Cookbooks, deli goods and cooking classes on Helmholtzplatz…
Goldhahn und Sampson is a Slow Food haven located on the Dunckerstraße side of Helmholtzplatz in Prenzlauer Berg. Run by the amiable Sascha and Andreas, this Aladdin’s cave for Foodies offers everything from “slow and conventional food: far flung and local, fancy bling as well as down-to-earthness”. That means you get champagne as well as Italian salami and German blutwurst, rare Sake alongside organic lentils, and esoteric spices as well as freshly baked bread and croissants.
Goldhahn und Sampson is posh—even for Helmholtzplatz—but it isn’t snobby. It’s a lovely space in which to spend time, which is good because you will probably be here much longer than you’d originally planned.
While not a cafe in the classic sense, bar stools and a long drinks counter abut the large, street-facing windows, encouraging you to order an espresso and indulge in some people watching. The coffee, by the way, is excellent.
There’s a comprehensive cookbook section in the rear room (English and German titles available) as well as an extremely inviting Chesterfield armchair to browse them in. The choice of books, like the shop’s choice of products, is impeccable, ranging from mainstreamers like Jamie Oliver and cheesecake queen Cynthia Barcomi to classic ‘bibles’ like Larousse and an assortment of handsome coffee-table books.
The shop supports organic and fair trade products and wherever possible deals directly with farmers and local producers (for example they use Andraschko Coffee from Berlin). The shelves are stacked with a wealth of gorgeous goodies: imported spices from exotic countries; Habanero chilli paste from Madagascar; Lyle’s Treacle; chocolates from Domori and Beschle.
There’s also an alcohol ‘alcove’ brimming with hand-picked wines, mostly from Germany and Austria but also from France, Italy and Portugal.
Goldhahn und Sampson also offer a range of kitchen utensils (knives, Le Creuset pots) and a large space adjacent to the cookbooks has a kitchen area that’s used regularly for cooking classes.
Here you can learn how to make ramen or Levantine cuisine, what you need for a good stock or to make your own spice mixes, how to sharpen kitchen knives properly or the fine arts of wine or sake tasting. In all, the shop offers over 100 courses by instructors from over 20 countries, with groups usually limited to 5-6 people and involving a meal enjoyed together after the cooking.
These days there is also a branch of Goldhahn und Sampson in Charlottenburg (Wilmersdorfer Str. 102/103, 10629 Berlin) as well as one at Kreuzberg’s Markthalle IX.