I recently had the opportunity to organize a cooking workshop for a group of international ladies here in Berlin. I decided to go with the theme of bread, the symbolic and almost universal aspect of which was particularly relevant for this audience I thought. I also wanted to show how nice and rewarding it can be to take the time to bake one's own bread every so often - and that it does not necessarily involve special skills nor a long preparation time.
Seven lovely ladies showed up, a mid-sized group which turned out to be a perfect number for a proper exchange to arise - and for me to keep a cool head! We gathered on a Saturday afternoon at my favorite location in Berlin when it comes to private events: Muse in Prenzlauer Berg. Caroline and Tobias, the lovely couple behind Muse, have managed to create a hybrid yet perfectly harmonious venue, that admirably combines an exciting supperclub concept with a daily, fresh and constantly evolving a la carte menu.
After a short while of casual introductions, I presented two types of bread that I discovered while living abroad or traveling, and which both literally obsessed me until I could find or work out good enough recipes to reproduce the wonderful experience at home: Irish soda bread and cornbread. Both were also perfect examples of how quick and easy it can be to bake a truly delicious bread at home, without any special skills, equipment or ingredients.
Still, because we won't stop buying bread from outside, I also invited the participants to bring a loaf of the best bread they have found in Berlin so far - so that we could have a few good tips for bakeries by the end of the event. To accompany the breads, our hosts from Muse had prepared a selection of delicious dips and flavored butters - including tomato chutney, hummus, baba ganoush and avocado butter.
We ended up spending three good hours together, and had a really good time, mostly exchanging food-related recommendations for Berlin as well as personal experience and stories from "back home" in the UK, US, Latvia and France. My recipes were a great success, especially the soda bread which several participants (as well as Muse's chef Caroline, how flattering!) declared themselves willing to try again at home.
The ultimate compliment came a few days later on the message board of the event, with one of our English participants writing that I "should have my own cooking show"! I guess I have watched enough of those to imagine myself on the other side of the table ;-) Still, I was extremely touched and encouraged by the feedback - and am already thinking about my next events!