Who doesn’t want a Parma ham for the holidays? (Vegetarians, put your hands down.) I came across this great spread of hanging hocks at Frische Paradies, a wholesale/retail gourmet outlet on Moresestr. 2 in Charlottenburg/Mitte. Whether you celebrate Christmas, it’s certainly time for gatherings and parties — and that means often buying lots of food, in large quantities — which is where the wholesalers in the hauptstadt come in. (And no, there is no Costco. Thank Gott. But! You don’t have to “belong” to any of these places to buy.) If you plan on doing a large roast or other dish that requires a specialty meat, Frische Paradies is one place to start — yet be forewarned that you will pay a premium.
In addition to the lovely dried ham, there’s a decent selection of Argentinian beef, French Charolais beef (in certainly larger portions than you’d find at Galeries Lafayette) and Irish lamb, among other choices. Most of the meat is fresh and cryo-wrapped (a plastic sealed sack with low oxygen content; gives you a bit more shelf-life if you want to buy ahead.) There’s also lots of fish, lots of cheese (primarily French, but also large blocks of Emmenthaler and the like in large, Pullman-styled chunks you see in delis) and lots of wine — although it’s mostly higher-end and seriously marked-up (and the Champagne selection is middling, sticking to the larger, luxury producers one can find in most major stores.)
Another good wholesale outlet for big foods is Mitte Meer, on Invalidenstr. 50/51, just behind the Hamburger Bahnhof museum. (Here are other locations.) Known to most our readers, Mitte Meer’s collection of foodstuffs is Spanish-inspired, with plenty of olives, chorizo and paella pans one could sled on. Not much in the way of fresh meat (there is, however, plenty of Serrano ham hocks in the chilled closet in the back), but the price for bulk beans and pasta here isn’t bad. (See? I’m vegi-friendly.) The wine collection I like a lot, as you can walk out with a good half-dozen decent bottles of Spanish wine for about 5 Euro a bottle. Another exciting find: frozen flour tortillas (a dozen, 8-inch rounds goes for 1.49 Euro) and cans of refried black beans. Yah, they’re not cheap, but a jones is a jones.
This is just a short list to get your party planning on; I know Ed’s eager to head out to the Asian wholesaler in Friedrichshain, so hopefully more on that adventure later. If you’ve got a good source for your holiday shopping, let us know below.