KADEWE OR KAUFHAUS DES WESTENS IS GERMANY’S LARGEST DEPARTMENT STORE:
When it comes to premium shopping, KaDeWe is the iconic Berlin store most associated with luxury brands. KaDeWe is also Germany’s largest department store.
Although KaDeWe has eight floors of retail space selling fashion wear, household goods, food, etc., the area that most interested me was its gourmet department. A visit to KaDeWe’s food department had been on the cards for some time, so I was really glad that we’ve finally managed to visit this legendary food hall.
Berlin’s Equivalent of Harrods
I have read and heard about KaDeWe’s gourmet food hall, but nothing quite prepared me for the scale of their food department. When the lift door opened at the 6th floor, I was overwhelmed by the amount and range of heavenly foodstuff. It reminded me of Harrods, but KaDeWe is more impressive. There are gourmet cheeses, meats, fresh seafood, chocolates, coffees, teas, champagnes – just about anything. The products are sourced from all over the world and the great thing is that you can sample the fresh produce at the many food bars.
The Cheese Attraction
The Berlin tourism website says that there are some 1,300 varieties of cheese at KaDeWe. This was what ignited my interest in KaDeWe originally. We made a beeline for the cheese counter and, yes, there are plenty of cheese varieties, but I doubt if there are 1,300 types. I asked the lady manning the counter where we could sample some of these cheeses. She pointed us to the cheese bar. Granted it was lunchtime, but I think it was really our eyes that were telling us that we were hungry.
Tony, a cheese fiend, was going to order a platter of French soft cheeses and another platter of hard cheeses. Luckily, I managed to convince him that it’d be too much and so we settled on a soft cheese platter. This consisted of a selection of five French soft cheeses accompanied by slices of baguette.
A Gourmet Cheese Experience
We asked our cheese server for the names of the cheeses in our platter – unfortunately I didn’t quite get all the names as she spoke very quickly in German. One of cheeses I remembered being the Coeur de Camembert au Calvados and another was a fromage de chèvres.
She was rather pleased when we sought her advice on which order to do our tasting. She sensed our interest in cheese and gave us some fig mustard to have with our cheese. The mustard complemented the cheese very nicely and I later bought a jar of it.
When another couple came along and ordered a cheese platter, our friendly cheese lady gave us another portion of the cheese to try. She could see how much we were enjoying our cheese-tasting. We could have sat there the whole afternoon eating cheese, but it was time to check out the other food bars.
Gourmet Food Bars
The food bars at KaDeWe are interesting as they allow visitors to sample the range of gourmet food and drinks that are sold in the store. The seafood bar is particularly tempting. You can select any seafood and have it cooked the way you like it. If we hadn’t filled ourselves with cheese, we would have eaten there. Other bars include a champagne bar, Paul Bocuse bar, coffee and dessert bars.
The fresh seafood counter had amazing fish from all over the world. The fish are very well labelled. Not only do they tell you the type of fish, but also the source, i.e. farmed or wild fish.
We didn’t have time to check out all the food counters, but there are certainly plenty of tempting goodies available, including Niederegger marzipan which I am partial to. The Wintergarten on the 7th floor has more food offerings, but they offer buffet-style dining.
KaDeWe is the kind of food place that we love and I could happily eat here everyday. The food is not cheap, but the emphasis is on freshness and quality. It’s worthwhile visiting KaDeWe’s food hall even if you’re not shopping for food. You’ll find that food in the German capital is not just about currywurst, bratwurst and dumplings.
Kaufhaus des Westens
Map of Berlin