This is an archived post. For the latest details on Thanksgiving in Berlin, please click here.
But now that the autumn leaves are gathered, let’s talk turkey! Buoyed by the turkey-themed magazines on the newsstands here I’ve begun dreaming about this year’s Thanksgiving spread. I know from previous years that November 25th will be here in a flash. In a fit of industry I spoke with various butchers, shops and chefs, and I've written up a few notes to help my fellow Berliners plan your Thanksgiving feast. This is very much a work in progress, so do let me know what to add.
Update 2012: Forgive me but I haven't managed to call around to the butchers and update the ordering details.
Germans eat turkey for Christmas, if at all, so it's good to organize your bird in advance, particularly if you want an organic turkey. Plan on 500 grams per person when ordering, more if you're fond of leftovers.
Friends have recommended the following local butchers. Be sure to clarify the giblet situation in advance: A few butchers include the traditional heart, stomach and livers. Others ask you to buy these items in advance, and you sometimes need to ask for them separately.
Of course, 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. Do let me know if you have a butcher in an unlisted district to recommend!
Rogacki, Wilmersdorfer Str.145/46, Berlin-Charlottenburg (map)
M-W 9am-6pm Th 9am-7pm, Fr 8am-7pm, Sa 8am-4pm
Tel. 030 3438250
"Ganz normale" battery turkey are available for 6.95/kg. Giblets are included for no additional charge. Order by November 22 for a Thanksgiving pick-up. Update 2012: Leslie says they've got turkeys on offer even when not ordered in advance.
Fleischerei Domke, Warschauer Str. 64, Berlin-Friedrichshain (map)
M-F 6:30am-10pm, Sa 7:30am-10pm, Su 10am-10pm
Tel. 030 2917635
No details on their turkey prices yet (tell me if you know?) but their birds and sides are said to be amazing.
Fleischerei Gottschlich, Prenzlauer Allee 219, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg (map)
Not only does Mr. Gottschlich sell turkeys, he's also accommodated requests for turducken and short ribs. He says his English isn't so good but he was charm itself in German.
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 8.39/kg. He sells turkey liver for gravy; all other parts need to be ordered separately. Order by November 19th 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.
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 the 19th for a Thanksgiving pick-up.
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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.
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. In Berlin, I turn to the hokkaido for pumpkin pie filling (to make see this detailed tutorial). 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. You'll have to buy your pie pan on Amazon though, or does someone know a source in Berlin? Or see a special offer for homemade organic pies below...
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. Update: German-grown cranberries are on sale this week at the viv BioFrischeMarkt organic shops for 3.49 for 200 grams.
Odds & Ends
Where to buy vanilla extract is a perpetual question. Here's a wonderful recipe to make your own, or you can buckle in and pay a lot for it. Goldhahn & Sampson carries organic fairtrade vanilla by Steenbergs (100 ml for 12 EUR) and the KaDeWe has McCormick's the last time I checked.
Turkey on the town
Update 2012: Kitchensurfing is organizing a Thanksgiving feast to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. 30 EUR includes all the trimmings. November 22nd, Lausitzer Str. 10, Berlin-Kreuzberg.
Update 2012: Sadly Becca is no longer doing private catering. If you're celebrating at home, Rebecca Cole of Everyday Catering Berlin will take care of your sweets and sides, including all-organic pumpkin, apple and chocolate pecan pie, sweet potato casserole and homemade cranberry sauce. I tried her pumpkin pie last year and it was scrumptious. Find her complete Thanksgiving specials here. 10% off if you mention Berlin Reified.
Suzy Fracassa of Fortuna's Feast is hosting four nights of Thanksgiving goodness (Update 2012: 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 is doing a Jamaican Thanksgiving with jerk turkey, pineapple and clove-roasted pork, sweet potato souffle and more. Vegetarian subs are available, and dinner is a steal at 24 EUR (Update 2012: 29 EUR). Reserve your spot at info [at] rosacaleta dot de .
Kevin Avery of Little Otik tells me that while he isn't planning anything specific for Thanksgiving, they will have pumpkin pie and some Thanksgiving-inspired dishes around the 25th. He says "I think Americans looking for their Thanksgiving fix would be happy with a meal at Little Otik!" and I'm sure he's right.
The Midtown Grill, a Potsdamer Platz steakhouse, has a Thanksgiving buffet including drinks for 49 EUR per person (Update 2012: 69 EUR per person) on Thursday November 22nd (6:30pm-11pm). (I'm not sure it's a good sign that this information is only available in German.) (Update 2012: In English now.)
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.
Do leave a comment with your own suggestions or questions so that this guide may evolve!