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Wine and Food

Alexander van Dülmen

To The Bone, Restaurant & Bar, Berlin

To The Bone, Restaurant & Bar, Berlin, Germany

6 points

4 points by Alexander van Dülmen

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I am very pleased to have Till Schmerbeck writing a review of one of our last dinners – this one at one of Berlin’s newest hot-spots called ToTheBone. Not only that he is a “to be on the go” producer – his latest success was German Horror “Heilstätten”, he is also someone who really enjoys food and wine. Here his review: 

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Today we meet in Berlin’s trendy Mitte district. Anyone who opens a restaurant here should have a clear idea that the audience in the tough selection of culinary options in this area may honor. TO THE BONE at Torstr. 96 stands fancy in red neon above the entrance. The room concept and interior are similar to the successful localities such as CORDOBAR and TORBAR, where an opulent counter hits in the middle and the dining tables are around or in the back. Here, too, a sense of community should arise and almost everyone is allowed to examine your plate. A flirt with the most international guests can be tried even from the table.

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Kreuzberger Himmel, Restaurant, Berlin

Kreuzberger Himmel, Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

6 points

Kreuzberger Himmel: not only a commendable but also honorable dining experience, because this is not a classic restaurant, but a special refugee and integration project in Berlin. Getting to know each other and listening is certainly the basic requirement for understanding other cultures and thus not only tolerating other cultures, but also the basis for learning from other cultures. Those who are unwilling to learn will wither away, as we unfortunately must experience today, even to the extent that it becomes frightening and anxious. Even the AFD, a party of the mentally stunted, has moved into our parliament: the German Bundestag. Usually I only write here about the most beautiful and good things in our lives: wine and food. That’s how it will continue to be. Just as I once wrote a derogatory word about Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, I will not let it change my mind about another experience in Hungary (https://avdwineandfood.net/2017/10/13/magnus-merlot-2011-villa-tolnay/#more-6484).

The integration of more than one million refugees who came to Germany two years ago is undoubtedly one of the greatest social challenges of recent German history. There are certainly many ways that integration can work, but a few things are undeniably true: firstly, it does not happen as quickly as many might have wished or imagined. (I mean, one does not learn a foreign language in a few weeks.) Second, integration costs money, because all the measures that lead to integration cannot be provided by volunteers, in a number of areas of course professionals are needed.

It is all the more beautiful to see that there are many successful projects and initiatives that the irresponsible reporters and editors of the Bild newspaper seem never to have heard of. These kind of yellow press papers would rather report on the problematic cases among the millions of refugees, on individuals who’ve committed serious crimes or gone into criminality. In these papers I haven’t read  about any good projects, such as the Kreuzberger Himmel!

It is a Syrian restaurant in Berlin’s district called Kreuzberg (https://www.kreuzberger-himmel.de/) and it is run by refugees from Syria: the chef and his team, the waiters, all have their own escape history and today present part of the culture of their homeland: Syrian food. This initiative is supported by a cooperative association with the fabulous name Be An Angel e.V., behind which is a selection of more or less prominent honorary volunteers (https://beanangel.direct/) .  Continue reading “Kreuzberger Himmel, Restaurant, Berlin”

Veritas, Restaurant, Naples

Veritas, Restaurant, Naples, Italy

5,0 points

Maybe you travel to Naples with false expectations, but unfortunately, the image of the city is bad. Trash, mafia and a pretty dirty bay with high pollution. Much of this is probably even true; otherwise it likely would not have stuck as Naples’ reputation over decades. Indeed, the city looks dirtier than other Italian cities; the area around the huge harbor is rather run-down. Perhaps the story of Naples’ tramway mirrors the chaotic, but perhaps not even scandalous condition of public services in this Southern Italian city. Because the street in front of the tram depot is under construction (according to different internet resources – including Wikipedia – the size of construction is only 40m long), not one tram has driven in the city since 2016!!!! This is crazy, isn’t it? I can imagine that the Neapolitans are quite used to this, they don’t trust politics – and for good reason – and if there is something behind all this that is really powerful,  it is the Camorra. You can be sure that they earn on every little “error.”

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“P”, Guccione

“P”, Azienda Agricola Guccione, Perricone, Red-wine from Italy

5,5 points

Uh, this one is sour. Really sour. This is, frankly speaking, the first reaction upon tasting this wine. But you could probably also just call it: “I wasn’t expecting that.’

“P” by Francesco Guccione is an extraordinary, if not an unusual, wine. Not a wine for beginners, as I provoked on Instagram when I posted a photo of the label. P stands for the Perricone grape variety, also known as Pignatello, which, as far as I know, only grows in Sicily. Find out more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perricone.

The wines of Francesco Guccione are perhaps the most radical organic wines from Sicily, where you can find some “world-famous” organic wine producers, such as Occhipinti and COS. Everyone who read my last post about COS (Zibibbio in Pithos, COS, 2016), knows about my friendly acquaintance Joanna. When we spent a very nice evening in the wonderful garden of Bar Sabadi at Modica, she introduced me to Francesco Guccione’s Trebbiano, which is truly wonderful – such a fantastic wine. Because of this, I decided to order two or three bottles of each of his wines, and I tasted “P” in recent days.

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Fresco, Restaurant & Pizzeria, Naples

Fresco, Restaurant & Pizzeria, Naples, Italy

2.5 points

The very beautiful receptionist Valentina at the highly recommended Hotel Excelsior advised us to have dinner at a place close by called Fresco — saying that there was not only excellent pizza, but also many other good things. Asked if she would go there with her family, she said yes. Our experience there ended up being rather disappointing, unfortunately, and maybe Valentina has not been there for a long time or maybe she has no family – who knows.

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Le’Shuk, Restaurant, Tel-Aviv

Le’Shuk, Restaurant, Tel-Aviv, Israel

7,5 points

What a wonderfully atmospheric restaurant! It has been a long time since I’ve had such a pleasurable evening sitting somewhere, just observing the action and enjoying excellent food. What an experience! Located on Dizengoff Square in the heart of Tel-Aviv, the seating area is almost entirely outside and under awnings; the interior consists of a bar, a few tables, and the half-open kitchen. Ethnic music fuels the mood, which is characterized by a pleasant rush, a desire to eat, and the joy of entertaining conversation. Although it is a little bit chauvinistic to mention, I might add that my waitress was quite an unusual natural beauty, these friendly glimmers of her face should warm every heart and turn it into dreamy dreams.

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Amass, Restaurant, Copenhagen

Amass, Restaurant, Copenhagen, Denmark

7 points

How many times have I heard that Copenhagen is the culinary capital of Europe? Not Paris. Not Rome. Not Berlin. I still can’t really say because, in Copenhagen for the first time, I relied on a tip from Billy Wagner. His tips are as reliable as ever but you should be careful to have enough money with you — eating out in Copenhagen is not exactly cheap. And truly, there is one 3-star Michelin restaurant, six 2-star Michelin ones and even 12 (!) with one star. Next to the most famous and obviously one of the best restaurants in the world, based on a questionable ranking by San Pellegrino, Geranium (place 19), which is the 3-star restaurant, are there any good alternatives? Apart from the fact that I do not like to pre-reserve months in advance, since food always has something to do with mood and desire – I mean, imagine your mother dies and you have been waiting for months for your reservation at Noma, the other world famous restaurant in Copenhagen (which is closed anyhow for some months). What do you do then?

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Brawn, Restaurant, London

Brawn, Restaurant, London, England

6 points

London is probably one of those cities almost everyone has been to or still plans to get to at some point. As the capital of the United Kingdom, it is, on one hand, a very international and cosmopolitan city, while on the other hand, it is also the capital of England with strongly English roots– when London was a labor and workers’ town and not only the financial and international hotspot it is today. Right in the center, we mostly know the architecture of such rich, elegant and very wealthy areas as Belgravia – which are very beautiful, without a doubt. Fortunately, areas or districts are constantly developing into new centers of life, areas which were frowned upon twenty or ten years ago as neighborhoods of socially disadvantaged people or as areas in which it was simply unpleasant because of their lagging behind in the overall economic growth or development of the city.

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Jägerklause, Berlin

Jägerklause, Biergarten and Pub, Berlin, Germany

very bad

If you are good-looking and wearing a white shirt and you go to a beer garden with a wonderful female director in Berlin Friedrichshain, do not go into Jägerklausel.

If, however you want to meet frustrated pseudo-left arnachos whose latest self-discovery is a full-body tattoo and a whole toolbox of piercings in their face to distract from their fake, bad skin in her face or between her chin and dropping bosoms and who consider everyone useless except for themselves,

so, basically, if you want to experience embarrassing characters who serve lukewarm Löwenbräu and sell a lousy piece of meat as pork steak, who make fun of women, because they are stupid and don’t know that Berliner Pils is bitter and Heineken, the worst beer in the world, is sweet,

if you want to experience a Nazi war dog accompanied by an alleged anti-fascist puffing,

if you want to experience the escalation of Berlin BVG rudeness, if you want to observe seehoferische self-gloriousness in black hooded sweaters,

Then this is your place!

A self-proclaimed scenster place, but very embarrassing in real life. This is not a beer garden. Neither is it an animal garden, because zoo keepers treat their animals better than the egocentric Stalinist clique of the Jägerklausel treats their guests.

This is the most fucked-up place I have visited in Berlin in a very, very long!

Cuvée Hautes Terres, 2011, Chateau Fourcas Dupré

Cuvée Hautes Terres, 2011, Chateau Fourcas Dupré, Listrac Médoc, Bordeaux, red wine from France

2 points

It is perhaps easier to write about something beautiful, good, and tasty — because when you write about something ugly, bad, and inedible, you can be driven by anger. Anger in turn is not a good guide and of course not good for the nerves. Often you cannot change it anyway, because usually the cause of annoyance or anger is in the past. However, fuck it! Yesterday I was angry and before others do too, this short text may at least be a well-intentioned warning.

Last night I opened a Cuvée Hautes Terres 2011 of Cháteau Froureas Durpé. Not a special or well-known wine from Bordeaux. No idea, frankly, where I got this bottle from.

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Zibibbio in Pithos, COS, 2016

Zibibbio in Pithos, COS, 2016, white wine from Italy

7,5 points

Until now I have not written about COS, although I am a big fan of this winery. Not only because of the great wines of Azienda Agricola Cos, but also due to the presence of Joanna Dubrawska, who for many years was not only responsible for marketing and sales for COS but could also introduce wines in a very special way. She left COS a few months ago and is now working somewhere in France. Behind the winery are actually three founders, C. O. S. is a reference to their surnames.

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Seehaus, Inn, Fichtelberg

Seehaus, Inn, Fichtelberg, Germany

5 points

I am thankful that Elisabeth Burghardt (former Bartel) once again accepted my invitation to post another review on my blog (here first one is here: Panama, Restaurant, Berlin )

The Fichtelgebirge (Fichtel Mountains) is a fairly well known region in northern Bavaria, close to the Czech border. It’s an idyllic and remote area with breathtakingly beautiful woods where you walk on soft terrain, surrounded by nothing but the twittering of birds, the gurgling of a small stream and crisp fresh air. It’s a region that was once known for its mining industry (basalt, marble but also gold, tin and iron). Its massive granite rocks once left a deep impression on no less than Johann-Wolfgang von Goethe and even inspired him to an essay about the prehistoric rock (see quote below).

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