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Chef in Berlin

Turkish Market in Berlin with Designer “Made by Di”

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>While I’m “On the Road Again” this summer with various Antiques Diva Tours, I’ve asked a few friends and colleagues to write some guest posts. One of those posts is by the amazing Di Venter, the proprietress of Made By Di – she also happens to the designer of our sensational Antiques Diva® Tour bags given to VIP clients! So ta, ta, from me – and Guten Tag from Made By Di!

Kisses,
The Antiques Diva®

Meet Di Venter – the Gorgeous South African born, Berlin-Based Designer and Owner of “Made By Di”

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Dear Diva Readers,

Everyone who crafts has one thing in common – we hoard craft gadgets and supplies!  The supply I am most obsessed with hoarding, above all others, is definitely fabric. I am not sure if this love of fabric is due to my career or my upbringing – my Mum has always sewn for enjoyment and as a result, there were always beautiful fabrics dotted around our home growing up. As to career: In South Africa, I worked first in Interior Decorating, so always had remnant fabric pieces from various jobs, then I worked in Advertising & Marketing for an international fabric house and I always managed to get great fabrics through this. At that point, I was mainly designing & sewing handbags, so the gorgeous fabrics in sample size pieces were a good fit, as handbags do not require great volumes of fabric.

South Africa also has a solid reputation for producing great quality fabrics, and until the recent influx of cheap Chinese fabrics, we had many fabric mills operating and flourishing within our borders. Cost of living is considerably lower in Africa, so production wages are lower, leading to more reasonably priced goods. Combine that with a culture of handcraft and the result is that you can find a sewing supply store in almost every shopping center in South Africa.

Berlin Turkish Market

When my hubby & I first spoke about our potential move to Berlin, the first thing that went through my head was the idea that Berlin, with it’s creative reputation would be a great place to source fabrics and other sewing supplies. Especially as many of the sewing supplies I regularly used were produced in Germany. I expected a sea of sewing supply stores! You can then understand my disappointment when we arrived, only to find that I had to hunt out sewing supply stores! And when I found them, the cost of supplies was staggering! For a single 35cm Prym zip I paid more than 5x what I was used to paying for a 35cm Prym zip in SA. The irony being that Prym is a German company! Fabrics that in South Africa are priced at 2€ a meter were priced at 10€ a meter here! Oh how my heart sank. That is, until a good friend – Chef in Berlin – introduced me to the Turkish Market on Maybachufer.

Chef in Berlin & The Antiques Diva®

You can buy pretty much anything here –lamb, flavoured mustards, breads, cheeses, olives, good Turkish delight, scarves, shirts, jackets, kids’ wear, fresh veggies, spices, nuts, fresh fish, and even shoes… !   My friend The Antiques Diva picked up these great sandals for her summer fun!

Berlin Market

On top of all these other great purchases…. You can buy fabric at the Turkish Market in Berlin!!!

The price point starts at 1.50€ a meter, and while you do have to be aware of seconds and look for flaws, there is a lot of top quality fabric to be had. It has been my experience that vendors measure honestly, and are open to bargaining, especially on end of rolls.

I have found the same fabrics that can be found at the Turkish market in various stores around Berlin – the same quality as well – for more than double the prices. Low overheads, and I suspect bringing them in directly from other (EU?) countries, allows them to still make their margins at a much lower price to the shopper. The range is quite amazing as well. I have bought wools, cottons, lace, taffetas and silks.

As I make quite a few ‘children targeted’ items, one of my favorite vendors (where there is always a queue) sells a huge range of spotted fabrics, woven cotton checks, and various prints that are great for kids. His fabrics are generally good quality, 100% cotton, and the print is perfect. His prices are very good, and he is there every market day.

A tip: want to know if a fabric is cotton? Burn a little bit! If it makes ash, gives off little smoke and smells like burning paper, it is cotton. Here is another helpful guide.

photo credit Chef in Berlin

Another favorite of mine is the man who sells interfacing, wadding, ribbons, bias binding and lace (as well as many other things). I buy decent weight & quality wadding for quilts from him for 6€ a meter that can be bought in quilting shops for around 17€ per meter. Sadly, I only found his store AFTER I bought horse hair interfacing (used in handbag production) online from the UK. He sells it for less than 1/3 of what I had it shipped in for! I do have to confess that his range of crocheted lace, ribbons and such, makes my little heart sing!

Turkish Market Berlin

Photo credit Chef in Berlin

A day trip to the market is well recommended whether to experience Berlin culture, a bite of ethnic food or to do like I do and stock up on craft and sewing supplies in Berlin!

The Turkish Market is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:30. Go just before closing time (18:30) and be assured of good bargains on fresh produce.

Happy Shopping!
Made by Di

 

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Poor Man’s Caviar

top:5px;float:left;color:white;background:#781300;border:1px solid darkkhaki;font-size:100px;line-height:90px;padding-top:1px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Dear Diva Readers,

Earlier this week, CHEF in BERLIN guest blogged on The Antiques Diva ® site giving all the Diva Details of Caviar. At the end of the her article she mentioned something called “Poor Man’s Caviar” – a French dish that bakes whole eggplants and mixes them with a head of garlic to make “Caviar D’Aubergine”

CHEF in BERLIN explains that when you roast a whole eggplant it’s center becomes warm and mushy – add to that a whole roasted garlic clove – and it’s diva divine party food! She advices “Add some freshly grated parmesan cheese, sea salt and pepper. Easy, tasty and ever-so-simple.”

CHEF in BERLIN goes on to explain, “There are lots of alternatives to this recipe with the addition of lentils, peppers and other stuff but in my mind – simplicity works well here. Slather it on a chunky baguette, and sip some champagne.”

Poor Man’s Caviar – preheat oven to 350F/170C

1 whole eggplant (washed)
1 whole head garlic
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
2 teaspoon oil
salt & pepper to taste

Scrub the eggplant and poke it several times with a fork. Place it on a foil lined baking sheet. Cut the top off a head of garlic, drizzle it with oil and loosely pack it in foil. Put it on the same sheet as the eggplant and bake for 45-60 minutes. It’s cooked when the eggplant deflates. When cool, slice open eggplant an scoop out the flesh and put it in the blender. Squeeze out the garlic and add it with the remaining ingredients. Puree, et voila! You can also add a few teaspoons of Sambal Olek to jazz up the taste. Bon Appetit!

Take a tongue in cheek approach to entertaining and pair your dip with individual caviar servers for diva entertaining at its finest!

Happy Cooking,

The Antiques Diva

P.S. Shop our Designer Tag Sale for more caviar accessories!

Guest Blog from Chef in Berlin: Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

Below is a Guest Blog from the wonderful “Chef in Berlin”!

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 100px; line-height: 90px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>You don’t need to lead the life of the rich and famous to enjoy “Champagne Wishes or Caviar Dreams.” 

When I saw the new “Designer Tag Sale” The Antiques Diva® & Co was offering on their website, I was like a kid in a candy store.  A multitude of gorgeous caviar presentation dishes caught my eye and I told the Diva that as CHEF in BERLIN” it was practically my obligation to write a Guest Blog to share some Caviar details with you!  

Rosenthal Champagne and Caviar Cooler

Have you ever wondered what real caviar actually is? The world’s leading producer is Iran at 300,000 metric tons, followed by Russia’s Soviet States. Both countries border the Caspian Sea which is the world’s largest salt-water lake.  Caviar is actually a type of fish egg called roe. Exactly like Champagne has its own designation, caviar traditionally comes from the sturgeon roe. Today these eggs come from a wide variety of fish like beluga (the most expensive up to $25,000/kg), trout, salmon, and other sorts of fish that are raised to produce the eggs. Beluga is the most prized and the price is directly relevant to the age of the fish. Apparently the older Beluga sturgeon can take up to 20 years to mature and their eggs range in color from black to pearly white. 

Saint Hilaire Caviar Knife

When eating caviar, it’s all about the accessories!  Caviar is typically eaten with a bone, horn or mother-of-pearl spoon or spreading knife since a metal or silver one imparts a metallic taste.  Another way to serve caviar is with a gold spoon as it also has qualities that do not impact the taste. 

Aficionados and purists might not agree on all of the typical caviar garnishes but one thing they do agree with is that caviar should be enjoyed with either ice cold vodka (my favorite way to consume caviar) or, as The Antiques Diva® does, with “un coup de champagne”. 

Saint Hilaire Caviar and Vodka Presentation Set

There are loads of caviar imposters like lumpfish (hard black or red colored eggs), salmon or trout (orange/red in color), or whitefish (golden color). Last week I saw green caviar which is some sort of manufactured wasabi product – it seems to be popular on the sushi circuit for its bright psychedelic green hue.  They are sort of the “proseccos and sparkling wines” of the caviar circuit.

As I know Diva Readers love La France, I must share with you that France has its own type of caviar called Poorman’s Caviar. It’s not fish eggs but rather a whole baked eggplant mixed with a whole roasted head of garlic. Slather it on a chunky baguette and sip some champagne!  Perfect budget-friendly party food!

Champagne Kisses and Caviar Dreams,

CHEF in BERLIN
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Jill DiGiovanni is “CHEF in BERLIN” – a Germany-based Canadian who has taken Berlin by storm with her great selection of gourmet offerings.  She’s a personal chef for hire who offers in home catering, private cooking lessons and custom menus for busy people. Visit www.chefinberlin.com for more information.

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