Phase One – Berlin!
The first stage of our German sausage stories tour begins in the home of the Currywurst – Berlin!
If you follow us on Instagram you may well have caught our Berlin sausage stories from the travel pictures we posted on our recent trip to Berlin. What a fantastic place! We visited the Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery, Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate. We climbed the claustrophobia-inducing staircase up to the Golden Else. Later, we shopped and later still, we ate great sausages from tiny kiosks dotted around the city – all in the name of research! Next day, we told stories and walked for miles and miles, generally exploring the city. Berlin can do that to you; inspire you and we fell in love.
Looking for good sausage
But it wasn’t all hard work. We flew to Berlin on a mission. Our plan was to look for the best sausage and the best sausage recipes to bring back to the UK for our own range of really natural meats. German Wurst is delicious, mad and inventive. Like the British sausage, wurst has a history dating back hundreds and hundreds of years. We were keen to explore taste and texture and we were not disappointed.
Kumpel and Keule
We were particularly impressed with Kumpel and Keule, artisan meat producers. They were working out of MarktHalle Neun on Eisenbahnstrasse. The stall had huge glass screens in front of the meat producing area which meant that passers-by could view the meat cutting and preparation operation in full.
This gave a whole new meaning to transparent production methods! It was fascinating to watch. The craftsmen even had a small hatch in the glass window which opened as necessary. Questions were welcomed and answered in both English and German. Innovative and also offering great tasting local meat sausages, this company was well worth a look. They also sold great hot food from a kiosk next door – delicious juicy sausages the type with thick skins that burst in your mouth when you bite into them!
The Sausage Man Never Sleeps
Next, we found and followed fellow market stall holder “the sausage man never sleeps” also known as New Zealander turned Berliner, Simon Ellery. Our first sortie took us back to the Market Halle (following a tip-off) and we met Simon’s red-headed colleague – Irish man Lewis, standing in for Simon who was elsewhere preparing for a different event. Irish, New Zealand, Turkish, British – Berlin is a hugely cosmopolitan city. Lewis told us about their meat and sausage products and also about a pop-up breakfast event the following day hosted by Simon and involving a full English breakfast! We’re in, we said! And in time-honoured tradition, Lewis scribbled down a note of the address on the back of an envelope, passing it to us with a nod and a wink and specific instructions to get there early….
Santa Cantina, Berlin
The following morning broke full of white wintry sunshine in the grey sky. Berlin has this peculiar grey-white light that holds still over the city in the mornings. We wrapped up in coats, scarves, hats and gloves – did we mention how cold Berlin is this time of year? Undeterred, we hopped on the underground and then hiked even further through wide, bright, graffiti-strewn streets (seriously, I have never seen anything like it, see above), searching for the address on the envelope.
We eventually found Santa Cantina, which turned out to be a dimly lit Mexican bar full of hip Berliners!
So a full English breakfast it was, to celebrate our last Sunday in Berlin and Simon’s own invention: ”Fry January” – a devilish counter to “Dry January” and the “Veganuary” post-Christmas offerings. Simon was great and made time to talk to us even though he was extremely busy with orders for the morning crowd. Great food and we will forgive the Mexican beans!
What we know
They say that travel broadens the mind. Travelling with a purpose – in our case, sausages- was tremendous fun and a great way to explore a city and find out those secret hidden places. We learned a lot about German sausages simply by talking to those in the trade who were generous enough to share their knowledge and experience with us, honouring the code of the Butchers’ Manifesto, a code we whole-heartedly support.
Our Berlin trip was memorable and we have come back home to Yorkshire full of ideas and experiences which we know will find its way into our own really natural sausages and cured meats.
Now – get your ticket booked for Berlin before this Brexit deal scuppers us all!