11.22.2012

gluten-free Berlin

 Berlin....was stop number three, and we fell in love instantly. We were lucky enough to have an apartment in Kreuzberg - a fantastic neighborhood that was vibrant, and full of youthful, creative energy. Our block in particular was loaded with young people and hipster families - the kinder were everywhere!! The shops were delightful - plenty of tiny boutiques with unique finds beautifully displayed, including a charming licorice specialty store (yes, there were gluten-free goodies!). We were in Berlin for Halloween - and it was adorable to see how the little ones dress up here, and rather than going from door to door in the residential apartments, they hit the cafes and shops for their treats. 
 

We did art galleries (artists Kathe Kollwitz and Emil Nolde each have their own, and are to be seen!) museums, markets, checkpoint charlie, the wall... and we explored some off the beaten track neighborhoods as well. As the wall has only been down for 20 years - things are really moving here. Gorgeous urban parks are being constructed. Modern architectural wonders are tucked between lovely older buildings. You really get the sense that the place is reinventing itself and the energy is quite intoxicating.

We incorporated a long daily walk along the tree lined canal that runs through the area. Late night walks were a favourite activity - looking inside at the stylish apartments through lit windows... the high ceilings... the light fixtures! This was typically followed by a stop in a cozy local candlelit bar for a glass of wine.

I know I'm repeating myself, but it has to be said. We did not travel to northern Europe for the cuisine. Also: Berlin is not optimal for gluten-free grub. This was our third week on the road, and I was tiring of my daily fix of trail mix and gf Wasa crackers. I found myself up at night scouring the web for some advice. What I found was this fantastic blog: Glutenfrei Berlin and here, my suspicions were confirmed. There are a number of gluten free options - but they are spread far and wide in a pretty big city. None of them offered anything extensive or appeared worth a significant trek. If you are staying for one week, you don't want to spend it tracking down sustenance.
 

I was in luck, however, with two spots she'd reviewed within the very block where we were living: Popsy's Hamburger Heaven (the cooks working the night we went were a couple of charming young fellas, a Canadian and an American). Here I could have a frank conversation about food & gluten contamination. They got it. They made the food to order. I had a gf bun-less burger and AWESOME hand cut fries the first visit. On the second visit two days later, I had a grilled steak and repeat on the fries (I'm on vacation after all!). 


tiny Berlin kitchen produced some yummy dinners!

The rest of the week we had dinner at home. Our little rental was lovely and bright and came with a tiny, but well equipped kitchen. We wanted for nothing!

The second lead was a very well stocked little shop called Anderskorn. Here the owner had pulled together an impressive offering of gluten free goods that ran beyond the standard Schar I'd been finding to date. I had been carrying my little restaurant card around with me which had all of the German words for gluten. It sure was nice to be able to pick up foods that weren't necessarily "marked" gluten-free and have the shop keeper validate that they stocked said item because it was safe. I picked up some thin gf pumpernickel style bread that came in a little box, cookies, crackers, cubes for stock, pasta sauce and a bag of pasta. The rest of our goods came from the local grocer. One night we made a pasta dish. Another night we made lentil soup and gf grilled cheese sandwiches. Perfect dinners after long days of seriously trekking. Breakfast typically consisted of fruit with yogurt and gf toast so I'd be well fueled for all day outings where the trail mix and cheese and crackers in my purse might hold me until dinner. 

I know I haven't painted the best gluten-free picture here, but that was how I saw it. I'd also say that I'd go back in a heartbeat, and would love to rent an apartment for a month next time. Consider that an endorsement for Berlin! If you plan to go... check out the Glutenfrei Berlin site. She has done an incredible job of rounding up the best options and can give you way more useful advice than I can in one blog post.

Next stop - my favourite of the adventure... Copenhagen!

www.claudinecrangle.com

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Caroline - for sending this message to me via email which I thought I'd share here:

    I would like to recommanded a restaurant Gluten Free in Berlin Kreuzberg. Creperie Bretonne Reichenberg Str. 30 10999 Berlin is really cosy with candles and spacious space. You can come with your friend, your family or alone for a lunch or a diner ...
    Thank so much for your interest, Caroline

    ReplyDelete