Erich Hamann Bittere Schokoladen

Traditional chocolatier since 1912

They’re a rare, yet comforting, sight: two smiling, solid chocolate Santas, one made from dark bitter chocolate, the other from creamy milk chocolate. These delightful creatures, available for a short period before Christmas, are just two of the exquisite sweets lovingly handmade for three generations by German chocolate masters Erich Hamann Bittere Schokoladen in Berlin.

The family-run business was founded in 1912 by Erich Hamann, who opened his first shop in the immediate vicinity of several private schools in Berlin’s illustrious Kurfürstenstrasse. Legend has it that his main clientele were schoolgirls who expressed their preference for dark, less sweet chocolate than was customary at the time. The business-wise confectioner responded by elevating it to his specialty, and added the German words for “bitter chocolate” to the company name to make it official.

Business boomed throughout the next decade, with seven shops throughout Berlin, clients across Europe, and a reputation for quality and service. By 1928, Hamann moved his central shop, production facility, and family residence into a building he commissioned from Swiss painter and architect Johannes Itten. The Second World War, however, brought the business to a grinding halt, and Hamann died shortly thereafter, in 1949.

Yet the family spirit, along with the company headquarters building, remained intact. Erich Hamann’s wife, Anna, supported by a dedicated staff, rebuilt the business. In time, son Gerhard and his wife Ingrid took over, followed by grandson Andreas, continuing Erich Hamann’s legacy of excellence.

Throughout its hundred-year history, much has remained the same at Hamann Schokoladen, which might just be a key to its lasting success. The headquarters and the family are at the same address in western Berlin, the original lettering across the façade proudly identifying it as the “Erich Hamann Haus.”

There is the iconic packaging, with Erich Hamann’s signature and the modernist crosshatching that Anna designed early on. The chocolates are still crafted by a handful of family-trained artisans according to original recipes and methods. The legendary chocolate bark is produced on the machine that Erich himself developed nearly a century ago, with a leather belt drive and granite roller, which allegedly lends the bark a unique taste that more modern steel rollers cannot match.

At the same time, the business has adapted to the times. Alongside the traditional range of bars, pralines, and the airy, indulgent bark are limited editions often produced in response to customer requests, featuring the likes of sea salt, chili, and diverse nuts.

And then there are seasonal highlights, such as the famous Knackeier Easter eggs, whose delicate dark shell cracks as you bite into a delectable marzipan filling. And the solid chocolate Santas, of course, which are highly exclusive: They can only be produced one at a time, for there is only a single mold, and no prospects to replicate it.

In addition to its central shop in Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Erich Hamann Schokoladen can be found in select boutiques such as Andreas Murkudis—where my dear friend Leslie Sun and I experienced our first taste of this divine chocolate, and decided to premiere Hamann Schokoladen at her design shop Sunset in Taipei.

Erich Hamann Bittere Schokoladen

Brandenburgische Strasse 17, 10707 Berlin
Open Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., Saturday: 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
+40 (0)30 8732085/86