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Manufaktured delights

Fresh or smoked, sweet or savoury – some traditional foods can be reinvented with endless variety. Meet three whimsical gourmet specialists. Strudel, tofu and Knödel are all leading the pack in artisanal treats.

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Photo by Veronica Jonsson
Fresh or smoked, sweet or savoury – some traditional foods can be reinvented with endless variety. Meet three whimsical gourmet specialists. STRUDEL Austrian baker Wolfgang Ruhnau started Strudel Manufaktur six years ago due to, in his opinion, a lack of real, grandma-approved strudel in Berlin. He and his two co-workers deliver the specialty all over the city, handmade and freshly baked, for €3.50 a portion or €16.15 for a log that serves six to eight people. Of course there’s the classic apple variation, but a strudel can be so much more: a full 15 out of Strudel Manufaktur’s 26 flavours are savoury, including salmon-spinach, Austrian blood sausage, or sauerkraut-beef – a deliciously hearty treat begging to be topped with sour cream for perfect mouthfeel. Now baking out of the R.A.W. complex in Friedrichshain, Ruhnau and co. sell their products at Winterfeldtplatz, Hackescher Markt and Mauerpark during the weekends and through their catering service. VJ To order: Tel 0177 485 7864 or www.strudel-manufaktur.de
TOFU Since Tofu Manufaktur opened up shop near Ostkreuz in 2012, foodies have been blessed with artisanal and organic tofu that’s surprisingly cheap (€1-1.80/100g), in fresh, marinated and smoked varieties. The four-person team behind the operation consists of a Polish and a German couple with various backgrounds – from culinary to biological to botanical – who use the sum of their expertise to make their tofu from scratch. German-grown soybeans are soaked in water and filtered through a cheesecloth to make soy milk; they then add magnesium chloride to form solid tofu bits. The leftover fluid is discarded and after adding herbs and spices, they press the bits into blocks of tofu, ready to be sold au naturel or smoked over beechwood. The smoked and marinated kinds can stay fresh in the fridge for a very long time and even though the fresh tofu’s shelf life is limited to a few days, it’s such a treat (we recommend a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of chilli) that it most likely won’t last that long. MH Kollwitzplatz Markt, Kollwitzplatz, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz, Thu 12-19, Sat 9-16; for other sales points, www.tofumanufaktur-berlin.de
KNÖDEL “We don’t want to be this big restaurant, it’s more like a supper club,” said Werner Gasser, half-jokingly. Every Friday evening, 35-40 people crowd into his living room bistro Knödelwirtschaftswunder, most having reserved spots on Facebook. A surprising amount of to-do for the humble Knödel, a dumpling invented in Werner’s native South Tyrol (the German-speaking province in the Italian alps) as a way to dispose of stale bread. He and his friend Chris Vulpus mix various ingredients with bread, milk, egg, fresh herbs and spices – from spinach to ham to cheese, the menu changes every Friday. Each serving (€6) comes with two steamy Knödel and a side salad on a bed of light tomato sauce – if you’re still hungry, you can order extra dumplings for €1 each. For dessert, try the seasonal Kastanienknödel (€2), with a mixture of chestnut, hot butter and sugar in the centre and dusting of finely crushed nuts and sugar. The simple sweet-sourness of the grape garnish complements the dumpling in a surprisingly refreshing way. KC Fuldastr. 33, Neukölln, U-Bhf Rathaus Neukölln, Fr 18-24 Originally published in issue #125, March 2014.