Embracing Butter

Travel

Fun food outing: Eat-the-World tour Neukölln

bakery sign edited

It’s no secret that I love food. And I love exploring new places almost as much as I love food. So when the folks at Eat-the-World invited me to bring a friend to join one of their tours through the Neukölln district of Berlin, of course I said yes. Eat-the-World gives food tours throughout Germany, and here in Berlin they have tours through seven of the city’s districts.

I’ll be honest with you - Neukölln has never been my favorite part of town. In fact, I like it about as much as I like Kreuzberg, which is not at all. However, my sister just moved to that part of town, and I can’t say no to a food offer, so I dragged her along with me.  I was so excited about the tour invitation that I even told my local café owner all about it while stopping by for my morning Cappuccino. He wasn’t as excited about it was I was, but regardless. The chance to eat my way through a part of Berlin had me pretty thrilled.

And I was not disappointed. The day ended up being a long and lovely afternoon of walking (lots of it!), history (you will know all about Neukölln after this tour), and food (we stopped at 7 different places, sampling food at each stop!). I can’t tell you each and every stop we made, but I will tell you about a few of my favorites.

Zuckerbaby

Zuckerbaby is a cozy, cute café owned and operated by two American/German sisters, who focus on the combining tasty treats – both savory and sweet – from Germany and the US. We got to sample their Lemon Gugelhupf cake, which was a miniature version of the traditional German bundt cake. It was light, lemony, and moist, which we loved (German cakes can be dry so this one may have been more of an American recipe baked in the German shape).  According to Jill and Tanya, the owners, weekends are the best time to visit their place, as they have a larger cake assortment. So will we be checking that out? We most certainly will be.

Kønigliche Backstube

The second stop on the tour was a bakery I’d heard of but had never visited before. The Koenigliche Backstube is an artisan bakery with a limited but delicious menu of organice breads and pastries. Everything here is baked the Old World style – meaning with a sour dough starter instead of yeast. The place smelled amazing, and we sampled their baguette and a walnut bread. Both were delicious, and had we not had such a long trip back home and more stops to make, I’d have bought and taken home some of the baguette and the orange cookies they had for sale too.

Prachtwerk

This was my abolutely most favorite place on the tour. Prachtwerk is another well-known Berlin establishment that I’d been curious about for some time. And with good reason. While there are some famous Berlin places that you visit and end up disappointed by (seriously – some places are just dives and you wonder why they are popular), this is not one of them. Prachtwerk has it all: a bar, delicious baked treats, style, a stage for open-mic nights, great atmosphere, and friendly service. We tried the Carrot Cake and the Cheesecake, and I can’t wait to go back and sample their cookies and their Coffee Martini. An added bonus is that the café is located next to the Statdbad Neukölln, so can swim in a stately, turn-of-the-century pool and refresh afterwards with coffee and dessert. So yes, we’ll be going back there too!

In all, the Eat-the-World a tour I would go on again. It’s something you can do that is off the very beaten Berlin track, you learn a lot about the city by a local (our tour guide is an opera singer originally from Berlin who seems to know the city like the back of her hand), and you walk so much that you burn off a good deal of what you eat on the tour. Which I think is a very good thing. So highly recommended if you’re new to Berlin, visiting Berlin, or you’re like me and have lived here for a while and need a breath of fresh air and to visit a new part of town.

My sis, our tour guide, and me

My sis, our tour guide, and me

The only thing we didn’t love was that we weren’t stuffed by the time the tour was over. Mind you, we certainly weren’t starving, and everyone else on the tour seemed to be full. But in my somewhat gluttonous world, by the end of a food tour you should be rolling, not walking away. ;)

p.s. If you’re a food lover like we are and would like to try out Berlin on foot with lots of munchies, go sign up for one of the Eat-the-World tours.

 

One of my favorite weekend get-aways: Vienna

Vienna Market

One of the benefits of living in Berlin is that traveling to other cities in Europe is easy and generally very inexpensive. You can get to most other European capitals within a couple of hours and for roughly a couple hundred Euros, so city trips are pretty doable (even more so if you have a boyfriend who flies you in for a weekend – ha!).

wine stand Vienna

Which brings us to Vienna, one of my favorite places to escape from the chaos of Berlin – and, let’s be real – the chaos of my life with three children. It’s a one hour flight away – meaning that you board your flight, have a drink and a snack, and by the time the flight attendants have cleared everything away you’ve already started your descent towards Vienna. Lovely, really – especially for a person like myself who no longer loves to fly as I once did.

Vienna building

This city is a bit like a fairytale land. It was an imperial city after all, part of the Hapsburg Empire. Within the city you have palaces, you have stately buildings and gorgeously manicured parts, and yes, you even have a square called “Ballhaus Platz,” as well as a ball-season (January and February every year) to match. And outside the city, you have a river and rolling hills covered in vineyards. You even have gemstone mines within an hour’s drive of the city. See? A fairytale land.

Ballhaus Platz

Vienna is also fun because it’s quite “southern” in nature: the people, the language, the climate, the culture. Those familiar with The South and the charm that comes along with that region will know what I mean. And it makes sense – geographically, Austria lies is in southwestern Europe (it’s officially part of central Europe, but look at the map – it’s south-ish). And its people reflect this – they have their own dialect of German that is, well … southern. Words get slurred together a bit and syllables tend to disappear. Not joking.

Forum fountain Vienna

Beyond the dialect – which I have a hard time understanding, as it’s not the German I am used to in Berlin – the attitude of the Austrians is also quite southern. I don’t know enough to make a judgement call and say they are a lazy folk, but I will say that things are generally more relaxed  than with their northern neighbors. There is also a stronger emphasis on friendliness and hospitality, which I appreciate, especially in contrast to the fairly rough Berliners.

Volksgarten Vienna

So if you are ever looking for me and can’t find me in Berlin, chances are I’m either somewhere near the Mediterranean (it’s been way too long since I’ve been in that part of the world, so it’s coming up soon) – or in the little gem that is Vienna.

Volksgarten Roses Vienna