Walk down Torstraße on a Saturday morning, and you’ll see the long queue moving and shifting from a distance: Berliners dying to get their hands on the golden brown, hand baked Italian treats, resting peacefully under their delicate blankets of powdered sugar. Oh, and did we mention they’re vegan?
It doesn’t take animal produce to make deliciously flaky pastry filled with velvety cream
Just off Rosenthaler Platz, Lombardy-born Federica Fronterré opened Berlin’s first vegan Italian pastry shop, complete with a barista at the extravagant Rocket espresso machine and two bakers operating the oven. The Sanctuary started not so calmly with the burnout of a marketing manager who realised it was time to fly solo three years ago. “It made me see that I don’t want to work for others. If I have a miserable life, at least I want to do it for my own business,” laughs Fronterré.
The 30-year-old has been a passionate baker since childhood and turned vegan in 2018 because “we’re all smart enough to see where the crisis is going. At this point we’re obliged to change things.” She proves that it doesn’t take animal produce to make deliciously flaky pastry filled with velvety cream: just one bite of the €2.90 cornetto vaniglia will convince even the most dogged defender of dairy. Pair it with a €2 espresso, you’ll enjoy a colazione for less than a fiver. Don’t have a sweet tooth? They also do focaccias, which never cost more than €3.50.
Next to its vegan and covid-proof concept (card payment and takeaway only), The Sanctuary, located in Mitte, is surprisingly low-cost. “Raw materials are very affordable,” Fronterré explains. “Vegan food often only targets people who are well off – I hate that. I want to make sure everyone can afford it.” The top quality paired with the fair price explains the daily queues. The owner herself did not expect such success. “I couldn’t believe it. We really didn’t plan for these numbers!” But Fronterré reacted quickly: a bigger oven is already on the way.
- The Sanctuary, Torstraße 175, Mitte (Wed-Sat 9:30-18:00, Sun 10:00-18:00, but make sure to come before 17:00!)