It's one thing never to have sampled an ingredient, quite another never to have even heard of it. Yet here, spread out on the chef's table among the more familiar limes and lemongrass, is something called galangal.
Friends were sceptical when I told them of my plans to visit Berlin. And it wasn't hard to understand why. Paris has Versailles and food, Rome has the Colosseum and fashion, Athens has the Acropolis and antiquity, Madrid has the Prado and flamenco.
There is a flutter of excitement by the pain au chocolat as a little blonde girl tugs her mother’s arm, “Look!” A giant duck has wandered into the breakfast room. Kiko, the mascot of the Princesa Yaiza hotel in Lanzarote, has started his morning tour, a yellow pied-piper rounding up recruits for the children’s club.