Berlin by Food is currently a one-woman show. The woman in question is me - Anne - a pescatarian Franco-American-British Berliner who studied German and Russian and likes to eat. When not giving tours, I earn a living as a journalist, translator and international coordinator for the Stolpersteine - Gunter Demnig's Holocaust commemoration project. I've lived in Berlin for going on 10 years now and have eaten my way around the city. I can advise on the best restaurants, the dodgiest Eckkneipe (a dying breed, so get your Molle while you still can), I can tell you where to find vegan chocolate ice-cream to die for, an avocado smoothie that will blow your socks off or a slice of pizza that will transport you to Italy.
So I exagerrate a little perhaps, but there's no doubt that Berlin today is exploding with flavours and these tours are here to prove it to you, as well as to give you a taste of the changing socio-political circumstances.
The German capital is a fragmented city with a troubled past – that's what draws many of us – but it also has an ever-changing vibrant present and immigrants continue to arrive, fleeing war, conflict, political persecution and discrimination or economic misery.
Immigration is the best thing that can ever happen to a city’s food scene. Londoners know that nobody would have coped with jellied eels and boiled cabbage for much longer. New York would not be New York without bagels and pizza from Europe... Even Paris, which has nothing to blush about when it comes to food, has become an even better place to eat since Chinese, Moroccan and Vietnamese chefs arrived.
There is no doubt that Berlin was once a culinary wasteland – there are only so many sausages a person can eat. And the same goes for potatoes and cabbage. So it must have come as a relief to many food-lovers when first the Turks came, bringing lahmacun and lentil soup (it's not all about döner kebabs) and later immigrants from Lebanon and Syria introduced baba ghanoush and manakish to the city.
Thanks are also due to all those Australians who figured out London was way too expensive for them and opened up coffee shops left, right and centre, inspiring a coffee revolution. Filter coffee and flat whites are here to stay. If they’re not your "cup of tea", then how about a good old espresso from the Italians or a halfway decent cup of German Kaffee - and perhaps a slice of cake with that? (If there's one German culinary tradition worth perpetuating, it's certainly Kaffee und Kuchen in the afternoon.) If it’s really tea you’re after, there are some fine salons around town.
There are those for whom a sweet tooth is not only an expression: If that's you, let's skip the savoury and go straight on to dessert – ice cream, pistachio baklava and the finest cheesecake this side of the Atlantic (and that is no exaggeration).
Or if you're in a breakfast sort of mood, we'll take you to a croissanterie (for the flakiest croissant this side of the Rhine) or get you a brezel. If pancakes are your thing, follow me!
Food is not the same without drink so we might also take you to a natural wine bar or to a Kiez wine shop to taste a Riesling, arguably the best white not only Germany, but the world, has to offer.
If you're more down-to-earth and just fancy a beer, we can help you out there too (this is Germany after all).
Just get in touch and let the tour begin!