The ubiquitous Berlin snack from Artisan Foods
“I have just come back from Berlin,” shouts Klaus down the phone from a ferry bound for the Isle of Wight: his home, if not—you may have guessed from the name—his place of origin. “They are everywhere there. Every station exit and entrance there is a stall selling sausages and pretzels.” There are pretzels of every size and variety, from original—that’s the one with the glinting crystals and St Tropez sheen—to sesame, caraway seeds, cinnamon sugar, bacon and cheese.
Their most common features are the lye treatment—that is, washing the dough in soda (less grim than it sounds) and the shape of them: like a love knot, but tastier and far less troublesome. This pretzel—the one Friday feeling have all week been savouring on your behalf—is neither knotted nor, superficially at least, all that tanned to look at. Instead, true to form, your faithful Friday feeling team opted for pretzels positively smothered in high quality cheddar cheese.
“It’s a good choice,” affirms Klaus, a chef and a baker as well as the owner of Artisan Foods, so we feel we can trust him. “I think pretzel with frankfurter is excellent. A plain one or with cheese.” It’s great with a nice beer, too: Klaus recommends something wheat-based, and we happily oblige by heading to Utobeer. It is, after all, Friday. But what of the thing itself: Artisan Food’s finest pretzel, rendered into a roll and then rolled up in cheese?
Huggably soft and squishy
It’s delightful. It’s not much to look at (see above) but it is huggably soft and squishy. Pale dough stretches like a hammock when you tear a piece off, splitting the dense blanket of cheese like a skein. The scent of malt and salt is subtle, but there’s no mistaking its yeasty warmth beneath the thick, cheesy layer which, while no longer hot, still retains that gooey, just-melted feeling.
Forget cupcakes. Forget pasties. Fresh, cheesy pretzels are what every station in London needs. But for now, this treat from Artisan Foods is the best you’ll get outside Berlin.