The truffle for 400 Euro, the cucumber for one Euro
In the Frischeparadies (“freshness paradise”) there is everything you need. Above all, however, many exquisite things. A visit to the neighborhood.
There are fish here, it makes your mouth water. From left to right, almost 20 steps, that is as far as the counter goes. Whether monkfish, tuna, oysters or saithe, everything is fresh, everything neatly draped. But you are not allowed to approach. A blue barrier tape signals: just look, do not touch. A young man is already hurrying over. “Can I help you?” he asks. Behind the counter, blue and white tiles with large, elaborate fish motifs are displayed. “Painted by an artist by hand,” the young man explains.
Welcome to the freshness paradise, which lies directly in the Charlottenbogen district. The Frischeparadies is a mixture of a noble delicatessen shop, upscale supermarket and restaurant. The offer is wide. You can buy a cucumber for one euro, but also truffles for 400 euros per 100 grams. Customers walk through the aisles, have steaks packed at the meat counter, inspect the fish or check the vegetables. It is well attended, but not too crowded. You do not wait five minutes at the cash desk.
There is a wine tasting right now. The wine expert is standing between four rows of carefully stacked wine boxes. He just pours a white wine into a glass. Swings it. Drink some of it. He lets the liquid in his mouth slide back and forth before spitting the rest into a bowl. Then he raves about the aroma, the charm, the note, reported by the producer, a country estate in France. Two customers watch, nod, taste too.
Here comes the boss. Thomas Warmer, 38 years old, slim, straight posture, when he speaks, then with calm in his voice. Maybe he must, because it’s his job to keep an overview in between all this: Purchasing, product organization, salesperson and cook attitudes. And twice a day he checks the standards. That means he checks the counters and displays to make sure everything is clean and tidy.
But now he allows himself a short break. He has a coffee brought to one of the high tables in the bistro area. Sitting at the next table is a man about 40. He has just ordered a steak, a campo beef rump steak. “It’s really the most delicious thing,” he says and reports that he comes here at least once a week. In the open kitchen is the Frenchman Regis Louviot. He used to be sous-chef for a star chef in a gourmet restaurant. He has been working in the freshness paradise since 2013 and thinks it is great how he briefly enthuses. Meat counter, fish counter, whatever he needs, he can get it immediately. Open kitchen means that you can watch his steak sizzle. In fact, the chef gives preparation tips if you ask him to.
Many of the regular customers come from upscale gastronomy and they sometimes take 20 kilos of salmon with them. “But also private customers from all over Berlin who want to get something special for Easter,” says Warmer. Everything they sell fresh here comes from the producer without any middlemen. Parma ham, for example, is delivered directly from Italy. Some are aged for 16 months, others up to 36 months.
Warmer finished his coffee. The neighbor finished his steak. Back to work.