WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM
Every summer, Berliners go wild for ice cream. Hilda Hoy got to the bottom of Berlin’s hot love affair with this cold treat.
Sweet, rich, and indulgent, ice cream has been a much-loved treat ever since mankind figured out refrigeration. But in the last few years, Berlin has been undergoing a veritable ice cream boom. Forget plain old chocolate and vanilla. Say goodbye to brightly saturated scoops laden with artificial colors and additives. Scores of new ice cream shops have popped up all over town, and in practically every neighborhood, small, independent parlors now hawk handmade, top-quality, artisanal flavors that are, needless to say, utterly delicious.
CLASSIC GELATO IN KREUZBERG
Giorgio and Anna Luisa Sau, owners of Anna Durkes gelato (Graefestr. 80, www.annadurkes.com), are originally from Sardinia and were still living in Milan when they visited Berlin for the 2008 marathon. They fell in love with the city and, a few years later, they were able to fulfill a longtime dream and open their own gelato shop in the peaceful, pretty Graefekiez neighborhood in Kreuzberg.
For Giorgio, it was a relief to leave behind a stressful law career and instead spend his days chatting with happy customers. Anna Luisa, a former biologist, combined her scientific background with intensive training from an Italian gelato master to become the culinary whiz behind every luscious scoop that Anna Durkes sells. Their focus is primarily classic Italian gelato flavors like pistachio, hazelnut, intense variations of milk and dark chocolate, and crema al limone, a rich custard with a whiff of lemon. Anna Luisa’s creative, self-devised recipes are a hit too, like the ever-popular Anna Durkes flavor: vanilla with peanuts and chocolate bits. Everything is made “the old way – from scratch,” says Giorgio. Producing without chemical emulsifiers, artificial flavors, and preservatives makes their work harder, but it’s definitely worth it. “You can really notice the difference between something made industrially and something artisanal,” he adds.
While the job is rewarding, it’s also surprisingly grueling to make and sell ice cream. Last year they both worked six months straight without a single day off, so the aim this year is to share the workload with a few trusted staff. Despite all the hard work, nothing beats the feeling of being one of the neighborhood’s favorite spots, and Giorgio greets many of the customers coming through the door by name. Over the last few years, he and Anna Luisa have watched some of their most faithful clientele grow up from ice-cream-loving babies to ice-cream-loving kindergarteners. “I always say this shop is like our living room. That’s the nicest thing about this place,” says Giorgio with a smile.