On Saturday, the big hall in Berlin’s Postbahnhof (near the Ostbahnhof) was filled with booming house beats and a bluish twilight – not a typical setting for a winetasting event. The creators of WineVibes proved once again that sometimes boundaries have to be crossed. Invading Berlin’s nightlife with an army of winemakers, they revealed what more a winetasting can be and that excellent quality does not always occur conventionally.
The motto “Eating and Drinking with Soul” was enjoyed to the fullest as people wandered through food stands and the long tables full of wines. The Contemporary Food Lab curated the culinary aspect of the evening by bringing together Berlin’s best street food delicacies at the Contemporary Food Market. The food and the drinks complemented one another. People tasted, sipped, and chatted with the winemakers. Later, they even danced. Rules were relaxed, or nonexistent. Some spit, some swallowed, and everyone enjoyed themselves.
Out of sight, an exciting meeting took place away from the hustle and bustle. Four magnitudes of the Berlin and international food scene sat down together at one table to taste various creations. They included: Lars Jäger, head of Slow Food Berlin, food writers Gisela William (New York Times) and Eva-Maria Hilker (Tip Berlin, EssPress), and Tommy Tannock, the writer (Time Out) and Bite Club founder. Their culinary opinions count. This is why it was particularly beautiful to see the way the four of them enjoyed the bites from the market, and how their facial expressions relayed relaxed satisfaction. The gourmets from each food stand sat down at the table for a bit to talk about their dishes. The situation was delicate: it was about winning the Contemporary Food Contest.Jörg Reuter (Vom Einfachen das Gute) and the jury
Although they were impressed by the offerings from each stand, the jury members agreed in little time on their favorites. They praised the invariably high quality of the ingredients, the creativity, and the cooking skills used to create the final products. In the end, there were two winners: Nobelhart & Schmutzig, the new restaurant concept from star sommelier Billy Wagner and his colleague Micha Schäfer; and Italian Pic Nic 34, that was opened one year ago by Gianni Berghella in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood.
Billy surprised everyone with his fermented pear, something none of the attendees ever tasted before. “Crunchy, herby, fabulous”, is how Tommy Tannock described it. For Gisela Williams, it’s “a pear with buzz – appetizer meets dessert.” Billy’s pear was put under the vacuum for two days in a three-week old fermentation solution made of water, sugar and raisins. The result struck just the right balance between sweet and hearty, rounded off with a touch of savory. It could have been strange, but it was a great success.
Gianni’s classic Italian Piadina, or flatbread, and his Abruzzo mutton skewers were convincing winners with their excellent taste balance and perfect texture. “Witty, powerful, charming,” Lars Jäger remarked, which described both the food and the chef, who grilled his skewers on a special grill he transported to Berlin from his hometown of Abruzzo in an old fire truck.
While Billy captivates with his successful experimental novelty, Gianni demonstrates how one can bring tradition to the highest level. It would have been wrong not to select one of the two.Lars Jäger (Slow Food Berlin), Laura Panchaud und Ludwig Cramer-Klett (Contemporary Food Lab), Tommy Tannock (Bite Club), Julia Klüber (WineVibes), Billy Wagner und Micha Schäfer (Nobelhart und Schmutzig) Text(DE): Theresa Patzschke