Mittwoch, 10. Juli 2013

A foreigner at the KaDeWe food court

Highly impressed after my last foodie and discovery trip to France and before a gorgeous trip to London - with many foodie adventures scheduled, I wanted to see what is going on on the German counter. And, for the moment, I decided to explore the closest spot, the famous KaDeWe, on a Tuesday afternoon. 
As usual, the place was full of tourists, many trying to get the full advantage of the sales for many luxury brands hosted in the place that used to be the only symbol of capitalism in the divided Berlin. It remains an important top-notch place nowadays, competing only with another high-end place, the Galeries Lafayette, at Friedrichstrasse. I know the both places quite well now, and I will always prefer the Galeries, not necessarily because too French, but due to the better quality of the products and of the customer service (one of the biggest problems in Germany, in my opinion).
Sophisticated and intellectual visitors, don't worry that you will waste of time and your money in a temple of consummerism. There are always some surprises left for the art lovers - unless you consider the high-end fashion brands such samples too. Regularly, the KaDeWe hosts exhibitions, fashion-related but going beyond the retail mass production level. 

The food counter is situated at the 6th flour. It includes a lot of restaurants - many of them selling specific food represented in the shopping area - Thai, fish-based, sweets. The prices are relatively high, and the usual outlook is of a fast food counter. Noblesse oblige, especially when it comes to eating in such a historical place. You can find a lot of products - from sweets to regional wines and oils, fresh fish and vegetables and exotic fruits. There are good sweets and French pastry, and even there were some fresh good cakes for the end of the first day of Ramadan. You can spend easily more than one hour wandering through boxes and flavours, but you will rarely find someone asking you if you need some help or if you are specifically looking for something. If you ask, you will be helped, otherwise, feel free to explore!
You can find fresh fish, but also already smoked and prepared - some pineapple and smoked salmon little sandwiches were looking very tasty.
The most pleasant part is presenting oils and spices, from all over the world, but mostly produced by German companies. I could not resist to buy some new aromated salts and spices blends.
When I arrived in this little French paradise I wanted to test some little pieces of chocolate, but there was nothing offered. Wanted to ask some of the ladies moving around, but did not feel encouraged by any smile. At the end, I ordered something on my own, and needed to move from a part to another to order after to pay. One of the lady who served me did not feel bother when I requested to change the piece of cake she not only touched with her hands, but let it slide on the counter. After all, I was in one of the most expensive places in Berlin and I was at the famous Le Notre shop and the service was worst than at a 1 Euro fast-food.

 I loved to find so many 'exotic' ideas and food suggestions, such this mixture of various spices ready for preparing your own cocktail. One day I want to try it.
The happiest counter was arranged by Cointreau. There were free drinks offered and the corner was decorated to look as a Tahiti island.
 Post-Ramadan cookies were waiting for the end of the first day of fasting. The products were not as fresh as at 10 o'clock in the morning, but pretty tasty for a late afternoon spicy coffee.
The overseas fruits, not an exquisite selection, after all, were over priced. In fact, there are many products available at KaDeWe that can be found in the regular super markets at very convenient prices. I did buy some Thai mangosteen and was also tempted by the fresh looking pitthaya. 
Germany is famous for the diversity of bread products. At the KaDeWe there were many luxury products created for special customers: caviar bread, most probably sought by many of the Russian customers visiting the place regularly. 
Lebanese wines are only one of the specialities of the wine section. There are hundreds of types, from the classical Loire Valley and Italian wines, to the Hungarian sweet Tokay and the Mediterranean flavours. 
Everything is very clean and somehow looks like a hospital or a museum entrance. People are coming and going, picking up their food and paying. Not too much conversation in between or openness to share too much information about the diverse products presented/
 Home-made pastas are mostly made in Italy and have different shapes and are prepared according to various recipes.
The meat is not only made in Germany, but also from Austria, especially from Tirol. Everything look fresh, this is all I can say about this section that is not tempting for me at all.
I loved to be there and to explore the products and the tastes and I returned at home with a couple of new spices I can't wait to taste. Compared to Galleries Lafayette the space is less organized and there are a lot of second-hand quality products introduced as luxury - especially at the Thai counter or a the Canadian counter where you can find a lot of American products. However, I tried to appease my relative disappointment with a longer visit at the clothing areas and forgot instantly all my previous disagreements. The KaDeWe remains a great place to visit and shop, after all.  

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