Every neighbourhood in Berlin has its own weekend food market, except where I live in Mitte. I am not going to count the clutch of stalls in front of Butler’s at hackescher markt as an authentic one. Ackerplatz market is technically in Mitte but it’s the Prenzlauerberg side of Mitte. It’s annoying that I can’t trundle down the road with my wheeled shopping bag, on the other hand I am not restricted to one market by proximity sake. I’m free to bounce around the different locations and enjoy the many faces of Berlin.
Kollwitzplatz market in Prenzlauerberg is probably the most known but I haven’t managed to fall in love with it. It’s somehow too self-conscious of its good looks. Winterfeldtplatz market is like a sensible pair of shoes, it does what a market should. As with most market squares, there are plenty of cafes surrounding it. It is a market I go to often, especially as I have a few friends living in the area. Wittenbergplatz (across from the KaDeWe) is a bijou sized offering, with prices to match some of those in the pricey food hall across the street. Still I often find interesting things there. The Market at Karl August Platz is another sensible place to shop.Boxhagener platz market in Friedrichshain is one of my favourites. It wraps around a large sand filled children’s park, seemingly always full to capacity with children and young European parents. It has a couple of the large Turkish stands that seem to sell everything at all times of the year but unlike in other markets, they don’t dominate the square. There are plenty of small stands selling seasonal, organic fruit and veg.What sets it apart for me is that there are plenty of people having a go at something different (I get a similar vibe from Markt Halle Neun). Wether it’s the ‘got dessert‘ marshmallow stand. Or the bruschetta stand. The lady selling rings made of old keyboard buttons. The Turkish stand making fresh wraps with thin elastic bread that is baked there on a domed metal oven. I get the spinach filled bread and they fill it with shredded cabbage and carrot and then drizzle in what they call ‘herb sauce’ but is more like thousand island dressing. I am hopelessly enamoured with that elastic bread, I tear pieces off the wrap and stretch it out slowly marvelling how long it takes to snap. The filling is ok and the thousand island dressing is totally oddball but warm bread, fresh off the stove is irresistable. (They sell Ayran to go with it but don’t have a fridge and in my opinion, there is nothing worse than warm Ayran). These more original stands are interspersed between the quark sellers and the poultry sellers with weeping chicken fillets stacked high (I am not yet unaccustomed to the displays of meat and poultry here, there seems to be too much mingling of juices for comfort).I always dispatch my husband and daughter off to Cupcake so that I can take my time prodding and selecting.We regroup when I have accumulated too many bags to carry unaided and then get a big glass of sweet fresh orange juice from the red and white stripey stand, where the orange is pressed manually by one man with a grossly calloused hand.
On the way back to the car, we spot a father and son hammering in a fence around a public tree. Plants will be added later on in the day. People who pass by will admire it but not touch it. Even the normally obsessed with the correct procedure council men and women will leave it alone. Cheerful spots of Guerrilla gardening is something you can spot often in this city. I read an interesting story in The Independent the other day saying that gardening is as effective for treating depression as medicine (I think they could add baking to that). Seems that Berliners don’t need a study to tell them that, I also like to be reminded that it doesn’t take much to have fun or spend a nice day outdoors even if you don’t have a garden or even a balcony.
A list of Berlin food markets I or other bloggers have written about;
Ackerplatz Market, Prenzlauerberg side of Mitte
Karl August Platz Market, Charlottenburg
Marheineke Market Hall, Kreuzberg, Kreuzberg
Markt Halle Neun, Covered market in Kreuzberg
Kollwitzplatz market (Slow Travel Berlin link), Prenzlauerberg
Winterfeldtplatz Market, Schöneberg
Wittenbergplatz Market, across from the KaDeWe