As I turn my bike down the cobbled street that leads to Kollwitzplatz, the air begins to fill with the mouthwatering aromas that the vendors of my local market create every Saturday. The beautiful archway that the elm trees have formed in Prenzlauerberg is like a comforting tunnel guiding me to the Platz. I always like to think I will get there before the crowds arrive, but each week when I pull up, it’s already buzzing with friends chatting, families laughing and couples milling around, all admiring the stalls that fill the streets around the Platz.
Even though I’ve not long had my regular Saturday morning poached eggs, smoked salmon and smashed avocado, I start thinking about what it will be that takes my long drawn out decision for lunch today.
I love food. So much, that when I finish one meal, I find myself thinking about what I’ll be eating for the next, and visiting the Kollwitzplatz market, in Prenzlauerberg, most Saturdays, is the perfect example of this.
The market is largely independent bio sellers with a mixture of fresh fish vendors, tasty German meats – whether it be smoked or fresh – delicatessens filled with the smelliest and gooiest French cheese you can buy, an array of colourful and seasonal fruit and vegie stands and your typical infused oils, breads, homemade pastes and jams. There is of course, a mixture of art and craft stalls selling items from homemade bike seat covers, fresh cut flowers to children’s wooden toys.
Nestled between these stands is the freshly prepared street food that really excites me. I love to gawk at the people devouring their food, either being awkwardly held in a serviette or off a plate. Oh, that satisfied look on their faces as they bite into a freshly cooked bratwurst smothered in ketchup and mustard, all wrapped in a crusty white roll. As they spoon mouthfuls of thick hearty German goulash or perhaps slip a freshly shucked oyster from its shell and wash it down with a glass of prosecco.
I have my favourite stands that I return to each week and the first of these is ‘Tofu Rebels’. They sell a variety of organic tofu, marinated and smoked in traditional and experimental flavours; such as green peppercorn, hemp and sunflower seeds. The whole range is divine, but I tend to buy the smoked coriander seed and the marinated olive, infused with citrus and garlic. The smoked tofu is great in salads and I like to eat the marinated one (filled with delicious chunks of olives) on crackers or sear it for dinner.
Tofu Rebels have only been in business for just over one year. The farm is located in the south of Germany where they grow the beans and manufacture the tofu. I love it because it is made by 4 reasonably young Germans, with an objective to make a small contribution to the prevention of animal exploitation and environmental destruction, while producing some of the best tasting tofu I’ve ever had! They also sell fresh organic soy milk that sells like hotcakes.
Good quality, Fresh seafood is hard to come by in Berlin, so I try to buy my weekly supply from the markets on the weekend. ‘My’ guy is tucked away down the very end of the market. He sells a beautiful selection of fish with eyes as clear as the ocean they were caught in. His stand is quite long, beginning with a selection of smoked fish, followed by prawns, squid tubes, whole fish and cuts, beautiful deep red tuna and finishing with piles of freshly made fischbrötchen (fish in bread). I find myself returning to him for his excellent selection of fresh fish, friendly service and acceptance of my poorly spoken German.
My final and favourite stall where I usually stand myself at for a good ten minutes watching with my mouth watering, before I place my order, is the tastiest fresh cooked prawns in Prenzlaeur berg. The stall is run by 2 jovial and charismatic men who you will find serving up to 3 people at once, while pouring a wine with one hand and wok-frying fresh Asian king prawns in the other. They serve prawns and oysters in a few different ways as well as fresh cooked pasta with your choice of pesto, and of course wines to accompany your dish.
I tend to get a plate of prawns which are simply cooked in butter and fresh herbs, served up hot, fresh and juicy with crusty baguette slices to pile on the fat prawns or mop up the buttery juices. I savour each mouthful whilst sipping away at my crisp German Wieswine.
I leave the market with my bag full of tasty goodies, a bunch of flowers in my arms and a full and satisfied tummy…but of course wondering what I will have for dinner…
– By Amy Wilson