Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kaufhaus des Westens

[ Department Store of the West ]

Coming to Berlin for the end of the year seminar, I knew that I had to use my free time to find the final landmarks of the city that I had missed before. Some are pictured below, including the destroyed church from WWII now standing as a prominent reminder of the devastation of war, and the other was the new Berlin Synagogue. The other place that I was extremely excited to visit was Europe's largest department store, Kaufhaus des Westens, shortened to the well know KaDeWe.

This huge collection of luxury boutiques is overwhelming. Upon walking in, seeing sparkling display cases of brand name products had me self conscious walking around in a mere polo and shorts [ and my suitcase?! I went straight there from the train station to make sure I could see it before the seminar started! ] Skimming these expensive floors, I quickly ended up at my true destination, Floor 6 : Feinschmeker Etage. The Gourmet Taste floor.

Die Feinschmecker-Etage des KaDeWe (Kaufhaus Des Westens) in Berlin ist die größte und sensationellste Delikatessenabteilung Europas. [ note from the floor as advertised : The Gourmet tastes floor of KaDeWe in Berlin is the largest and most sensational Delicatessen department in all of Europe. ]

I was tipped by many people this year to visit this floor, and it did not disappoint. It was a gourmet paradise. International sections running along the walls - I saw products from America, and even ingredients from Japan I haven't seen for a few years. The candy sections were Willie Wonka-esque, so many chocolate stands with assistances clad with cloth white gloves as if the truffles were diamonds. Mazing my way through, I was already lost. The smell of the cheese was impossible to miss, and its rankness pulled me in that direction to examine the scene. Then I would become side tracked by the never ending showcases of meats and then huge tanks of Fish, and then I would run into the Boulangerie with crusty baguettes and a wall of innumerable amounts of preserves [ I have never heard of Cantaloupe preserves...!]

I stalked around eying everything with awe. Everything was all stacked in perfect pyramids. The floor just inspires cooking, and, if you are the type, even seeing the spice wall gets your creativity running like never before.

I initially thought I would just "check out" the sights and then leave on my way. But something triggered while weaving the warm smell of the roasted coffee beans, and the torts stacked in fluffy cream layers. I had a small "Carpe diem" moment, and money and any notion of a stomach ache were the last things on my mind. Eisspezialitäten: Ice cream specialties.

It just stood out to me. As if it was a present wrapped just for the consumer, this ice cream cake was coated with chocolate and then topped with a gold dusted bow. Hedonism took over for a while, and finding my table amongst men in suits, and women when fat jewels on their fingers, I contently sat regardless of my casual attire and suitcase by my side as company. Everything was too perfect to have any worries. Just a small little adventure in Berlin, and sharing a bit of possibly my most indulgent moment of the year.

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