Cafe Review – Cafe Vux – Take 2

gluten free cafe vux

Some time ago (3 years) I reviewed the original Cafe Vux on Richardstraße.  Back in those days I was just simply amazed that there was a cafe in Berlin which stocked gluten free cakes on a permanent basis!  Thankfully the gluten free life in Berlin is not so grim anymore.  Due to this though, there have been far more local gluten free cafes to visit and I had not made it down to the new Cafe Vux location (or even known about it for some time).  I remedied this not so long ago (well, a few months ago, but who’s counting).  First impressions, the new location on Wipperstraße is not quite as nice as the previous one.

glutenfrei cafe vux

I mean, it’s not terrible but the last place had a more homely, smaller quaint charm to it.  The new place does not feel too different to any other cafe in Berlin.  Which is not fault of theirs really, they just had set a higher bar in their last location.

gluten free cafe vux inside

The other downside is that they do not mark which of their cakes are gluten free and which are not.  They’re all just mixed in the display case and you have to rely on the member of staff knowing which is which.  A very bad practice in my experience unless you are very good at training all of your staff to the same level (most places are not).  Again, this was ok a few years ago when glutenfrei was a rarity, these days, it’s a little careless.

glutenfrei cheese cake cafe vux

I plumped for this lime and coconut cheesecake, as a combination it sounded rather good.

gluten free cheese cake cafe vux

A couple of minutes later and I had this.  Turns out I was correct and it was pretty damn good, nice and rich and tasty.  The base was a little thin and soggy, but it is gluten free, so what can you do.

In conclusion, if you live nearby or are passing, I’d pop in for a visit.  But with the vast wealth of other gluten free cafe’s in Berlin these days and the lack of labelling, there’s nothing here special enough to recommended it as a must.

glutenfrei cafe vux inside

Cafe Vux
Wipperstraße 14
12055 Berlin
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Product Review – Schär Meisterbäckers Vital Frischbrot

I used to spend a lot of time on this blog complaining about the terrible state of gluten free bread here in Germany.  To be fair, when I started back in 2010, the glutenfrei bread here was pretty abysmal.  Tasteless bricks of compressed sand for the most part.  Fortunately for us, all those German manufacturers were not sitting around resting on their laurels, they were busy tinkering and experimenting, gradually providing us with better and better bread.  The latest I’ve tested is the Schär Meisterbäckers Vital Frischbrot, a bit of a mouthful to type so, if I refer to it again, I’ll call it Vital Brot.

schaer vital gluten free bread

The packaging is much the same as all of the other Schär fresh breads, a giant balloon holding a soft squishy loaf.

schaer vital glutenfrei brot

Inside you get the usual plastic tray containing the gluten free goodies.  The vital brot (yay, i referred to it by name again) is pretty good by my standards.  There’s a good flavour to it, nothing too strong, just about right.  The texture is great too, not too crumbly and the little seeds add some bite.

In conclusion, I’d recommend it, I think it’s my favourite of the frischbrot from Schär.

The Berlin Gluten Free Dining Club

It can be a lonely existence living gluten free. Your friends look at you like you’re being a fussy eater and shun you from dinner dates, partners huff in exasperation at having to travel 40 minutes to eat in a particular gluten free place and restaurant staff look at you like you’re a raving maniac when you ask if food has gluten or any kind of flour in it.  Add to this living in a country where most people have not even heard of Gluten, plus a country where you may not even speak the same language and you’ll be limited to talking to the wall about the difficulties of gluten free eating (or, in those more positive moments, bragging about how ‘almost like real cake’ that slice you just ate was).

Fortunately for us, a nice friendly Gluten Free American living here in Berlin has started a meetup group!  Happy days!  The idea is to visit the gluten free friendly places in Berlin, dine, chat, make friends and generally revel in the joyful feeling that everybody there understands your pain.  The first meetup is at the end of February at Cielo di Berlino.  There are limited places so sign up quickly!

Berlin Gluten Free Dining Meetup Group

Cielo di Berlino Meetup Event

Product Review – Gluten Free from mymuesli.com

glutenfrei mymeusli

One of the joys of running this blog is that I am occasionally invited to product launches and events, there’s something about free food that just makes it taste better.  Recently mymeusli.com invited me to partake in an open day at their offices to sample their gluten free muesli options, great!  After some introductions and other niceties I noticed a rather large selection of tubes, all containing muesli goodness.  I was definitely being optimistic and hoping that they would be mostly gluten free.

IMG_1443

Unfortunately, this was not the case.  Not really their fault, but mine.  I always rate the importance of a company providing Gluten Free products in line with the importance I place upon eating said Gluten Free products.  If only the world agreed.  They do, however, have a couple of tubes of glutenfrei goodness, helpfully coloured in such a way that they stand out from the rest of the line.

IMG_1439

The two options are berries and chocolate, the two best additions to any breakfast in my opinion.  The muesli itself is rather good, much better than the dusty offerings from Verival, Herz or Hammermühle.  It is less prone to crumbling and has a little more flavour to it.

IMG_1514

All in all, I’d recommend buying some.

Unfortunately mymuesli were not able to provide a list of places you could buy the Gluten Free tubes and so far I have only seen them for sale in my local Rewe.  So, I’d keep an eye out for them, but it may be best to order online.

Website - They can be a little hard to find on the site, but there is a link at the very bottom of the page.

October 2013 Update

Had a few tips on new Gluten Free places that have opened up or changed here in Berlin :

  • Herr Nilson Godis – They have a new shop in Prenzlauer Berg serving their gluten free Swedish pick and pix.  If you haven’t visited yet, you should definitely go, Stargarder Straße 58, 10437 Berlin.
  • Chüechliwirtschaft – Had a tip that they offer gluten free cakes, their website mentions that they have Gluten and Lactose free fruit tarts.
  • Dai Ragazzi - They offer Gluten and Lactose free pasta dishes along with Gluten Free almond cookies and other desserts.
  • Juki – They have Gluten Free soy sauce and are able to accommodate Gluten Free diners.
  • Princess Cheesecake – Gluten Free cake is usually available, made with fresh oranges and an almond meringue base.
  • District Mot – Had a tip that they can serve gluten free food and have gluten free cake.  Although I’ve been unable to verify this with them and there is no mention of them offering anything gluten free on their menu/website.
  • Wo der Bär den Honig holt – Gluten Free carrot cake.
  • Nigi Berlin – Gluten and Lactose Free Onigiri, available at multiple locations around Berlin.
  • Sfizy Veg – Had a tip that they offer Gluten Free pasta and that you can pre-order Gluten Free pizza.  Although I’ve been unable to verify this with them and there is no mention of them offering anything gluten free on their menu/website.
  • Victoria – They have gluten free cakes available, chocolate, almond and orange hazelnut caramel.
  • Waterlily – They can make some of their dishes gluten free.  The dishes available is not listed on their menu.

Restaurant Review – Creperie Bretonne

Gluten Free Creperie Bretonne

As much as I love eating gluten free cakes and sweet treats here in Berlin, it is nice to be able to go out and have a proper sit down meal now and again.  Normally, doing this involves a pizza or such, but one evening I was in the mood for something a teeny bit different so I plumped for a french Gallette at Creperie Bretonne.

glutenfrei Creperie Bretonne Menu

The first thing that struck me is the general French-ness of the place.  But seeing as it is a French place this a welcome feature.

Gluten Free Creperie Bretonne Menu

Perusing the menu it is nice to see that they have quite a wide selection of choices for those of us gluten afflicted.  I plumped for a Juliette, cheese, ham and pear with walnuts.  My favourite combination, meat, cheese and fruit.

Whilst waiting for my delicious sounding dish to arrive, I noticed this a little further into the menu.

glutenfrei Creperie Bretonne Menu

Cider!  The gloriously gluten free drink that is not beer, but definitely close enough.

The only downside was that it arrived in the smallest serving I have ever seen for an alcoholic beverage, a teacup.

Gluten Free Galette Creperie Bretonne

Thankfully though, the Galette was rather good indeed (it was much bigger than it actually looks in this picture, damn perspective).

All in all I was quite pleased with Creperie Bretonne, nothing too amazing, special or exciting, just a good place to go and enjoy a little food.  Which is definitely not a bad thing, how I wish there were more of them out there.

Creperie Bretonne
Reichenberger Straße 30
10999 Berlin
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Cafe Review – Eis Voh – Take 2

It’s been a little while since my initial review of Eis Voh as it’s a place that I do not make it to often enough, mostly due to the fact it takes an hour for me to get there.  But recently I found myself down in Friedenau and I decided we were in need of a refresh.  (if you haven’t read my first review, you should click here and read it now, or I’ll start chastising you with ‘bad reader!’ ‘bad reader!’ until you do).

The first thing I noticed is that they they have expanded their selection considerably.  Just look at this little display of pure joy.

Gluten Free Eis Voh Cakes

So many different types of gluten free cakes!  Some of which are also lactose free!  All perfectly labeled and delicious.  But it does not stop there.

Glutenfrei Eis Voh Baked Goods

Little cookies and the like.  I had one of the raspberry cookies on the bottom right, it was rather good and did not survive long enough to have it’s picture taken.  They also have little bags of muesli and cornflakes and such for breakfasts.

Gluten Free Eis Voh

They are also serving meals now, Spätzle, Chilli and a few other options which are all listed on the board next to the door.

If you have not yet visited Eis Voh due to it’s location, you need to slap yourself round the head a bit and make the pilgrimage.  It is easily the best gluten free place in Berlin, even if it is mostly desserts, you’ll come back 2kg heavier, but far happier.

Eis Voh
Bundesallee 118
12161 Berlin
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Restaurant Review – Dirty South

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South

Update 04 November 2013 – Their cornbread is no longer Gluten Free.

There is one thing I definitely miss from my Gluten days, which is being out, having a few drinks and just wandering into somewhere to have a good ol’ drunken snack.  It’s near impossible to do gluten free here, unless you count a bag of carefully selected erdnuss flips from the local späti.  So when I first walked past Dirty South, not long after it had opened, I was rather excited.  A restaurant which serves tacos and comfort food, has booze and had taken the time to actually write that they are gluten free friendly on their sign outside!!

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Wall

Although, it still confuses me a bit as to why people join Vegan and Gluten Free together, but, nevermind, I’m quite happy enough to see Gluten Free get a mention.

So, I endeavoured to visit and consume.  I tried twice, only to find them closed during their listed open hours!  What with not being able to eat a full meal anywhere else nearby, it meant a 30 minute journey back home to cook and eat, quite frustrating indeed.  I dropped by a third time to just check out their menu, having already eaten elsewhere and was greeted by a staff member who had no idea what gluten free even was, I was a little dismayed.  But, I persisted, and on my fourth try, I found them open and a (mostly) knowledgeable staff member, joy!  I have since visited a few times and have had no issue with them being open, I’m guessing it was a little early teething problem, the staff though, is another issue.

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Pictures

The place itself is a nice and a little themed, glorious and all ‘American’ to my European eyes with a complete lack of the useless tack that you get in other American places here (think neon signs).  Plus, they have quite a nice selection of alcohols behind the bar and American beers (although the glutenfrei options are German).

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Alcohol

But, this is not why I was visiting.  Food was to be consumed!  I opened the menu, wondering at just what delights I could eat!

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Menu

Comfort foods, sounds good, but no sign of anything gluten free, next page.

glutenfrei Berlin Dirty South Menu

Tacos sound great also, but, again, no mention of gluten free.  Odd.  It was at this point that I called over the server and inquired, she went away and checked with the kitchen and was able to list off what was and what was not gluten free, although further questions needed additional visits to the kitchen.  To say it was a little confusing would be an understatement.  I have since been back a couple of times and have met the same issue, the staff seem to have not been trained as to what gluten free really is and give the impression that they are not 100% sure what is and what is not gluten free on the menu.  I think this is down to a confusion between ‘may contain traces of’ and ‘completely gluten free’, but either way, it does not fill you with any confidence when ordering.  Thankfully, it’s not that they do not care and you will get to order gluten free food, it’s just the process is far more difficult and worrying than it should be.

Now, it’s not that I don’t have to go through this kind of hassle in a regular restaurant, but for a place that offers specifically gluten free items, to not have them at least marked on the menu and have your staff trained seems rather odd indeed.  The next time I visit I’m tempted to take along a little packet of sticky red dots to put next to each gluten free item.

But, after being reassured that the kitchen is well aware of gluten and they know what they’re doing, I ordered myself a Black Beans & Rice Deluxe with Bacon and Cornbread.  Plus, as I was in an American place, this little can of high fructose corn syrupy joy.

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Drinks

I don’t care what people say, root beer is delicious.  Then this arrived, causing homer-esque “mmmm, bacon”s in my brain.

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Bacon

And just look at this golden brick of gluten free lovelyness.

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Corn Bread

It was rather good and, even with the bacon of the main dish, I think the cornbread was my favourite.  Although that may be because I was actually eating bread with my meal in a restaurant, rare.

On my second successful visit, I ordered the beef version of the dish above.

Gluten Free Berlin Dirty South Beef

It was far better and I would highly recommend giving it a try.

The only downside was that, at least on my visit, there were no gluten free desserts as such, but here’s hoping that they change that.

In conclusion, forgive their little oddities, it may be disconcerting and a bit of pain to order but they are slowly getting better with the knowledge and ability to advise.  Just focus on the fact that the food is good and they serve cocktails.  What more could you want.

glutenfrei Berlin Dirty South

Dirty South
Krossener Straße 18
10245 Berlin
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Product Review – New Schnitzer Breads

I often lament the state of gluten free bread here in Germany, but, if you ignore the bricks made of rice whose recipes haven’t changed in 10 years, it is possible to actually find something decent these days.  Thankfully, due to this blog, a little while ago I didn’t even have to go and search for some.  I just received a package in the mail from Schnitzer one day and much to my delight it was filled with their new range of breads!  As ever, at first I was skeptical, another bread, why, it’ll be the same as all the others!   But my negativity did not last long and I soon broke into the Bio Focaccia.

Schnitzer gluten free focaccia

They come in a pack of 4, separated into pairs in their own container, I assume to help with not stuffing your face like a maniac 4 at a time.  10 minutes and 200 degrees later, I had these on my plate.

Schnitzer glutenfrei focaccia

Granted, they are not much to look at, and to be honest they were a little on the thin side.  But they tasted pretty good, even if a little chewy.  In a pinch I’d buy them, but if I had the option I’d plump for the Schaer alternative, they’re a bit more bread like.

Next up were a range of three types of baguettes.  For starters, I went with the classic.

Schnitzer Gluten Free Bio klassisches Baguette

They come in their own little cardboard container with the two baguettes wrapped individually, a thoroughly sensible decision.  After a little baking (which is a must with any of the commercial gluten free offerings) I had this little twist of food.

Schnitzer Glutenfrei Bio klassisches Baguette

Inside it was pretty soft, not chewy, not dry and it also had a pretty good taste to it.  Happy, it is good bread, but I was not amazed.

Next up came the rustic baguette.

Schnitzer Gluten Free Bio rustikales Baguette

Rustic is what is says and rustic is kind of what you get (I’ve never been too clear on what exactly rustic is, and never cared enough to actually find out).

Schnitzer Glutenfrei Bio rustikales Baguette

This one was a definite improvement on the already passable classic baguette.  It had a much better texture and taste to it, whilst keeping and nice soft moist interior.

Finally I came to the pinnacle, the Grainy baguette.

Schnitzer Gluten Free Bio Korniges Baguette

It certainly sounds better, but then I’ve always had a thing for grainy bread.

Schnitzer Glutenfrei Bio Korniges Baguette

Happily it was rather sublime, maintaining the soft interior, complete lack of a sandcastle like texture and a superior taste.  I was hard pressed to tell the difference between it and the memory of ‘real’ bread I contain in my head.

In conclusion, go and buy the grainy baguette now, if not find the rustic and be content that they’re pretty damn close to the real thing.

Available in most places that sell the Schnitzer range.

Cafe Review – Nothaft Seidel

Gluten Free Nothaft Seidel

I love cafes that serve gluten free food, really really love them, this much should not be a shock to you.  But, there are times when I’m a little annoyed at a gluten free serving cafe, even if said cafe has done nothing to irritate me and it is my own brain which has caused the problem.  Nothaft Seidel is one such cafe, a little place right next to Eberswalder Str U-Bahn, which I have walked past many many times, occasionally marveling at the lovely sounding cakes and breads that they offer, all the time thinking that I could not eat there.  Then, months after it opened, a friend pops by and exclaims that the very cafe I have been paying little attention to infact stocks gluten free cake!!  The emotional turmoil that entered my soul upon hearing this was a little much, happiness combined with the frustration that I could have been stuffing my face with gluten free goodness all along.  (well, to be fair, I did check it when it opened and they had nothing, but I’m liking the tortured soul angle here)

After the revelation, I dropped everything and ran straight over to the cafe.  At first I was greeted with this.

Gluten Free Nothaft Seidel Selection

I entered my usual ‘scan all the little bits of card for a GF or glutenfrei’ mode.  Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, where o where was the gluten free!!  They were all full of poisonous gluten!!  Had I been tricked?  Then I spied the little glass case at the back of the picture.

Gluten Free Nothaft Seidel Cherry Cake

Joy!!  They’d even highlighted the card to make it easier for folks like me to find, how could I have missed it!  I quickly ordered and then stood awaiting my slice, almost patiently.

Gluten Free Nothaft Seidel Inside

It took far too long (a matter of 30 or 40 seconds) and without pause I was sat outside in the sunshine with this little beauty infront of me.

glutenfrei Nothaft Seidel Cherry Cake

Yum!  It was rather good indeed, quite nutty and fruity.  It did not survive for long.

Afterwards I had a little word with the baker of this cakey delight and she informed me that they were considering doing more gluten free things!  Excellent!

glutenfrei Nothaft Seidel

In conclusion, go there now, find the lovely baker and plead with her to add more gluten free goodies to their menu, I know I will be.

Nothaft Seidel
Schönhauser Allee 43A
10435 Berlin
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