Behind an unspectacular door in a grungy section of Kreuzberg is Berlin’s most radical restaurant. Ring a brass bell and enter Nobelhart & Schmutzig, where chef Micha Schäfer turns brutally local products into pure deliciousness. He’ll only use food grown within a short drive of Berlin. That means no pepper, no lemons, no olive oil. And no vegetables flown in from warmer climes.
This time of year, Schäfer’s crew is busy preparing for the long, cold German winter, when fields are bare and few fresh products are available. To fill the larder for the long cold season, kitchen staff are pickling, salting, and fermenting. Schäfer spends most of his time experimenting. Lately, he’s been taking apple slices and letting them sit in a warm place for the fermenting process to set in. After a few days, the apple slices turn fizzy from natural carbonation. “An awesome effect,” Schäfer says. But to get the fizz and taste exactly right for his Michelin-starred restaurant, he says, will take another two years or so of trying.
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