For those of you who follow my Instagram account it is no news, but #formaggiastic went Cheese Berlin – the annual Cheese Festival taking place at Markthalle Neun in Berlin Kreuzberg. Spass!
As an architect and food lover –Markthalle Neun is always a top destination for me, but of course this year my heart beat extra hard in anticipation of all the wonders I might encounter!
Being an “over the weekend event” Cheese Berlin starts Friday evening with dedicated bars and restaurants scattered over Berlin´s landscape.
You can book dinners, wine and cheese tastings or just roll in one of the destinations and enjoy the atmosphere.
Saturday disguises as a “normal” market day with just a few extra cheese-stands but also offers special workshops around our beloved friends.
For me this was a special highlight, after all I met up with my fromelier class friends Nicole and Uta and together we got to enjoy an excellent cheese tasting class with Cheese Berlin Urgestein Ursula Heinzelmann.
On Sunday Markthalle Neun features the big public showdown with almost the whole markethall dressed in cheese. Producers, affineurs and vendors from all over Europe, public cheese talks, a cheese-making area and a “milking station” for the young and young at heart among us.
Entrance is 5 Euros, worth every cent and you even get a nice wrist band as if you went to a rock concert!
Now I am not totally new to the Cheese Business, and this wasn´t my first festival, but what I learned (again) is if you go to a cheese festival -the first time is not your last.
And this not only because it is great and you definitely have to go again, but also because you have to learn and get to know the scene – and yourself.
So here some tips and “rules” for your next trip:
- Don´t get caught up in an evening party the day before– unless it involves crazy cheese lovers! – chances are you might not wake up the next morning or in case you do, are dead and have to pretend you aren´t (which might be rather difficult)
- Have a plan of what you want to see and do -the program might come out late and you think you are fully informed and have a plan – but actually you don´t.
- Scan the scene. It might be overwhelming, but don´t get intimidated – you can make it and try all those cheeses. (I tell you it´s by far less than taking a cheese tasting class! (although – if on offer -you definitely should take one and will have fun doing so!)
- Go through the festival and try to decide which cheeses you want to take home – special producer, special country, special your own taste. (There is no limit or rule, but for your own peace of mind don´t run around like a chicken without a head.)
- Try to talk to producers and sellers – if not anyways loving you for being there, they will love if you ask questions about their products. Which milk, how long matured, what´s the process – don´t be shy – the cheeses in front of you, they worked hard on and are happy to tell you all about them!
- Most important – all these cheeses are super “fresh” – so don´t hesitate to bring home more than you intended . They won´t spoil and brighten up your days for weeks.
As to speak with Gustav “ A fine cheese keeps forever!”
See you next year at Cheese Berlin!