Meat Tasting or The Fox That Stole Hearts

Fleischhandlung Bild© Gesa Simons

It was supposed to be a wine tasting but it turned out to be a meat tasting. Marcus, the owner of the Fleischhandlung (meat shop) seemed to be pretty relaxed about the whole thing. He just set up a little barbeque opposite the shop and slapped on the meat all evening. We are showered with endless treats. Duroc pork and Iberian ham, the finest beef from Brandenburg, France, and Argentinia, entrecôte, steak and sausages. Marcus sliced it all up into bite-size pieces and brought it over to us on our wooden tables across the street, served on wooden boards. He finished off his grey suit with a pair of flip-flops, a statement.

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The beef is beautifully pink and so juicy that I was still drooling when I woke up the next morning. I think I must’ve dreamt about entrecôte all night long. The sausages were perfectly seasoned, with notes of thyme that reawaken my curiosity about the mysterious secret of the sausage: what can possibly be in there, what is it about the texture that is so distinct from its original form? Sometimes it is better not to know. That evening I was just happy to let it work its magic. There are only good ingredients in these sausages, as Marcus’s simple winning concept is to sell good meat.

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The meat and the sales are key for Marcus. “We’re not a butcher’s you know, as nobody else is, here in the center of Berlin.” So why would you act as if there are animals hanging on hooks in the back room, waiting to be freshly chopped at the counter? Not Markus. His Fleischhandlung just sells meat, and that’s all there is to it. That’s also why the meat stays shrink-wrapped inside fridges. Marcus points out that “It’s also actually a lot more hygienic.”

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At one time, there was a fox in the Fleischhandlung, looking out of the left window. (The window on the right is occupied by a giant picture of cows). The fox was there for about six months and was greatly loved in the neighborhood, especially by the little neighbors. But as soon as the meat started arriving in the fridges, parents started protesting, and the fox had to find a new territory. Many bitter tears were wept on the way to school and back, as the children asked the same question as us: why had the fox to leave?

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Maybe the complaining parents were afraid that their children would one day discover the crucial connection between meat and animals – that when you eat one, you are also eating the other. The truth can be weird, perhaps  it is better to keep children away from it as long as possible.

Markus’ meat tasting session will take place once every month, with or without the fox or the children. Invalidenstrasse 149.

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