I recently had a whirlwind trip to Berlin for a weekend. Many years ago (pre diagnosis), we did a driving trip through Germany and I remember many of our lunches being sausages in bread while wandering around. You don’t automatically think that Germany will be a country with gluten free options, but fear not, you will not starve! I was lucky that I had already compiled a good gluten free listing for Berlin, largely helped by the blogger glutenfrei Berlin who has now set up the Allergy Explorer website. It is well worth a look and Adam is happy to give you suggestions (an Englishman living in Berlin).
If you haven’t flown short haul from the UK to Europe before, you frequently cannot order a gluten free meal on the flight. A light meal is provided, but it usually sandwiches, so you need to take your own food (see my travel food post for ideas!).
We arrived in Berlin late on Friday night and set out looking for a meal. As it happened, Cha Cha, a Thai/Asian fusion restaurant, was a 5 minute walk from our hotel (Berlin Hilton) and we just managed to get served before they closed for the evening.
The gluten free options are marked with a ‘G’ on the menu, and there is an English translation for each item. I chose the pepper chicken with rice noodles and really enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure about the poppadum – it probably was gluten free, but I didn’t need anything extra at 10 o’clock at night, so just left it. My husband had the thai green curry which had good flavours, but was a bit ‘soupy’ for his liking.
A walk around town after dinner took us to the Brandenburg Gate – lovely all lit up a night.
While walking around Berlin, have a look at the pedestrian light man – in the old ‘east side’ the man is wearing a hat, and is called the ampleman. The lights on the west side are hatless and do not have a cult following like the ampleman!
Breakfast at the hotel was a typical buffet style, so you can usually find something to eat. It helps to take your own bread or crackers to top it up.
As we had been to Berlin before, this trip was a little different and we went to some of the less touristy areas, in search of vinyl record shops! As it happened, Goûter was close to one, so we had a very tasty, although slightly crumbly quiche for lunch. This French cafe has a ‘gluten free zone’ on the menu.
Continuing the trawl for vinyl, we went to the Sunday flea market at Mauerpark which is a train ride out of the city centre. This market is absolutely enormous and there are quite a few food stalls. None looked particularly good for gluten free, except the stall frying spiral potatoes. There was quite a queue here, and I joined it – you see them make the spiral and then drop it in oil to fry it. It is served with some paprika and salt and was lovely on a cold day, but not very filling as a lunch!
Tip: If it is a wet day, wear good boots or wellies (as the locals all were) as it can be very muddy.
We still made time to look at the Berlin wall and Checkpoint Charlie.
After being surrounded by sausages at the flea market, we went for dinner at Augustiner am Gendarmenmarkt as I had read a TripAdvisor review that the sausages were gluten free. Alas, after being seated the waitress said they were not actually sure if they were gluten free. I was disappointed, but on her advice chose a steak with potatoes wrapped in bacon and no sauce. It was a nice meal, but not really what I went there for!
There is now a gluten free bakery in Berlin – I did not get to visit it, but the website is here: www.jute-bäckerei.de/