For me, smell is the only one of the five senses that has the ability to yank you by your collar so that your feet dangle clear off the present and hurl you into some distant memory. That is what happened to me when I stepped into the Apfelgalerie in Schöneberg. Wham! I was no longer a thirty something wife and mother of one, all of a sudden, I was a little girl, hiding behind my father while he negotiated with a man about some apples.
My father is a great businessman, he could sell snow to the Eskimos. He has had all kinds of businesses, the majority of them successful in a “Wow, you should write a book about that!” Among the many was buying fresh fruit (like apples, pears, berries) in Romania and selling them to the Middle East where they were up to their eye balls in bananas and watermelon and were hankering after a nice crispy apple.
My father was also a great dad, he believed that children (read me) should be involved in adult life from the word go and he took me everywhere (which of course I loved). I am not sure that made me a more successful adult vis a vis other adults but I certainly had a lot of fun as a child! Whatever the results, I am taking a page out of his book on that one and I take little L wherever I go.
In this particular memory, curiosity got the better of my childish nerves and I ventured away from the comforting silhouette of my father, over to the boxes of fruit. The apples were nestled in a plastic tray, with round indentations so they didn’t jostle around in the box. And each apple was wrapped in an individual piece of crinkly paper that made a fantastic racket when you opened it up. The apples were as big as melons in my little hands and the smell of fruit in that cold store room was fruity, flowery and crisp – just like a good apple.
I read about this shop in an old edition of the New in the City – Berlin guide that my neighbour lent me (they have taken it out of the current guide, not sure why?) and it went into my little black book of “must see” foodie places in Berlin. Apples was one of the things I loved about London (Braeburn was a favorite) and thankfully I can continue loving here in Berlin (unlike fresh fish, which is pretty hard to come by in Berlin and practically falls out of the sky in London a la the film Magnolia – oh wait, that was frogs – I don’t eat frogs).
Apfelgalerie is a modest shop, with utilitarian tiles on the floor and rickety shelves. They do two things I really like. First, they clearly label all the fruit with a small description. And second, in the top corner of every wicker basket there is a glass apple that has wedges of apples for you to try before you buy. I am not ashamed to admit that I tried every single apple variety in there! I ended up buying 1 kilo each of 3 different types, the name of which I forgot but will learn on future trips.
They also have pears, but I am not really a pear person. Sure, I like the odd poached pear but it’s apples that are guaranteed to get my vote – you know if there was ever a fruit election or something…
And once you go to this great apple haven – then I urge you to make the Apple Galette from David Lebovitz’ incredible book Ready for Dessert A book that Misterrios described as “pry it out of my hands” good and he was so right. I promise to put up a post with that recipe soon (in the meantime, here is a photo I took with my iPhone).
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