Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New café culture in the Uckermark

Driving direction north from Berlin to the city of Prenzlau you arrive approximately after one hour in a region called "the Uckermark". The Uckermark has a wonderful soft lined scenery, beautiful lakes around the Feldberg area and offers quiet forests for extensive walks. The region is the home of a very special mixture of people: The "original Ukcermaerkers" on one hand and the "new Uckermaerkers" on the other. The former have a very special way of communication, better a short-cut-non-commmunication, even if they are very heartful people. The latter – the new Uckermaerkers – migrated by the majority from Hamburg or Berlin to the region. This second part of the habitants tried to settle down and also to establish themselves in the resgion over the past 20 years. So, as a stranger, you have to get used to the short-cut-communcation of the original Uckermaerkers as well as to the very different mind-sets within the groupof the new Uckermaerkers - not that easy, I can tell you:-)

Two dear friends of mine entered the Uckermark 8 years ago as new Uckermaerkers and are now nearly established as Old Uckermaerkers. Since then they have renovated step by step and very carefully a landmarked, marvellous garner in Kraatz near Prenzlau. That´s why I have an extraordinary interest in and a very close relationship to this special region.

As a fan of good cakes I like to explore every new place in the region where people open a café or sell homemade stuff. When I travelled to the Uckermark last time, I visited two very different cafés: the first one, the "Kräutercafé" meanwhile well known, located in Parmen, led by a very nice, native Uckermaerker woman called Andrea Tietz (http://www.naturreich.de/hofladen.html). And a second one in Friedenfelde, called "Salon im Gutshaus" led by family Nowatzki (http://www.salon-im-gutshaus.de).


Café of herbs by Andrea Tietz in Parmen

Andrea Tietz is a very nice woman with an awesome herb garden. She knows her herbs deeply and every plant in her garden is carefully signed. 

Her own herbal tea-mixtures and all the other products sold wihtin the little store are lovely creations, evolved from her dedication to the plants. I fell for her tea housemix with citronella, lemon gras, mint and a lot of fine other herbs.

Andrea´s cakes are delicious, real homemade stuff. I´ve never seen a visitor eating only one slice, they all take two. Last time I tried a cake called "mother-in-law-cake" and if I will ever merry I hope my mother-in-law is as tasteful as this wonderful sweet piece of bakery with cherries, nuts, in a white dough, covered by a roof of chocolate. 


Café Salon im Gutshaus Friedenfelde

The second one which I like to propose is the Cafe Salon in the Gutshaus in Friedenfelde. This lovely Cafe is owned by family Nowatzki. To Mr. Nowatzki, a very nice man, I had the chance to talk during having my cup of wonderful fresh organic coffee.

The Café offers a nice garden outside as well as a cosy salon café inside. The whole heating of the house is organized by very big tiled stoves, which the owner couple reinstalled carefully in the house.  Another sweet curiosity is a collection of over hundred coffeepots. The cafe sells fine cakes and organic little dishes like fresh goat chese sandwiches or salads.

To sit in the garden of the Gutshaus Firedenfelde in the warm autum sun was one of those marvellous moments in life when the world embraces you softly and your mind takes a total break. For sure I´ll be back soon to sit near the tiled stove and attend one of their literary winter events.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Get to know Mr.Chocolate

Yesterday I met a real master of culinary seduction, the man in the kitchen of one of the most delicious chocolate manufactories of Berlin: The "Chocolatier" of In´t Veld. His name is Christoph Wohlfarth, a young, smart, ambitious and passionated
one. Christoph is the creator of one of my favourite chocolate products: very thin, long, dark chocolate sticks with 1 percent of sea salt. These sticks offer an unusual, deeply seductive and fine taste combination.

The only problem with this high level chocolate is, that the little bit of salt acts like a devil: it avoids stubbornly to bring up the feeling of having eaten enough "sweet" chocolate. Very dangerous stuff:-) Never buy more than one package, unless you are twosome.

Get into it:
the multiple ways to chocolate heaven

I was part of a guided tour including chocolate lecture and tasting. The evening event took place in the kitchenrooms of the manufactory. Christoph´s professional world consits out of two little backyard rooms in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg. With his typical northern, kind narration style - originally he comes from Bremen - the Chocolatier led us to the process of production: from the cacao fruit to the bar, up to the different tastes of handmade, high class chocolate.
He elucidated all criteria that influence the quality of the product in the end: different plants and growing areas of cacao, the combination and amount of the ingredients like sugar and cacao butter as well as one of the main issues in chocolate production: the temperature. Christoph only uses goat milk within his chocolate kitchen and well trainded tastebuds savor that fine difference in taste.
My favourite Italian chocolatier, the man behind Domori, a real enthusiastic maniac and perfectionist in that business, is one of their raw-chocolate suppliers. Domori had also been the manufacturer of their first own product line in the early days of foundation of In´t Veld in 2002. Another manufacturer to be mentioned in the high levels of chocolate heaven is Zotter, a very dedicated austrian Chocolatier, producing "from bean to bar", with an addiction to wild, nice experiments.
Like all good and ambitious manufacturers Holger In´t Veld and Christoph Wohlfarth as well want to produce their own raw material as soon as possible to be able to influence every step of their chocolate.

The tasting
My favourite chocolate within the offered varieties during the tasting was In´t Veld´s 80% dark with goat milk. This chocolate melted astonishingly smooth in the mouth and was at the same time full of complex dark aroma. Maybe the 80% one has the power to replace my current chocolate stick addiction, even if both, the bar and the sticks are not comparable in any way. They are two different sides of chocolate heaven, and as a highly addictd one, I never want to be forced to make a decision between two places in that heaven. I prefer to enter both.

PS: If you run out of money and need a cheep and tasty "Barcelona Chair" go to http://www.intveld.de/ and satisfiy your need. No idea is ever safe from being rebuilt in chocolate:-) Maybe at the next guided tour you will see a "Le Corbusier Chair".

dolce vita ahoi • mobile minds • monika ebert

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gaumenperlen - a label by mobile minds, monika ebert::: gaumenperlen is a diary about affairs of the heart. I´m addicted to delicious food, unique and extraordinary places as well as valuable things, fine arts, design, music, tango argentino and interesting people. The focus of this diary is food. Delicious food is much more than nutrition, health or prestige. it is the basis of your body& soul, it is at the core of your way to think, to live and act, it is your attitude towards nature. For me cooking is a wild, joyful, creative process with the objective to share the result in the end. This process is surrounded by a bunch of exciting encounters - nevertheless where I am:: at the markets, talking to producers, at the book stores, in restaurants, in my kitchen. That´s why I love cooking and travelling.