For over sixteen years, Luc Wolff and Heike Kaschny have been running the restaurant – highly praised in the trade press – “De Maufel” in Berlin. Traditional, Luxembourgish specialities and dishes are re-interpreted with a lot of phantasy and elegance. Refreshingly creative Luxembourgish cuisine in the centre of Berlin. An especially delicious representation abroad.
You don’t forget such a culinary feast. One evening two years ago, I sat with the actor Luc Feit in the Luxembourgish restaurant de Maufel in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district. The chef personally served us one delicacy after the next as I wonderingly ate my way through the imaginative feast.
We were served a piece of heart-warming Luxembourgish cuisine – and that right in the centre of Berlin. A kind of home kitchen, refined in an imaginative way. There was smoked roast beef with a light and fine tarragon-chervil remoulade served with delicate gherkin-mustard chutney and crunchy croutons. Luc Feit chose the Boeuf Bourguignon. Delicate potato slices and champignons shone in a hearty red wine sauce. He called the accompanying mashed potato “aromatic and butterly splendid.”
The dishes in De Maufel stay in your memory – even those from earlier visits, such as the one where we had the tarragon-grape refined Coq au Riesling and an amazing Tarte Flambee “du Chef” with squash, red cabbage, and goat’s cheese.
De Maufel has a long history. How did it all start? In 1983, the Luxembourger Luc Wolff came to Berlin to study art. Today, not many of his guests know that Luc, who represented Luxembourg in the 1997 Biennale in Venice, was, until recently, a high school teacher. It’s thanks to his partner that he underwent a culinary career change. For the nutritionist Heike Kaschny has always had the dream to open a delicatessen in Berlin.
When they were both served Rieslingpastetchen and Crémant in the concert intermission at the then new Luxembourgish Philharmonic Hall, the idea came to them to offer Luxembourgish specialties in Berlin. A short time later, in December 2006, the idea became a charming mix of café, bistro, and delicatessen. The name: “De Maufel.” In Luxembourg, there’s the saying: “e gudde Maufel iessen.” “De Maufel“ comes from „Maul voll“ – a good-sized bite. So, it means “to eat a good-sized bite.”
The home-made Luxembourgish “Rieslingspas- chtéitchen” were an immediate hit in Berlin. Only the name was difficult to remember for the customers. So, the specialty of the house was renamed “Maufel.” “Today, our customers order Maufel or Maufelchen. The name has stuck. We apologize to tourists in Berlin, who come to Luxembourg desperately looking for the Maufel,” Heike Kaschny says.
In the beginning, delicious tartes and tureens, pies, and fragrant brioche were backed in a very small space. “Then we introduced lunch,” Luc Wolff explains. “At some point it was not possible to take on everything ourselves. We had to hire professional chefs.” De Maufel became more and more successful. So much so that in 2011 the testers of Gault-Millau gave the newcomer in Charlottenburg a chef’s hat and 15 points.
“We hope that the Luxembourgers visiting us become homesick,” says the present-day chef, laughing. Since end of 2018, the top chef Valentino Palumbo from the Rhineland-Palatinate helps to conjure up the long- ing for home. More and more creations are offered that also represent the kitchen from the Greater Region. Palumbo likes to be inspired by dishes from Lorraine, Alsace, the Eifel, or the Palatinate.
Nevertheless, Luxembourgish dishes remain the basis in the kitchen. The braised pork cheeks with sweet-sour marinated Brussels sprouts lead one to consciously question globalisation and look to ingredients found before every dish became Mediterranean. Instead of fennel and tomatoes you have red and yellow beets. The regionally famous sweet-sour sauce is accomplished with vinegar and treacle and not lemon and honey.
The kitchen of the De Maufel is complex and certainly modern. A Luxembourgish cuisine that, despite obvious finesse and complexity, has kept the charm of being down to earth. Exactly the kind of charm the Luxembourgish cuisine is famous for.
Article : Joscha Remus
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