When I did my holiday gift guide over at TWC, I realized it was only fair to do a Berlin-specific gift guide for those of you who are local or on the hunt for delicious and pretty discoveries right here in town. Without further ado, here it is:
1. Sironi, a Milanese baker plying his goods in Kreuzberg's Markthalle Neun, makes a lovely panettone (€11), all wrapped up in cellphone and tied with a bow, that makes for a delicious gift. My mother, a panettone devotee, ate half of hers in about as many days and couldn't stop raving.
2. Paper & Tea, the loveliest tea store I've ever been to, already got a mention in my other gift guide, but I can't help but mention it again. Their teas are pretty great and the tea cups and pots sourced from all over Asia are astonishingly beautiful. We're hoping to take one of their tea seminars in the new year. Lately, I've been drinking their Harijan classic chai daily, with a splash of milk and a spoonful of honey. I highly recommend it - it's nicely balanced, with just the right amounts of warming spices.
3. If you've never been to the Hamann-Haus on the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf border, it's worth a visit. While the factory is strictly off-limits to visitors, the shop is stocked with every single chocolate item Hamann makes. I'm obsessed with their chocolate St. Nikolauses, which I first spied at Andreas Murkudis. They are gothically stern, simple and mesmerizing and their size packs an amazing punch. They come in both dark and milk chocolate and in a whole variety of sizes. But my advice? Go big (see photo above).
4. Another place to visit, if you haven't already been, is the tiny Wald shop at the very western end of Pestalozzistrasse in Charlottenburg (stop in at Café Manstein afterwards for a reviving cup of tea). Wald, which has devoted fans all over the world, specializes in Königsberger Marzipan. Their painstakingly made and delicious marzipan confections come in little wooden boxes or simple cellphone bags and would please any of your sweet-toothed loves who prize artisanal craftsmanship and supporting a family business.
5. Any object from Hedwig Bollhagen, the iconic Bauhaus-influenced potter from Marwitz in Brandenburg, makes for a pretty fantastic gift - from stark black-and-white vases to the cozier striped tea sets or nesting bowls. You can buy Bollhagen ceramics at KaDeWe these days, but instead I suggest you make a little pilgrimage to the wonderful Bollhagen shop on Wilmersdorfer Strasse, which also sells vintage originals made by the woman herself.
6. Strictly speaking, Monkey 47's spirits aren't made in Berlin, but in the Black Forest. But let's stretch the rules a little here. Their gin, made with 47 botanical extracts, is too good to pass by. You can buy it in various other stores in Berlin, but if you go to Andreas Murkudis, you'll also get to ogle about a hundred other things to covet as well (Nymphenburg vases! Céline bags! This place is a wonderland for high rollers and a pretty museum for the rest of us, sigh.)
7. I know I already mentioned marzipan and chocolate, but I can't make a gift guide without also including Sawade's Marzipanbrot, which is the very best the city (the world?) has to offer. It comes in different sizes (the bigger, the better, in my opinion - their marzipan is really the best I've ever tasted) and is just so iconic. I've always been amazed that Sawade isn't better known outside of Berlin or Germany. But maybe it's best that it stays our little secret. They also make lovely chocolate Christmas ornaments, to be purchased in their three bricks-and-mortar stores or Karstadt.
8. While I love my little corner of Berlin, I would give at least one pinky finger to live closer to the wonderful food emporium that is Goldhahn & Sampson. Head there for any number of wondrous gifts: spectacular olive oils, vinegars, chocolates, great cookbooks, or the gift certificate to a cooking class (I want to attend at least - Mar y Seoul, anyone?). I'm so happy to have a place like G&S in our lovely city and only wish they could open an outpost for those of us in the west.
9. And finally, Paul Sullivan and his crew at Slow Travel Berlin have just published their guide to Berlin, 100 Favourite Places. With handdrawn maps and a thoughtful approach to showcasing all this city has to offer, this is a great gift for any Berlin lover, new or old. And today, Slow Travel Berlin is generous enough to give away one e-book to a Berlin on a Platter reader. So tell me, dear readers, what is on your wish list from Berlin this year? Leave me a comment below and I'll choose a winner at random tomorrow.
UPDATE: Wendy (ww1614) is the winner! Thanks for participating; the giveaway is now closed.