On Frankfurt’s Braubachstrasse, it is not just children who stop to take a peek in the store with the striped awning. Here you’ll find people of all ages with their noses pressed up against the glass. Enraptured by the array of brightly colored candy wrappers and sprawling Christmas decorations inside, competing to shine and glisten the brightest. Everywhere you look, the eye feasts on premium-quality chocolate bars from all corners of the globe and sweet treats in all shapes and sizes.
From the two stores it currently operates in the city, chocolaterie “Bitter & Zart” has now been catering to Frankfurt’s foodies and gourmands since 2003. It is a place of sweet temptation, where a glimpse at one of the pralines sends all good intentions flying out the window. But wait a minute! Good intentions? We don’t need to think about those until we clink our glasses of bubbly in a toast to the New Year. Though that doesn’t leave us much time for a guilt-free trip to chocolate heaven. So – step inside!
Just follow your nose: The sweet aromas will lead you straight into the store. On the walls, shelving stretches from floor to ceiling filled to overflowing with sweet delicacies. Marshmallow snowmen stand shoulder to shoulder, joined by marzipan bats, chocolate-coated almonds made to look like olives and white chocolate laced with popping candy, while the large sweetie jars hold treats with curious names such as “school chalk” and “monkey heads”. The center of the room is dominated by round wooden tables groaning under the weight of towers of chocolate bars and tasty Christmas gift ideas. The chocolate praline display presents a cornucopia of handmade pralines waiting for you to put together your own individual selection box. At present a series of sweet specimens in purple and lilac tones makes for a particularly mouth-watering display, each bite promising fine flavors such as pink pepper, apricot or rose blossom.
What we would like to know from the “chocolate queens” behind the counter is whether you develop a resistance to sweet things when working among all these delicacies day in, day out. “Definitely not!” is the answer. “We still like chocolate. After all, eating sweet things is part of our job. To ensure that we can provide our customers with the best advice, we have to be familiar with the entire product range, we have to know what each and every praline tastes like.” There’s also a clear consensus on the chocolaterie’s specialty: “Frankfurter Pflastersteine” (“Frankfurt cobblestones”) are small, square chocolate truffles. But don’t let the name fool you – they literally melt in your mouth.
In March of this year Bitter & Zart moved from Domstrasse to Braubachstrasse – in close proximity to the Römer, one of the city’s most important landmarks, as well as numerous galleries and museums. In addition to the store, the new location also boasts a café for good measure. The contract to create a design concept for the “Salon” was placed in the safe hands of Frank Seidel from creative agency “Knallgrau” in nearby Bad Soden and resulted in a French-style café with a distinctly romantic and nostalgic feel. Classic but not outdated, a little kitsch but by all means original.
Here you can sit at one of the round tables and sip on a hot chocolate accompanied by a little indulgence from the wide selection of cakes, éclairs and tarts behind the elaborately decorated counter. The background music lends the whole place a certain 1920s flair. In keeping with this theme, Frankfurt-based artists Renata Kos and Oriana Fenwick have adorned the walls with playful collages featuring Art Nouveau motifs, a stylistic feature continued through to the store.
So should you find yourself in the city on the River Main, we would certainly recommend a trip to chocolaterie Bitter & Zart. Surely all of those happy hormones they say are released when we eat chocolate are reason enough. And those good intentions we mentioned earlier… they can wait until New Year’s Eve 2013.
Bitter & Zart
Chocolaterie & Salon
Drinking chocolate, marzipan bats and silver almonds: The selection of sweets is huge, photo © Sabrina Spee, Stylepark
Now try to keep hold of your senses!
by Milenka Thomas
21 December 2012
Stylepark on a visit to the chocolaterie “Bitter & Zart” in Frankfurt, photo © Sabrina Spee, Stylepark
Sweets and chocolate wherever you look, photo © Sabrina Spee, Stylepark
The chocolaterie also offers nice gift ideas for Christmas these days, photo © Sabrina Spee, Stylepark
At the chocolate praline display, you can choose from a variety of handmade pralines, photo © Bitter & Zart
The colorful wall collages were created by two artists from Frankfurt, photo © Sabrina Spee, Stylepark
A wide selection of pastries and cakes is offered at the “Salon”, photo © Sabrina Spee, Stylepark
The specialty of the chocolaterie: “Frankfurter Pflastersteine” (“Frankfurt cobblestones”), photo © Sabrina Spee, Stylepark
The “Salon”: A café in romantic, nostalgic style, photo © Sabrina Spee, Stylepark