I have a new favorite German tradition.
Last night I flew back to Hamburg from Geneva, and this morning, we went to a bakery to pick up our usual Bretzel. But suddenly, there were new pastries in the window! Ones that weren't there last time!
Berliners! Cream-filled doughy goodies, topped with - in this case - any number of decorations. Vanilla-cream-filled berliners topped with chocolate-and-vanilla shavings; plum-filled berliners topped with plum frosting; champagne-cream-stuffed berliners splashed with bubbly.
Now, I've seen berliners before (and who could forget JFK's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in front of Berlin's City Hall), but I've never seen so many! With such colors! And flavors! And variety!
"What are those?!" I asked my boyfriend.
He shrugged. "Oh, those are eaten at New Year's," he said casually.
And he's right! Apparently, Germans will eat berliners right after the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve (or as they call it, Silvester). A classic little tradition that I'd never heard about before, and that I'm suddenly finding adorable.
"I want one!" I exclaimed, fully recognizing that I was at least 72 hours early to participate in this tradition, but desperately wanting to fit in.
I went with the vanilla-and-chocolate-shavings one, thinking if it turned out to be delicious, I'd get the same one on the 31st, preparing for my very first nibbles of 2017.
...Unfortunately, I didn't really like it. I never thought I'd say this about anything, but I think berliners may simply be too sweet for me. So something tells me I may actually end up skipping this particular tradition on the ultimate day of 2016.
But that's ok. I've tried it once. I've already nibbled.
And I still think it's an adorable tradition.