Berlin food gifts for pals and potential paramours
I'm getting more excited about my first trip ever to Berlin in a couple weeks, and I've already had some splendid advice from fellow chowhounds, including the absolutely superb (and witty!) linguafood. But one more question: what food should I look for in Berlin (preferably things that easily fit in my luggage) to bring back as presents to cool, hip pals (and perhaps potential hot dates) that they'd never find in the US? Thanks, all!!
Thanks for the shoutout, oregano :-)
Now that I am done blushing.... this is a tough one. A lot of foods Berlin and its surroundings is known for don't particularly travel well -- döner, currywurst, eisbein, berliner (those jam-filled donuts, ya know), asparagus from Beelitz, etc. etc.
There's the blood sausage manufacture that has won many prices, but not sure how well that would travel either.
Spreewald pickles? Jeez. Really at a loss here.
I'll hafta think about it some more....
Löwensenf - Mustard in tube. It is easy to bring back and we don't get food in tubes too often in the States so it is kind of a novelty. Plus, it is cheap and you can find it in any grocery store. (p.s. I know it is not a "Berlin" item, but it is a good German gift).
I'm in Berlin. And as I tooled around today, had an eye out for food presents to bring back myself.
One thing I found at a discount grocery near the Turkische Markt just across from the little park/square at the start of the market was Ritter Sport chocolates in little couple-bite-size bars, four to a package (I see Ritter's large bars lots of places in SF, but have never seen the teeny ones--ditto some of the flavors). And they were a bargain. :)
And at the Turkische Markt itself, I bought foodie friends/family packages of spice mixes. If this appeals, bring some freezer bags. When I got back to our hotel, I immediately double-bagged the packages in a freezer bag in which we had transported our non-US electrical plugs (which are now rattling around, loose in my suitcase)--otherwise my clothes would surely smell of Turkish-ish spices!
re: sundeck sue
Try the Ritter Sport store, you can get custom made Ritter Sport bars. Also the store the mini ones (including the seasonal favors) in bulk, as well as every current flavor in full and giant size bars.
The mini's are available in the US, usually only around Christmas time in multi packs, and only the regular flavors.
I find Knorr & Lowensenf at Cost Plus in SF.
The one food thing I would bring back from Berlin is the curry ketchup from Curry 36.
I wish I could have brought back some bottles of Weissenoher Klosterbräu beer at Witty's outside Ka Da We. Very nice beer.
Thanks for the suggestions, Lingua, Stockholm, Sue, and Chinon! Yay for adorable and knowledgable chowhounds! You're the best!
(1) In fancier supermarkets (e.g. Kaiser or Rewe) you can find a brand called "vonhier" (from here), which is for local stuff from Berlin/Brandenburg. They have all kinds of stuff you may like (e.g. horsehaddish which is pretty important here), but my recommendation is something called Klosterbrot which is bread in a jar.
(2) Also from a supermarket: there is the Berlin Honey, which is only from local plants and beehives:
(3) Gummy Bears are not quintessentially Berlin/Brandenburg, but they are identified with Germany, and in the tourist shops or the Ampelmann shops you can find Ampelmännchen Gummibärchen , which are green and red and designed like the red/green iconic traffic light figures. Gummy Bears are especially good given the fact that your friends are unfortunately hipsters.
(4) There are several local chocoletier, e.g. Fassbender and Rausch. All have "touristy" chocolate (shaped like Brandenburg Gate and what have you)
(5) Bionade and Club Matte are the drinks that you'll see in every party and beach bar, obviously you can also buy them in the supermarket. I don't know if carrying drinks is a recommended thing (heavy, can break), but it is an option
(6) And of course - again not a Berlin thing but a European one that is actually banned in the US (and hipsters would love): Surprise Eggs (WTF! http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/p... )
When I'm in Berlin, I head to the food hall at the KaDeWe and other upscale department stores, walk through the aisles, and bring home stuff that won't get confiscated at customs.
After my most recent visit to Germany (Munich, not Berlin, but I'd bring these same gifts from Berlin), I brought home gifts of upscale chocolates, supermarket level chocolates, Niederegger marzipan, Rotegruetze-flavoured jam, and Florentines and Stollen from a legendary Konditorei.
On the theme of packets available in Germany, I've brought home packets of Kaiserschmarrn and Palatschinken mix, as well as a spice blend for roast chicken. My friend's mom brings home several canisters full of a dry salad dressing mix (I can't remember the brand, but it isn't a Knorr product) when she returns from Germany.
You could also look into some of the local liqueur manufactories like Leydicke or others -- might be a bitch to transport, however.