Few things are more universally beloved than chocolate. While the Swiss might be world champions in this arena, nearby Germany does a fine job as well.
Two brands in Germany's capitol of Berlin allow you to craft your very own chocolate bar.
Ritter Sport is one of the most popular chocolate brands in Germany with its headquarters in the town of Waldenbuch, just outside of the city of Stuttgart. Their inexpensive, quality bars can be found in any grocery store, but a visit to one of their workshops provides a schokolade lovers' dream - a chance to design your own customized chocolate bar!
Another. more high-end, option in the same area of Mitte is Rausch Schokoladenhaus. This fanciful chocolate house offers a similar experience. Located just off Gendarmenmarkt. one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin, the elegant shop on the first floor drowns you in delicious smells upon entering, with hundreds of different chocolate options from truffles to pralines to bars to famous Berlin structures made in chocolate. Upstairs is the floor where you can craft your own chocolates and enjoy an informative exhibit, with the top floor home to cafe with revolving conveyor belt of sweets.
No matter where you choose, your chocolate-loving heart is going to leave happy.
Making Your Own Chocolate Bar
A visit from my parent's meant we should try our hand at being Willy Wonka. We choose Ritter and experimented with 4 different hand-crafted chocolate bars.
Ritter's motto of "Quadratisch. Praktisch. Gut." ("Squared. Practical. Good.") is thoroughly German, but visitors are allowed to get a little wild with add-ins of red peppercorn, gold stars and even seasonal specials like lebkuchen (gingerbread).
We entered the busy two-story shop, museum and cafe just off of Gendarmenmarkt and joined the long line of customers waiting to make their own chocolate. Each bar is €3.90 and comes with a selection of light or dark chocolate plus 3 add-ins. Even if there is a long line, it moves quickly as people make their selection by card and shuffle closer to chocolate paradise. We only had a moment to ponder our choices before we were up and I hastily decided on dark chocolate, raspberry, yogurt bits & coco nubs.
There was a 40-minute wait to collect the chocolates, but a full shop, small free museum with short film (English & German) on the history of chocolate and bathrooms allowed us a moment of respite from our busy day of sightseeing. Seated by the window in the upstairs cafe, we sipped on chocolatey coffee drinks that came with a small side of chocolate. Diabetics beware...
Out of all of our selections, the adventurous milk chocolate, chili powder, red peppercorn & caramelized almonds bar was the least successful, but still edible. The rest were a resounding success and quickly consumed. If your prefer to stick with the tried and true flavors, leave it to the profis (professionals) at Ritter Sport with recommended pairings and pre-made bars.
I also highly recommend the shop at Rausch with its elevated decor and selection of pre-made chocolates. Here, you can also make your own bars on the second floor and see which candy-maker reigns supreme.
The surrounding streets are also filled with sweet shops so you can spend a whole day touring chocolate makers. These two, however, are the only locations where you can create your own chocolate bar. Get creative and enjoy!
Popular Chocolate Terms (with Ritter Flavors)
- Vollmilch – Milk chocolate (Royal Blue Wrapper)
- Halbbitter – Dark chocolate, 50% cacao (Burgundy Wrapper)
- Pfefferminz – Chocolate with peppermint filling (Caribbean Green Wrapper)
- Erdbeer Joghurt – Milk chocolate strawberry and yogurt filling (Light Pink Wrapper)
- Voll-Nuss – Milk chocolate with whole hazelnuts (Brown Wrapper with Hazelnut-Pattern)
- Knusperflakes – Milk chocolate with corn flakes (Golden Yellow Wrapper)
- Voll Erdnuss – Milk chocolate with whole peanuts (Orange Wrapper)
- Ganze Mandel – Milk chocolate with whole almonds (Dark Green Wrapper)
- Marzipan – Dark chocolate with marzipan center (Red Wrapper)
- Alpenmilch – Special milk chocolate with high alpine milk proportion (Sky Blue Wrapper)