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In the middle of the chaotic half of Fuldastrasse (that is, the half in Donaukiez) is the most charming bakery – no! Boulangerie! – of Neukölln. Its name is Le Brot. On the sidewalk, the entrance is flanked by those special-charming white-black woven bistro chairs that you always think must have some ultimate French name you just don’t know. Inside, it’s cozy, personable, small. Light wood, no seating, friendliness and baked goods. And what baked goods! If you bite into the leafy croissants, you’re immediately in France. But not in Oh-lala-Paris, but in a village square, somewhere in the countryside, where there is exactly one café, one butcher and this very bakery, where everything tastes like vacation and sun and that certain je-ne-sais-quoi. Baguettes, chocolate rolls, brioche, quiche, madeleines – everything in the display looks and smells fantastic, and is soft, juicy, crunchy. Le Brot is a neighborhood bakery without airs and graces. Though it does have a small refrigerator in case you forget the organic eggs or butter for Sunday breakfast. Of course, you can also get a coffee, nutty and mild. Have it to take away, or to enjoy on the woven bistro chairs, watching the hustle and bustle in the street and maybe even thinking you’re on vacation for a moment. Le Brot is especially recommended for those at home on Easter weekend. Because there’s filled brioche: sour cherry, vanilla and chocolate. La classe, les classiques!
Text: Hilka Dirks / Photos: Robyn Steffen
Le Brot, Fuldastr.54. 12043 Berlin–Neukölln; map
Mon–Fri 8–18h, Sat 8–16h & Sun 8–14h
The city of Berlin is known for many things: its eclectic culture, its vibrant street art scene, and its constant evolution… But did you know that it’s also home to one of the world’s most thriving street table tennis scenes? There are multiple tables available for hobbyists and those who want to try a fun way to pass the time, with 2575 public places (proven by this handy Ping Pong Map) for table tennis across the city that serve as the boiling point of unforgettable matches throughout the approaching Summer. And what better way to give your sizzling game an edge than with beautifully designed rackets set that are sure to catch the eye of every player.
That’s how Toucan came into play, a Berlin-inspired brand that launched its first collection of products in October 2022. Founder Dan Zell brings an independent approach to the beloved game commonly known as ping-pong, centered on thoughtful design, environmentally friendly materials and sustainable manufacturing practices. It is aiming to give table tennis players a better choice for their equipment– their range includes essential orange and blue color rackets with high-quality and eco-friendly materials like carbon fiber shafts and high-tension strings and an attractive limited edition tee design collaboration with the graphic artist Yeye Weller. Without a doubt, an amusing activity that is probably the best way to enjoy sunny and sweaty days and with Toucan as a perfect addition to Berlin’s many public spaces where freedom and self expression are in every corner. Time to grab that racket and enjoy this outdoor sport activity that can be played by people of all ages, and new friends in your kiez.
Text: Dave Alcantara / Photos: Robyn Steffen & Toucan
If you are craving a little color in your life on these gray days, then head up to Berlin Mitte-Nord, where a visit to YNT Berlin is sure to enchant and brighten up your mood. Since 2020, Yanti Damerau has been showcasing objects that make life more colorful and cheerful in her extraordinary concept store. Here you will find carefully selected stationery, jewelry, textiles, vases, ceramics, furniture and decorative items for the home. My heart was captured by the wonderful bags from Bazartherapy, exclusively available here, right from my first visit: Printed with retro motifs or in Nathalie Lété’s charming designs, and filled with fantastic knickknacks, they make for the perfect present — and a pleasant surprise for both giver and recipient –- for both young and old. Then there are the incredibly imaginative glass and porcelain goods from Qubus: the best Czech designers combining traditional craftsmanship with pop art and intelligence, which is how they create beautiful vases and humorous pieces like “Waterproof,” a vase that looks like a rubber boot and stands decoratively beside a marble counter. Kept monochrome in white, the beautiful salesroom, stylishly furnished in simple elegance, offers an appropriate stage for fun and pop – the curious eye is sure to always finds eccentric items with bold colors and distinctive shapes. Yanti has created a gem in this area with YNT Berlin, which holds wondrous treasures with a special twist from the European home and abroad for you – and is definitely worth a visit.
Text: Nadia Behrens / Photos: YNT Berlin
Nadia Behrens has lived in Berlin since 1996 and has been passionately exploring the city’s concept stores ever since. In December 2022, she fulfilled her dream of owning her own store, and with Yes Studio Berlin, she now delights others in search of beautiful objects.
YNT Berlin, Chausseest.124, 10115 Berlin–Mitte; map
Tue–Fri 11–19h & Sat 12–18h
This year, Christoph Wohlfarth is hiding vegan chocolate in real eggshells: you can peel off the shell at the table after the Easter egg hunt – just like a real egg. Inside, depending on the egg, you will find a solid filling of plant-based chocolate, dark nougat and cashew brittle or a creamy one with apricots and amaretto. Christoph Wohlfarth founded his chocolate manufactory in Berlin in 2010, followed a year later by his very own glass manufactory with a small shop in Prenzlauer Berg. In the meantime, he can be found in the Soldiner Kiez. (read more)
But back to the beginning: It all started with an apprenticeship as a baker and confectioner in Bremen. For Christoph, it was clear at first: everyone needs bread! However, the early working hours were soon a no-go and he realised that making chocolate was much more his thing. Since then, he and his team still make most of the chocolate by hand, and in addition to the special quality of his chocolate (most of which is also vegan), we love his playful way of handling it. Christoph follows the “bean to bar” principle: every step from the bean to the chocolate is in his own hands – he started in 2015 with his “1978” bar of classic 78% chocolate. In the meantime, he offers four different bars that are produced using exactly this principle. The Arriba Nacional organic beans he uses come from small cooperatives in Ecuador, are traded directly and paid fairly! In addition to the bars, Wohlfarth’s regular range also includes “salt sticks” – wafer-thin chocolate sticks refined with salt that are perfect for snacking. Those who like something more fruity and varied should definitely try the small chocolate squares: The manufactory has a selection of squares made of dark, milk and white chocolate all year round, some of which are topped with regional ingredients, such as walnuts from Brandenburg. And if Easter traditions aren’t your thing, maybe you could just “put on” a chocolate – because Christoph not only has crazy egg ideas, he also has something to offer musically: In his shop you can get hold of records made of chocolate that can actually be played. We visited Christoph’s factory and danced with wide eyes to classics like “Surfin USA” by the Beach Boys.
Text & Photos: Robyn Steffen
We are giving away three of his chocolate eggs in real shells and a chocolate record of your choice with Wohlfarth Schokolade. Send an email to email@example.com!
Wohlfarth Schokolade, Soldiner Str.39, 13359 Berlin–Gesundbrunnen; maps
Tue 13–16h, Wed–Fri 13–18h & Sat 11–16h
In the seventies, Hüseyin – the figurative protagonist of Fatma Aydemir’s novel “Dschinns” – came to Germany as a guest worker from a Kurdish village. Thirty years later, he returns to Turkey to buy a condominium in Istanbul with his hard-earned money. But he can’t enjoy it: on the day he moves in, he dies of a heart attack. And with him dies the silence in his family. The sudden death forces those left behind to come together and reflect on their own lives, losses, and grief. Aydemir evokes the ghosts of the past in “Djinns.” From the perspectives of the relatives, she tells a sensitive and powerful story about the tensions between Germany and Turkey – two countries that are not really suitable as a home. Nurkan Erpulat and Johannes Kirsten have now brought the multifaceted story to the Gorki Theater in a stage adaptation.
It is an evening that offers striking imagery for the big questions of life: Where do we come from? Where do we want to go? Who do we want to be and what can we forgive? Çiğdem Teke is particularly convincing as the older daughter Sevda, who reunites with her family after years of estrangement, only to find that she has more in common with her own mother than she thought. Her anger is repeatedly punctuated by the softly melancholic vocals of non-binary ensemble member Anthony Hüseyin. The tender melodies allow the characters, for all their despair and restlessness, moments of happiness. On May 28, “Dschinns” will be shown as part of the festival “Gezi – Ten Years After,” which, to mark the tenth anniversary of the Gezi protests, examines the current political upheavals in Turkey. Following the performance, the Gorki Theater invites you to a discussion with the ensemble and the dramaturges, where you can reflect on which Djinns populate your own life. Because the Djinns are, as younger sister Peri says in the play: “The truths that are always there, that are always in the room, whether you want them to be or not, but that you don’t speak out in the hope that they will let you be.”
Text: Laura Storfner / Photos: Ute Langkafel MAIFOTO
Maxim Gorki Theater, Am Festungsgraben 2, 10117 Berlin–Mitte; map
Dschinns, 28.05.2023; Gezi – Ten Years After Festival 27.05.–30.06.2023. Check out Gorki’s website for more dates.