Manager of the flagship store ‘Ritter Sport Bunte Schokowelt’ (German for Colorful Chocolate World) in Berlin, Germany, André Behnisch spoke to Ahram Online about the importance of chocolate for the German people.
"It has always been part of our history, since we were young kids. It made you happy when you got chocolate as a gift. You felt euphoric eating more sugar. You wanted more and more,” he said.
“One thousand customers come to the store every day. Eighty percent of the customers are tourists and the rest are Germans,” Behnisch added
“The main target of Ritter Sport now is to be the gate of the world and Egypt as well,” said Behnisch.
The leading Ritter Sport chocolate brand is a family business. It has grown over 100 years into a large company in Germany. It has been run by Ritter family for four generations.
In 1912, confectioner Alfred Eugen Ritter and his wife Clara Göttle founded a chocolate and sugar confectionary factory in the largest Germany state in Stuttgart.
The first Ritter Sport chocolate was produced and sold. It was not the current square shape, but rather a rectangle shape at that time.
The square bar was launched in 1932 to fit in any sports jacket pocket. Since then, the chocolate had always maintained its signature squared shape.
Across the years, some differences were introduced to the Ritter Sport chocolate — basically to become more colourful and recognisable.
Children create their own chocolate during Chocolate workshop
The main Ritter Sport building was built in Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart.
The Ritter Sport Colorful Chocolate World store, meanwhile, in Berlin occupies 1,000 square metres. It is divided into five different departments on three floors. The first department is for chocolate creation. Some 600 different kinds of chocolate are made every day in this area.
The wide range of variety, entailing between 20 to 30 different ingredients, satisfies all tastes. Customers can create their own favourite Ritter Sport chocolate within half an hour for 100 grams and 40 to 50 minutes for 250 grams.
Behnisch commented: “The main concept here is not only to buy chocolate, but also have the opportunity to make your own chocolate.”
The second department is the chocolate shop where every single product and flavour of Ritter Sport chocolate is on display. Every chocolate has its own flavour and colour coding. The colour has to do with the ingredients and at the same time attracts the eye.
The most interesting department is the third department downstairs: the chocolate workshop. Held four times a day, seven days a week, the workshops are usually fully booked and are open to children and teens aged 7-18-years-old. Around 60 kids attend per workshop. A workshop for older people or parents is held at night.
Vivian Karla, 14, who attended the workshop said: “I love chocolate. I learned how to create my own chocolate. I liked dark chocolate with butter biscuit.”
Luis Carlos, 11, added: “My favorite chocolate was white chocolate filled with gummy.”
Kids sit down and have the whole process of making chocolate explained to them for 10-15 minutes.
Kids choose the ingredients, chocolate type, and make their own chocolate by hand for 30 minutes. They wait for it to cool down. During that time, they draw and paint a cover design for their chocolate.
“It is a nice idea for kids to give as present to their friends or parents," Behnisch said smiling.
The fourth department is the fully renovated Chocolate museum. Computers and touch screens provide information and entertainment.
The fifth department is the café: a spot to eat and drink ... chocolate.