Monday, 30 July 2012

The Chocolate Afternoon

How did I manage to leave Fassbender & Rausch without entering a sugar-enduced coma?
This afternoon I took the kids on a small chocolate tour of Berlin. Very small. We only covered the Gendarmenmarkt area of Berlin, the bit where you have the Französische Dom and Deutsches Dom - it's just behind Friedrichstrasse. I have been waiting to take the pair of them to the Ritter Sport shop for ages, but I keep forgetting to do it. In fact if I am honest, I've been hoping that we could stay in Berlin for another 3 years purely based on the Ritter Sport place off Friedrichstrasse. And the reason is because you have to be a minimum of 7 years old to have a shot of wearing a little Ritter Sport white lab coat and getting to go down to the basement to design your own chocolate. Alternatively, I'd be happy if any of you could find a machine that would take 30 years off my age and to hell with the kids; I'll take a day off school and go myself. 

The Ritter Sport shop, buzzing with like minded souls.

So, anyway, this was our first time there and it's a chocolate lovers dream. Seriously. You walk in and there's a huge queue of people waiting at a counter to request a member of Ritter Sport staff to pour melted chocolate into a mould for them and then sprinkle 1 of about 40 toppings on it. It then gets stuck in a fridge for a bit and then popped out of the mould, packaged and sold to you. Yum.

Behind this area is the shop where you can buy a huge range of Ritter Sport chocolate. They have teeny ones, normal sized packs, and huge carrier bags of the stuff. Actually I was very tempted to buy a carrier bag of it - it was only 13 Euros something, which seemed like a total bargain. But I restrained myself, cause I know I would have wanted to eat it all in one night.

No chocolate is too big for us.

Instead I let the kids choose a block each from a massive wall of chocolate. Each bar is only around 85 cents, so that seemed pretty good value to me, and we bought a special '100 years of Ritter Sport' bar for my dad. My mum will be delighted, seeing as he's a diabetic too. Upstairs you can learn all about the process  of making chocolate and visit the cafe. It's a lovely place and I would have been very tempted to stay and try out some of their cakes, but I reckon their cafe is actually dearer than the one on the other stop on our chocolate tour. Because just at the corner of Charlottenstrasse you'll find Fassbender & Rausch.

Fassbender & Rausch in Gendarmenmarkt.

If you want to make your chocolate-loving heart skip a beat, then this is the place to come. It's gorgeous. It's all lovely and dark and chocolatey inside with a distinctly old-fashioned feel - the way a chocolate shop should feel. Darkened glass cabinets with row apon row of stacked chocolate in all the colours of the chocolate rainbow. Turn a corner and there are more dark cabinets filled with just enough gorgeously presented little desserts to make you instantly justify their price as something you deserve. I wish I had visited this place sooner. It's just lovely. And it's the perfect place to send all your touristy friends. Not only can they immerse themselves in the enveloping chocolatey smell that draws you in at the door, but they'll also have the added bonus of seeing all the sights made out of chocolate while they are there, including the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, the Gedachtniskirche, and um... the Titanic. Who cares, there's the possibility that they might bring you back something. It's got to be worth it!

It's so unfair to keep it behind glass.

The staff all speak German and English which makes it even easier to buy chocolate. I decided to ask about the chocolate factory they have in Tempelhof, to see if it was worth going to with the kids. Apparently it is essentially a factory shop (which sounds like it might have good discounts), which has a big window where you can look into the workshop. They said that you can see 'more' in the actual shop, and I guess it probably would be better for kids in the shop. Anyway, I got rewarded for carrying out my conversation in German with a little 'under the counter' piece of chocolate, and the kids each got a bit too. So there's my top tip: take some kids, and ask each member of staff a question in German, and see if you can score some free squares of chocolate off of them.


  1. Oh, oh, oh.
    I need to get me one of those mini-meters.
    Good boy Hamish. Just make Mummy buy one, and then post it to me (and quite frankly I live in the land of chocolate and this post had me drooling....)

    1. They are surprisingly good value. But also really quite heavy. It would actually be possible to work off all the calories you eat just by lifting it from the floor to above your head. I did think it would be a great present to take back to the UK, and even weighed up if I could fit it in my hand luggage... might have to eat a bit at the gate in order to get it through.

  2. Ritter is on my list for the next Berlin trip. And yay for you making it to the fancy chocolate store finally! Isn't the smell just unreal??

    1. Yup, it's lovely! Loved the smell, loved the whole interior, loved the chocolate sculptures! I plan on taking the kids to the cafe at the end of the holidays and treating them to one of those gorgeous little cakes. It'll probably be entirely wasted on them....*sigh*

  3. Wow, I think I put on 10 pounds just reading this post ;-) How yummy do those giant chocolate bars look? I've never heard of 'Ritter Sport' so at first I thought you were blogging about a sport shop LOL! I was looking around for the exercise gear! I once had a job making chocolate truffles and the chocolate wheel was like something out of Willy Wonka, good times...

    1. I was never a massive fan of Ritter Sport - I would see it in the supermarket in the UK, but it wouldn't be a brand I would ever have thought to pick up. But it is nice, and I would love to have a go at making chocolate there! Their little square moulds look so cute! That's got me thinking though that I should see if you can make truffles at Thornton's when I go back (the Thornton's factory is not too far away from Derby)...or maybe I should get a job there ;-)


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