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Thanksgiving in Berlin (Where to find what & Places to go) 2014 Update

Leavesonthepavementfallinberlin

This post has been updated for 2014. The 2010/2012 post is archived here.

In a renewed fit of industry, a few friends and I have spoken to butchers, delis, and chefs across Berlin to gather tips on buying your turkey and all the trimmings.

The Turkey

Germans eat turkey for Christmas, if at all, so it's good to organize your bird in advance. Most Fleischereien will be able to sort a bird out if you give them a week's notice, and the poultry man at the venerable KaDeWe says he has a generous supply of turkeys in stock for the spontaneous. Plan on 500 grams per person when ordering, more if you're fond of leftovers.

Friends have recommended the following butchers. Be sure to clarify the giblet situation beforehand if it's important to you: a few include the traditional heart, stomach and livers, whereas others ask you to buy these items separately.

Charlottenburg
Rogacki, Wilmersdorfer Str.145/46, Berlin-Charlottenburg (map)
M-W 9am-6pm Th 9am-7pm, Fr 8am-7pm, Sa 8am-4pm
Tel. 030 3438250
Fresh turkeys available for 9 EUR/kg. Giblets are included for no additional charge. The poultry specialist is on duty from November 10th. Some have said Rogacki can be relied on to have turkey in stock, but the saleswoman recommended placing an order. 

Friedrichshain
Fleischerei Domke, Warschauer Str. 64, Berlin-Friedrichshain (map)
M-F 6:30am-10pm, Sa 7:30am-10pm, Su 10am-10pm
Tel. 030 2917635
Frozen turkeys are €10/kg, while fresh are €12/kg (without giblets). They say it's best to come by in person to place an order, but Domke always has a few turkeys (presumably frozen) on hand.

Prenzlauer Berg
Fleischerei Gottschlich, Prenzlauer Allee 219, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg (map)
Fresh turkey only (for €10.90/kg); giblets etc need to be ordered separately. Mr. Gottschlich sell turkeys, he's also accommodated requests for turducken and short ribs. Order by November 20th at the latest.

Schöneberg
Albrecht: Wild & Geflügel seit 1927, Akazienstraße 4, Berlin-Schöneberg (map)
Tel. 030/782 13 81
Open M 10am-6pm, Tu-Fr 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-2pm
The friendly butcher explained that his organic turkey aren't slaughtered til December, but conventional turkey is available for €9.20/kg. Order before November 20th to pick up your turkey on Thanksgiving.

Kaufhauf des Westens (KaDeWe), Tauentzienstraße 21, Berlin-Schöneberg (map)
Tel. 030/21212415 (poultry counter)
Open M-Th 9.30am-8pm, Fr-Sat 9.30am-9pm
The garrulous head of the poultry country told me Thanksgiving in Berlin hasn't been the same since the American military families left, but the KaDeWe keeps a range of birds in stock up to the big day. Battery turkeys are 6.98/kg, organic ones are 13/kg (update: but it seems even these are not free-range). He sells giblets for 5.98/kg. Order by the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Wedding
Fleischerei Uwe Bünger, Müllerstr. 156, Berlin-Wedding (map)
This bustling local butcher sells free-range Neuland turkeys whose living conditions are carefully monitored. 14.90/kg, giblets (heart, liver, neck) are included for free. Order by November 17th for a Thanksgiving pick-up.

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The stuffing/dressing
Since you can't turn to admittedly-terrifying bags of stuffing mix, you'll want a sturdy white bread that won't fall to bits nor stay too stodgy. Let me suggest cubing Soluna's La Boule or else what's called französisches Landbrot and sold at many of the organic bakeries (you'll find a photo here). Vacuum-packed chestnuts are easy to find in Berlin grocery stores and often more affordable than in the States, so I'm fond of them as an addition.

The mashed potatoes
Adretta potatoes have always worked well for my garlicky mash. Look out for potatoes described as mehlig or mehligkochend (ie floury potatoes): they're the best substitute for russets.

The pies
I've never been such a fan of canned pumpkin, so I can't say it's something I hanker for, though you can find it at the KaDeWe and Broken English. For the best pumpkin to use for pie in Berlin, see this new post I wrote. Lately, I've abandoned spices altogether, savoring the plain flavor of the squash itself, but if I were in the market for that mix of cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg, I would visit Pot & Pepper. And if you want apple pie, well, most Cox and Elstar apples are great for baking, keeping their shape and striking a balance between sweet and sharp. Most organic shops stock pecans while happily, the wonderful Kochtail comes to the rescue for those in need of a pie pan.

The sweet potatoes
Süßkartoffel are sold at most organic shops in the city, including the Bio Company chain. Broken English carries bags of marshmallows for 2.70 a pop at all their locations.

The cranberry sauce
Cranberries can be found at Kaiser's grocery stores and most organic shops, though as Daniel warns you, shop early to avoid disappointment.

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Turkey on the town

Suzy Fracassa of Fortuna's Feast is hosting four nights of Thanksgiving goodness (Update 2014: November 22 only, 20 EUR for turkey and all the trimmings, 28.50 EUR will get you soup and dessert too) at her much-beloved supper club. Reading the line-up -- spiced roasted carrots, homemade rum cranberry sauce -- my mouth began to water. There are also meatless options for vegetarians. Book early! feast [at] fortunastable dot de .

RosaCaleta offers two seatings for its Jamaican Thanksgiving with jerk turkey and more. Dinner is €37.50.

The Midtown Grill, a Potsdamer Platz steakhouse, has a Thanksgiving buffet including drinks for €69 per person onThursday, November 27th (6pm-10:30pm).

The American Church in Berlin is hosting their 8th annual Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, November 27th. I haven't heard the best things about the food served, but the atmosphere is said to be warm and welcoming. Update 2012: The 10th edition now; do reserve in advance.

What else?
Do leave a comment with your own suggestions or questions so that this guide may evolve.

Comments

Excellent, on my "To Do list" for next week is to source a good Turkey for Christmas. I used to buy gorgeous slow growing bronze turkey from Judy at Goodman's Geese. It was hung for about a week and the skin was nice and dry.
I can't even begin to imagine how I will be able to explain all my complex turkey wishes in my still non-existant German!!!

You might want to warn people to get their cranberries early, since by the last week, they are totally gone. Actually, that's true for most American-ish things on the list...

As for pie plates, I found a German-made one on ebay, so they do exist. Otherwise, they come over in suitcases! I do have two disposable ones that I can part with, though...

i am so hungry right about now!

In the supermarkets here in the US I have noticed an intriguing product called "Tofurkey." Is this available in Berlin too?

Suzy, you're right -- I wonder if I could find a German to write up a little Thanksgiving phrasebook?

Daniel, point taken. I'm always sanguine about things like cranberries and then scramble, cursing, at the end. Let's see who takes you up on your pie pans -- a giveaway, perhaps?

Jonquil, mhmm, me too, after writing all that.

David, I imagine we could process S's Wheetie sausages into something of that kind, eh?

*sigh*. will you be back in town by thanksgiving?

Brilliant post!

Kristina, I'm back, and looking forward to celebrating!

Luisa, thank you :-)

Thank you so much for this post. It has helped me so much with planning my own American Thanksgiving in Berlin :) I am so grateful!

Amy, I was so touched by your comment. Thank you!

Hi! I'm an American student in Berlin, I'm all alone, and I haven't celebrated Thanksgiving in four years. :( Do you know of any public dinners where I could go and celebrate Thanksgiving with other Americans? I was considering just going to Hard Rock Café, but I'm afraid it will be a normal restaurant atmosphere, and I'll be alone. Suggestions?

I've just heard that Rosa Caleta is doing a Jamaican Thanksgiving Thursday evening. Might be fun! I've added it to the list above & see details here: http://rosacaleta.com/diary/?page_id=36

As I said, Little Otik said they've got Thanksgiving-inspired food but I know that's not quite the same as a big turkey on the table. & as far as I know Feast is booked out.

There's the Midtown Grill at the Hilton (details added above) but I imagine that will be pretty corporate.

Otherwise, well, I wish I knew more cozy places doing a proper Thanksgiving spread that still have room at the table! Entrepreneurs take note, there's really a hole in the market.

Hi Penni..."American student in Berlin....."
looking to share a Thanksgiving dinner with.

I will go to a place called Leroy Joys in Prenzlberg. If you want, we could meet up there. Or just come alone. I think it will be a nice place. I called and its probably best to come after 19:00 and they say they have a good dinner. William

Hi Again Penni-I forgot to post the adress for Leroys Joy Restruant. so here it is: Sredski Strasse 30-Prenzlauer berg.
Good luck and I hope you find a good meal!

William, thanks for the message! I'll add Leroy Joys to my list. Let us know how the food is.

I know this is an old thread, but I landed on this page by googling "Where to buy a pie pan in Berlin," and I thought I'd add my tip. I found an almost American-style pie pan at a store called Xenos (it's a chain of sort of low-end home decorations - the one I went to was in the Neukölln Arkaden mall, by Rathaus Neukölln). The sides are a little steeper than a classic American pie pan, but otherwise it's about right, & it was only about 6 Euros.

Have you already thought about a similar list for this year? I have trouble finding anything apart from Rosacaleta and a place in Rosa-Luxemburg Str.

Angel of Berlin, you've inspired me to do just that. What's the place in R-L-Str?

Hi S, here are additional tips from me:

- When I spoke to Rogacki on the phone last year (2011), they said they would have some extra turkeys around for Thanksgiving and ordering wasn't a must. I didn't end up going there, but I did use a Rogacki turkey for Christmas the year before that, brined, and it was delicious.

- For pies, I also use Hokkaidos, but rather than roasting as in the tutorial you suggested, I just cut in half, clean and steam - yields a softer pumpkin that almost purées itself.

- My pie-crust tip: I find that standard German 405 flour results in very hard, not flaky, crust. I substitute cornstarch or gluten-free flour for about 1/3 of the flour.

- Cranberries: I spotted some at my Edeka last week, German grown(!) but pricey - about 3 Euros for half a pound.

- Sweet potatoes - I've found them to be cheaper at Turkish supermarkets and sometimes even at the LPG Biomarkt than at normal grocery stores.

- Here's how to make homemade cranberry sauce with the traditional 'canned' shape:
http://www.foodinjars.com/2011/11/home-canned-cranberry-sauce-made-in-a-tin-can-mold/

This year I'm just going to take a more liberal (or lazy) one-dish approach to Thanksgiving and simply roast a chicken over potatoes, parsnips and carrots, but I do appreciate your thoughtfulness in compiling these tips! I am THANKFUL for you and Berlin Reified. :)

I have also been wondering - what is the reason Americans search for vanilla extract? Do you find the results from vanilla sugar so different? I do sometimes wonder about the proportions for substituting, but I usually just wing it and it seems to be fine. Then again, I'm more of a cook than a baker so maybe I'm missing a subtle difference...?

Leslie, thank you for the great advice! I've never tried steaming hokkaidos before. I must confess I'm one of those vanilla extract addicts: the right one (and there are many wrong ones) will add a clear, singing note, where vanilla sugar is more of a background glow...

Two things of note- Hudson's carries Vanilla extract- in the large half liter bottles for general baking, and in the smaller Bourbon Vanilla bottles for where vanilla is the main flavor. I do advocate making your own, though, as people seem to be more impressed when you tell them this.

Second- I use the smitten kitchen pie crust primer for the flakiest crust ever- you leave chunks of butter in the pie dough and the bake beautifully. And I use all 550 flour.

Daniel, good to know. Vanilla extract is my project for once I'm back in Berlin, and I'm eager to taste the results. And ah, the flour question...

Ooh, Daniel, so 550 is a good bet? I wasn't sure about that... whether it is just finer or also lower in gluten.

Also, here is an explanation from a fellow Berliner, The Wednesday Chef, of how to make great pie from scratch with butternut squash:
http://wednesdaychef.typepad.com/the_wednesday_chef/2005/11/kay_rentschlers.html

Leslie, I think 550 is coarser than 405, with very slightly more gluten, and closer to all-purpose flour, whereas 405 is closer to pastry flour. My results seem to depend a lot on which particular brand of flour I'm using, though.

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