. I bought wurst, this very traditional meat product.

I have some experiences from Wurst. It is a kind of a paté, promised to be an original specialty from the region of Pfalz.

I have to do some research in order to find out how to serve it, before I open the can. I will keep you posted.

Duck Pate with Olives (Roger Vidal)

I have enjoyed other pates from Roger Vidal, some of whom have been delicious, others less so. When you call something Duck Paté it means that the main ingredients are duck meat and duck fat.

So be aware, it may not be foi gras in your can, and this will be reflected in the price. If it is cheap, the amount of liver is low. If you want the real McCoy, look for Foi-Gras de Canard or Enten Leber Paté. Good luck!!

Dried Cantharellus (Niklas)

Dried mushrooms are one of the most perfect things to buy. They will keep for a very long time and very economic in use. For every gram of dried mushroom you get 10 grams back. Cantharellus are one of the most delicious among them, together with the dried porcinis and morels. I bought this and another packet with funnel cantharellus.

How to use dried mushrooms.

Soak in water in 20 minutes and add mushrooms in sauces, stews and soups.

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