Berlin Food Week: House of Food edition

Berlin Food Week has become a staple on the calendar of any self-respecting foodie, chef, journalist and catering company in the city. With venues all over the city and a whole host of events, we decided to take a look at what House of Food had to offer. Conceived in 2013 by Alexander van Hessen and Sandro von Czapiewski who wanted to establish Berlin as a food metropolis of international standing, House of Food is considered the headquarters of BFW.

BFW showcases all the best that Berlin has to offer in ways of nutrition, innovations and quality and this was apparent when you saw the sheer popularity of the event. Taking place at the Kraftwerk Berlin (a former power station) from 1-3 October, the venue was brimming with thousands of visitors all there to see what was on offer.

This year the exhibition was split into three different “worlds”. Action Kitchen gave participants the opportunity to cook with the professionals. Cook and author of “Vegan Queens” Sophia Hoffmann was one of the highlights on the very first day, taking the audience through a whole new experience of cooking that might otherwise not be accessible.

Thankfully, the organizers anticipated that guests would get somewhat hungry. Restaurant Street consisted of 10 restaurants of different cuisines showing off their skills. Unsurprisingly the queues lining the stalls were as long as the street itself but the wait was well worth it. We tried the vegan döner from Vöner, an amazing alternative bringing a vegan twist to the Turkish street food so popular in Berlin. Established in 2006, the Vöner team were supplying festival goers with their twist on the classic food. The meat substitute is made from wheat protein, soy meal, legumes, various vegetables and herbs and spices. If you’re thinking of making a vegetarian or vegan transition and you can’t live without döner then we’ve found your new favorite takeout spot! You can find Vöner on Boxhanger Straße 56.

Next on the menu was Gnam Pasta Factory which is known to some as the best pasta…ever. A bold claim to make but when you taste what is on offer you understand why this claim is true. The main dish on the menu was the black linguini with the mussels. Sadly, we did not get a chance to taste that dish because they were completely sold out but they had other concoctions on offer. We opted for the radiatori with the aubergine and ricotta. The sauce to pasta ratio was perfect. Usually there’s either too little or too much but the Gnam team knew how to balance the dish so as to not overpower it.

Tribeca Superfood was another fixture. Specialising in vegan ice cream, usually made with raw food, there are no added preservatives or refined ingredients and the team uses nuts instead of milk and cream. While it was definitely something different to try it didn’t have the best taste especially when you expect ice cream to be sweet.

The main fixture of House of Food was definitely Späti Deluxe. Over 60 national and international participants set up shop on the ground floor of Krafwerk and offered tastes of their products. From Paelo Jerky to Crazy Bastard Sauce there was something for everyone.

What really stuck out was the local Berlin talent. One particularly popular stand was Brox. Founded in 2014 by Jin-Woo Bae and Konrad Knops, the idea was influenced by the health food kick in the U.S. which is now quickly becoming popular in Germany and Berlin. Jin explains the idea behind Brox, “We produce a bone broth where we take the bones from grass-fed beef and cook them for 18 hours to get all the nutrients and collagens that animals store inside the bone.” This practise helps in digestion and in reducing inflammations that could lead to serious illnesses.

On the sweeter (or maybe not) side of things was Knalle handmade popcorn made in Berlin and with flavors as diverse as the city itself. Made with natural ingredients, flavors include BBQ smoked almond, white chocolate pretzel, Malabar pepper sea salt and Ear Grey lime. The crowd around the stall was evident of how popular the brand was, with samples flying out of the team’s hands quicker than they were being eaten by the eager guests. While for a long time the popcorn was available to buy in their online store, the team has now opened a store in Mühsamstraße 41 where all the delightful flavors can be found.

BFW is still ongoing until 8th October with various events happening around the city which will conclude with Berlin Masterchef 2016, an award honouring the city’s celebrated chefs in front of 500 guests at Kraftwerk.

By Shoshi Khaddour
Damascus born, London raised, Berlin based. Shoshi is a journalist with a focus on a range of social and political issues. A former broadcast journalist, her interests include food fairs, films, current affairs and space. She showcases day-to-day Berlin life on her Instagram and Blog.
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