Head to the Ritter Sport Bunte Schokowelt on Französische Straße 24, Berlin. Just off the Gendarmenmarkt and very near Berlin’s most popular monuments, it’s a sweet end to a day of sightseeing. You may stare worshipfully outside for a few moments before entering. This, after all, is your temple.
At the time of your visit, there may or may not be hordes of weary parents and sugar-crazed children. Gently but firmly make your way past them to the end of the queue. Wait your turn to pay for the number of chocolate bars you wish to make; a standard-size 100g square costs €3.90 (US$ 1.25 or about Php 210).
Choose your chocolate: milk or dark. (White chocolate is available from September 2012.) Resist the urge to stick your jaw under the spout of free-flowing chocolate.
Let your imagination run wild! Choose from a list of 25 ingredients and three special ingredients of the month. At the time of our visit, these were pieces of candied sour-apple, raspberry, and lemon. Helloooooo lemon.
I chose milk chocolate with candied lemon, dark chocolate with chili, and dark chocolate with rose pepper and raspberry. Marlon blew me out of the water by creating themed bars: Filipino (banana and rice crispies), breakfast (yogurt, rice crispies and cornflakes), and Asian spice (rose peppers, chili and anise).
Watch over the counter as the Ritter Sport staff make your chocolate. They jot each order onto a numbered slip that corresponds to a square plastic mold (for that distinctive Ritter Sport shape!). Then they measure out the ingredients and mix them into the chocolate.
They pour the chocolate into the distinctive square molds, and bang each one against the counter to remove air bubbles before putting them in the chiller to set.
By the way, not only are the Ritter staff super-efficient (gotta love that about Germans!), but they are chatty, cheerful and great with kids.
Now, the toughest part: waiting. Try to contain your excitement while the chocolate sets. This is a good time to explore the rest of the store.
In fact, don’t just explore. Go wild and stock up. At 85 cents vs €2 per bar, Ritter Sport is cheaper here than on the street. The selection is awesome—far more than just your regular flavors.
Optional: head upstairs to the cafe for hot chocolate and cakes. Square-shaped, of course!
After 30-40 minutes, hand your numbered slip to the guy at the end of the counter. He will take your chocolate out of the chiller and wrap each one, slipping in a card to remind you of the ingredients you used.
If you are Asian, pose with your chocolate.
If not, skip to the next and final step: unwrap your very own Ritter Sport creations…
… eat and enjoy!
Chocoholics and Ritter Sport fans, I’d love to hear from you! Which Ritter Sport flavor is your favorite? And what would you love to make as a custom flavor?