Chocolate Enters Every Dish at Berlin’s Fassbender & Rausch

Luxury meals with chocolate in every course grace the plates at Fassbender & Rausch.


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Fassbender & Raush and chocolates courtesy of company

 

If you crave chocolate with an almost religious intensity, make a pilgrimage to Berlin’s high church of chocolate.

One-hundred-fifty year-old Fassbender & Rausch sits on the picturesque Gendarmenmarkt square, appropriately flanked by a pair of actual 18th-century cathedrals. This family-run emporium—now headed by fifth-generation Rausches—bills itself as the world’s largest chocolaterie, comprising a chocolate shop, chocolate café, and Europe’s first chocolate-themed restaurant.

As you enter its hallowed halls, you might be truly brought to your knees by roomfuls of counters and cases arrayed with more than 300 varieties of confections: truffles, liqueur-flavored nougats, nut-studded pralines, chocolate-dipped exotic fruits, planks of nubbly chocolate bark sprinkled with peppercorns and cornflowers, or sour cherries and sesame seeds, plus an army of chocolate teddy bears.

The sumptuous showroom is adorned with massive sculptures: an angel, a frog, a bear, as well as replicas of Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate and imposing Reichstag—all fashioned from chocolate.

To sweeten the pot, appreciate that Fassbender & Rausch uses only the highest quality cacao from its plantations in Papua New Guinea, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Madagascar Costa Rica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

But don’t get stuck perusing praline paradise. Take the elevator up to the second level, where the serious fun really begins.

The elegant, window-lined restaurant offers dessert, lunch, and dinner menus on which every single dish is enhanced by the addition of chocolate—in significant amounts, not just sprinkled on top. Soups, salads, pasta, chicken, fish, and meat selections all feature a carefully chosen chocolate ingredient.

Imagine lotus-root salad with ginger, garlic, and an Ecuadorian dark chocolate-balsamic varnish. Imagine tangy cream-of-beet soup with pickled monkfish and dark Trinidadian chocolate. Roast catfish filet served with wild rice, kimchi vegetables, and a velouté of white chocolate with mint oil. Coq au vin with root vegetables, potatoes, and pearl onions, garnished with dark chocolate and cocoa nibs. Beef filet with scallops, polenta, and a green vegetable medley, prepared with Grenadan dark chocolate. Venison medallions roasted in cocoa butter, with pommes dauphine and a lotus root, wild mushroom, and vegetable medley with dark Peruvian chocolate.

Fassbender & Rausch also serves more than 20 varieties of hot chocolate, custom-made with your choice of ingredients. First, decide between Venezuelan 43 percent milk chocolate and Ecuadorian 70 percent dark chocolate. Then, if you want some alcohol to add a kick, select from rum, amaretto, peppermint liqueur, whiskey-cream liqueur, or even chili essence: Now, that’s hot chocolate.

And for dessert, consider a selection of exquisite mini-tortes: individual masterpieces that marry tastes so masterfully you’ll feel like tossing rice. Choose from such selections as red-wine chocolate mousse with caramelized pears; espresso mousse with coffee ganache on dark sponge cake covered by white chocolate; a marzipan pouch filled with alternating layers of raspberry jam and chocolate sponge cake.

 Clearly, worshiping just once at this chocolate shrine will not suffice. Luckily, there’s a lovely Hilton Hotel just a praline’s throw away. Amen to that.

Fassbender & Rausch, Charlottenstrasse 60/at Mohrenstrasse - 10117 Berlin, 0800-030-1918, Fassbender-Rausch.de/en/.

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