Everything is fancy on Friedrichstrasse, the high-end shopping street that runs through Berlin’s Mitte district. But while I can’t afford anything from Versace’s Spring collection, I can at least treat myself to something sweet at the chocolatiers Fassbender & Rausch.
Standing in one corner of the Gendarmenmarkt, next to the Hilton Hotel, the 2 storey ‘Schokoladen hause und café’ (does this really require a translation?) is like a German version of Charlie’s Chocolate Factory. If you’re keen on chocolates, you’ll love this. More than 200 sqm of pralines, truffles, bars and sculptures (yes, I said sculptures), in all shapes and sizes, fill the shelves and counters till there’s barely enough space for anyone to walk.
And now that Easter is almost here…
Prettily decorated in hues of pink, blue and yellow, hundreds of chocolate eggs and rabbits beckon to be grabbed off the shelf and crammed into the mouth.
In order to avoid embarrassing myself this way, I hurried up to the café for a more civilized sort of indulgence – afternoon tea of ‘heisse schokolade und kuchen’ (hot chocolate and cake). This is something I highly recommend – especially if you’ve just been walking around Friedrichstrasse and the Gendarmenmarkt on a chilly day.
Of the drinking chocolates, there are 3 different intensities of kakao to choose from: 43%, 70% and 80%. The 43% is a milk chocolate version, whereas the 70% and 80% kakaos are made from dark chocolate and are more full bodied and robust than the 43%.
You can then select what you want to have your hot chocolate with: cream or milk; chilli, red pepper, orange or ginger; and for those who like a tipple – rum. You can also have some other fancy concoctions that include ice-cream and such.