About Terroir Berlin

Photo Credit: Per Meurling, Berlin Food Stories

Photo Credit: Per Meurling, Berlin Food Stories

Terroir Hospitality is proud to announce its first ever symposium in Berlin. The successful symposium concept for the hospitality industry takes its decade-long track record of building international business relationships, attracting top tier media interest and curating exceptional educational programs for the world’s foremost hospitality professionals to the German capital in order to fuel the already explosive development of the local gastronomy scene. By bringing some of the world’s leading chefs to Berlin and connecting them to local chefs and producers the goal is to spark International exchange and knowledge transfer from professionals who have played a pivotal role in the development of their respective scenes.

Berlin is in the middle of the radical transformation of its culinary offering from culinary wasteland to a hub of unprecedented gastronomic diversity and even innovation. The poor, agricultural conditions of the Berlin and surrounding Brandenburg region traditionally focused consumption on cabbage and beets and Berlin’s historic cuisine is to this day rooted in a functional farmer’s kitchen with hardly any food traditions at all worth mentioning.

Typical dishes you'll find on the menus of traditional, Berlin restaurants today are Eisbein (a cured and boiled pig shank) served with Sauerkraut and mashed peas or Königsberger Klopse (veal meatballs in a white cream sauce with capers and mashed potatoes). The vast, surrounding water systems have also always been full of freshwater fish and trout and char have always been a staple on the city’s menus and particularly loved by locals when smoked. But im terms of culinary relevance Berlin ranks very low and Germans tend to look South for great food.

As a hub for culinary creativity, Berlin has not really been on the global food radar since the invention of the Currywurst in 1949 by Hertha Heuwer (historians argue about whether this invention happened in Hamburg instead) and the glorious moment in 1972 when Turkish immigrant Kadir Nurman put his kebab meat in a roll of bread to please the German palate and thereby invented the Döner Kebab. 

The next decades were dedicated to cold war mongering and thus left little time for quality thinking within food and it was only the fall of the Berlin wall and the following development into a leading refuge for the creative class that finally created the breathing room to think about great food again. This unprecedented wave of young and hungry professionals from all over the world flocking to Berlin during the following 25 years in combination with a rich, ethnic food culture and a massive consumer demand for innovative fare create a powerful base for a food scene with world class potential.

The very recent increasing focus of Berlin’s leading chefs on the region’s terroir is one of the important, last pieces of the puzzle that make up the city’s food scene. It’s a tough undertaking, with a market that’s seen 50 years of relentless, agricultural industrialization and has set quality standards of ingredients at a level where every ambitious chef traditionally had to prioritise foreign products over domestic ones. This is especially true to the regions surrounding Berlin, where agricultural production pretty much had to reboot after the end of the planned economy era during the GDR. Taking the Berlin food scene to the next level is as much about developing the producer and farmer side of this equation as it is about developing the chefs.

Terroir Berlin will invite internationally acclaimed chefs to the city for the first time to start a conversation with Berlin’s culinary leaders and to both share best practices on developing a terroir as well as build bridges to food scenes and communities across the globe. The objective is to highlight the new and innovative work being done by our our culinary heroes and give people tons of delicious reasons to visit Berlin.

- Per Meurling, Berlin Food Stories