Who does not love cutting edge new products? And new food products to boot. This week was Berlin Food Week 2019. It is a celebration of what’s new, fun, and exiting in Food in Berlin and surrounding areas. There were movies and cooking events throughout the city. I’m not going to give an overview of the entire week, because the website can do a much better job than I – BERLIN FOOD WEEK
The overarching thing that I looked for was what foods are new, interesting, perhaps a little outside the box, and are working towards the goal of healthy living. As the Bleuberet Blog pushes in the direction of how food is key to living a healthy lifestyle and the importance of food as an enabler of that happening, I was delighted to find some items that really fit the bill.
Yesterday I ventured over to the Bikini Center. No, not that kind of Bikini, well maybe named for that, but it is a series of buildings that comprise a shopping and event venue. In the middle of the shopping mall part of the center, the new product show held center court. I love to see what is going to be the next trend, the reinventing of the wheel in some new fangled way, and to meet fellow foodie producers. I am delighted to report that I found all three desires to be satisfied.
Cocktails and Mocktails were king.
This is a trend that has little stopping and lots of momentum. So as to let you down easy, I will be up front in letting you know that I was there fairly early in the day and doing shots of flavored gin was not where I was headed. Just suffice it to say that drinking is not going out of fashion, and what’s old is new. Where cocktails seemed stuffy and reserved for armchairs in dark, musty studies or smoky bars, they are now cool again. Indulge and enjoy. Judging by what I saw, Gin is in. Unless you don’t want alcohol and for those, the mocktails abound.
Tables were flooded with nibbles. One stark contrast that I find when in Germany upon arrival at a dinner party, there might or might not be a few minutes before dinner in which time a glass of wine is poured, and then we sit down to dinner. If it is a large buffet style party there will be canapés, but if the venue is a cozy dinner for 4 + people, dinner is served shortly after arrival. There is no such thing as fashionably late, and should you think of arriving 25-30 post invite time, you more than likely will miss the start of dinner. Cheese and crackers are served post dinner to finish your wine. No vats of guacamole to spoil the dinner that your hostess has prepared. First and foremost, I have learned not to arrive at a party starving. And second that I arrive fashionably prompt. But for those of us that need a nosh before dinner, with the wine, there were a couple of items at the New Product event that fill the gap. I just have to figure out how to change the culture of wine and whatnot before dinner for an hour or so….and then eating dinner.
Two companies stood out on flavor, healthy ingredients, and overall look:
Berliner Cantuccuni offered a variety of flavors, such as Zweibelkuchen (onion), Cashew Pistachio Curry, Peanut Chili, Chocolate Hazelnut, and Walnut Date. The compressed blocks of nibbles are comprised of a base of sunflower seeds or nuts and rice. They are soft enough to bite into and have a tad of crunch, but hold their shape. The flavors are interesting and they offer a variety of sweet and savory. Ingredients are simple and all contain some component of our mission to add antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to our diet. Their packaging is understated and the product presents nicely. To find it – it turns out they have a storefront in Prenzlauer Berg. The website is in German, but is pretty easy to decipher.
Squbes drew me in with their smoky paprika flavor. Ever since traveling to southern Spain over the last few years, I have gotten really into the nuances of different paprikas. I tried the Smoked Paprika Squbes and it was definitely a you got me at hello moment. I bought a bag and we had them pre-dinner to test them. We cleared the plate. Satisfyingly soft and tasty. The smoky taste did not overpower the sweetness fo the sunflower base, and we could not stop at one. When I checked their website for further info, they seem to be part of a bigger distribution group and are available at stores such as Whoie Foods. So no need to hop a plane across the pond for this one. It will be a bit before I am back in the States, if someone locates them before I get back, please drop me a note. I want them on hand.
Breakfast – do not skip it. All meals are the most important of the day.
Stark makes a line of Protein Porridge and Protein Meusli. Stark means strong in German and as we well know, protein is a necessity for building strong bodies (add in the blueberries for anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, you can’t go wrong). It looks like they are primarily available in Germany, but I would keep my eyes open for this one showing up in other places. The debate continues as to whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but anything that contains blueberries fits into the caption of most important meal ever. Why limit your self to breakfast, and substitute this for an afternoon snack.
Lycka, the other brand on the table struck my fancy due to the packaging. It was pretty. It looked really nice and if it is as good as the Protein Porridge, then it will be worth having brought it home. Plus walnuts and chocolate, healthy and what’s not to love about those two flavors? The websites of both products are “mission” based, so not only do you feel good with all the organic nutrients you are consuming, you can feel good that you are helping both Stark and Lycka help others to live in a healthier world.
It’s all in the sauce.
Let’s face facts, we cook a lot of the same base ingredients over and over. Boring (in a sing-song tone). Best way to change that pale chicken breast laying flat on the plate, add a different sauce, today then another tomorrow, then another the next day.
Saucenfritz did it for us. With a complete line of sauces, vegan and not, grill sauces, sharp sauces, mustards and spreads, flavored mayonnaises and dressings, they can cover pretty any lunch or dinner item making it feel like a new meal all over again. Having grown up on Heinz (which incidentally I must give them credit for – they have an organic one now and it’s pretty good), it is hard to replace ketchup in my book, but Kiez Ketchup is pretty darn good. I am a sucker for curry anything, and this met my expectations and then some. The Kurbis-Ingwar (squash-ginger), I must confess I did not try at the show, but loved the sound of the flavor combo and will report back once I have slathered it on something. Not sure what to eat all these sauces on, they have a recipe page. Use a translator, it’s all in German. I am sure we will see these at an international food show. They have been in business for a few years, and I am certain they have staying power. All ingredients are very health minded.
Winner takes all in the New Products category.
Marmatube, hands down won the event in my book. Even if it was not a competition, they had the best package on the block. Maramlade (mar-meal-la-da) means everything jam, preserves, jelly, etc in German. Tube, you get that one. Ok, so I am a sucker for jam. Even before Bleuberet, I was a sucker for jam. Put it in a cool package and it is going to get my attention. It was one of the most crowded booths at the Bikini Center. If you are old enough to recall metal toothpaste tubes, complete with metal rollers, then you know where I am going with this. YES! They package it like old-fashioned toothpaste tubes. How cool! Plus it tasted really good. But back to the packaging. They even gave me a couple of the metal twist mechanisms to ensure I get every drop of jam from the tube. The flavors were divine and had they handed me a toothbrush along with the tube, I probably would have brushed my teeth with it. I eat jam on pretty much everything anyway, so why not make jam truly multi-purpose. Keep your eyes peeled for this one to show up in other regions. They are going places with this new company.
Didn’t make it this year to the New Products Show, but want to learn about new products and foodie events in Germany?
Food shows are held throughout Germany and the rest of the EU on a pretty regular basis. Google the area you are going to, add food shows or fairs to your search terms and you will fine local farmer’s markets to specialty food shows.
Here are a few links to check, to get you started, should you find yourself in Berlin:
Berlin Food Week food from Germany, most based in Berlin, but from other parts of the country as well
Made In Berlin food and then some, fun place to see the wonderful things are locally made
Farmer’s Markets, Berlin, Germany