Suzan Taher – a.k.a Foodie In Berlin – finds fresh fish in Mitte…
NB: Mitte Meer will be closing their shop near the Hauptbahnhof on 30th July, 2001 and re-opening in Kolonnenstr. 30 from Sept 2011…
Obviously, every country has their own style and foods they specialise in. In the UK, supermarkets are full of ready meals in various states of readiness from plunk-it-in-the-microwave-and-heat-until-it-goes-ping to pre-chopped vegetables that pander to buyers who want to “cook” and eat “healthily” but can’t be bothered to do it properly.
German supermarkets have a fair selection of fruit and vegetables, a mind numbing array of yogurt, potatoes I don’t recognise at all, a lot of bread and heaps of pork. I was trying to find minced lamb at Rewe the other day. Ha! No way, not even frozen! And fish? Nope. Ok, you can get frozen fish, usually breadcrumbed or maybe some salmon but I prefer my fish fresh, good canned fish or not at all.
Mitte Meer is a place I like to go to when I want to take a break from all things German. It’s nothing fancy, just a cash and carry, but it’s an Aladdin’s cave of all things Mediterranean. Good stuff too: they stock Oritz tuna for 2/3 of the price Brindisa sold it in the UK.
You can pick up whole legs of Jamon. There are 5kg tins of olives, bottles of caramel, coffee, wine, frozen oranges stuffed with ice cream, plenty of frozen meats and what looks like the entire De Cecco pasta range.
In addition to that, there are two cold rooms you ought to check out. One has cheeses, fresh fruit, hams, cured meats and even freshly pre-pared taramosalata. The other is the fish counter.
Fresh fish in Mitte! Can you believe it?
They often play upbeat Spanish salsa music and none of the staff look at me funny when I dance through the aisles with little L. Probably because they do it too. The people who work there tend to be Spanish and no matter how grey or miserable it is outside, they are always friendly and smile. And they never check my pram or bag for stolen goods, which I find a welcome change from the German supermarkets.
Besides being able to find Mediterranean goods, an outing to Mitte Meer always leaves me feeling better, like I’ve been on a mini-break. My stash for the day included two tins of canned tomatoes, chorizo, salami, Parmesan, filled pasta, anchovies and Scarmoza (all for €21). Oh, and a jar of butter beans that I intend to toss in a salad with some thinly shaved fennel and orange segments.
If you’re up for some exploring before or after visiting Mitte Meer, you can check out the Hamburger Bahnhof (where the Sara Wiener restaurant is located), the excellent Naturkunde Museum or one of the several independent galleries on Heidestrasse that usually have free entry and interesting art (along with an odd wooden building that looks like it fell out of the sky from a Swedish version of The Wizard of Oz).
About The Author
Suzan Taher is the self-appointed Foodie In Berlin. She was born in the Middle East and up until her teenage years spent time between Eastern Europe and Greece. She went to university in Paris and discovered the world of food. She celebrated turning 30 by enrolling in a year-long Food and Wine diploma at Leiths and was convinced her calling lay somewhere in the food world. She embarked on a multitude of internships at magazines and work experience at some of the best independent award-winning delis in London before moving to Berlin with her husband and two year old daughter, where she runs her excellent Foodie in Berlin blog.