Mitte Meer

Suzan Taher finds excellent fresh fish and jamon at this Mediterranean supermarket…

Image by Suzan Taher

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 two-thirds of the price Brindisa sold it in the UK.

Image by Suzan Taher

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.

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—there are now several branches spread across the city—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 twenty-one Euros). Oh, and a jar of butter beans that I intend to toss in a salad with some thinly shaved fennel and orange segments.

Image by Suzan Taher

For more info, check out the shop’s website.

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