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As I now live in Berlin, I had to rewatch Goodbye Lenin. In that movie the main protagonist, played by Daniel Brühl, is desperately trying to find some Spreewalder Gherkins for his sick mother. Now Gherkins are a delicious healthy food, low in calories and full of vitamin C, but that is not why Daniel is trying to find Gherkins for his sick mother. He does not believe Gherkins have miraculous healing powers…

Gurken

Hunt for the Red Gherkin

No his mother falls in a coma in East Berlin before the Berlin Wall falls and wakes up after. To avoid submitting his mother to any shock which may be deadly in her condition, he keeps an ideal version of East Germany alive in his apartment. That includes Spreewälder Gurken, which were a big delicacy in East Germany. However like a lot of things from East Germany they became instantly nearly unavailable and outdated once the wall fell, and western goods flooded the stores behind the iron curtain. So our poor Daniel desperately tries to find those Gherkins for his mother. Rest assured the Gherkin hunt is just a subplot of the movie and not the main story of the movie, as you might conclude if you just listened to me.

Anyhow being easily influenced, the next day I had a big craving for firm crispy sour Gherkins. (No sexual connotations attached to this statement. No really none at all you pervs). To my astonishment Spreewälder Gherkins are now to be found everywhere in Berlin stores. They are even now granted Protected Geographical Indication from the EU, recognising the special quality of the soil and climate of the place these Gherkins come from. These Gherkins are grown south of Berlin in the Brandenburg Land (region) and have a history that pre-dates the GDR as they have been cultivated there since at least the 16-17th century.

They are delicious crisp and firm and can be sweet sour or spicy depending on how they are prepared. They are an ideal companion to the German Abendbrot and pairs well with other German comfort foods such as beer, cut meat, German bread, or the only cheese from the Spreewald I have ever eaten, the Schloßkäse, and thus I leave you on a cheesy note as it should be.

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