Bringing Berlin Home
There’s so much more out there than key rings with vintage traffic light symbols and pull-back model Trabants. Solveig Steinhardt made a list of easy-to-find "only-in-Berlin" souvenirs you can treat your friends or yourself to.
Unusual "only-in-Berlin" souvenirs – or little cultural trophies.
The desire to collect mementos has accompanied us since the beginning of time. When Marco Polo landed back in Venice after his expedition in China, he was most probably wearing a silk scarf and holding a Ming vase, while the upper-class Englishmen who traveled Europe in the Grand Tour liked to collect all kinds of antiquities and archeological treasures as keepsakes of the cities visited, sometimes after looting the tombs with their own hands. On a more personal, everyday level, a souvenir is like a little trophy symbolizing that slice of the world we’ve just conquered, be it geographic or cultural. But you don't have to break the bank in a souvenir shop to for great reminders of your trip: the right item might be closer than you think. Read on and get inspired!
1 Gummibärchen of course! These Berlin-bear-shaped jelly babies are the perfect gift for kids and adults alike. Bring back a bag of KaDeWe-branded ones (www.kadewe.de), made with natural fruit juice. For more Berlin bears of the non-edible kind, head to KPM-Berlin and browse the shelves for luxury porcelain souvenirs including a Berlin bear dressed like the Kaiser.
2 Turkish delights: Berlin is Turkey’s other capital, and the Turkish market on
Maybachufer in Kreuzberg (open Tue and Fri) carries lots of great souvenir ideas, from patterned fabrics to lokum and spices.
3 Bring back the Berlin spirit in a bottle of Berliner Brandstifter gin (www.berlinerbrandstifter.com) or Our/Berlin vodka (www.ourberlin.de), or get the TV Tower-shaped Berliner Luft schnapps. It will look great on your shelf even after the peppermint liquor inside is long gone. Find it at Galeria on Alexanderplatz.
4 Photo booth pictures: The B&W photos from the retro machines scattered around town are a Berlin hipster classic. Wear your vintage clothes and take home a strip of “yous” from back in the late 1970s. There’s a machine at Checkpoint Charlie (Zimmerstr. 97), and one inside Markthalle Neun (Eisenbahnstr. 42).
5 Support Berlin’s bees! The BerlinerHonig honey is made by urban hobby beekeepers and comes in jars bearing the name of the producer and neighborhood where it was made. Get it in the bigger supermarkets.
6 With a bottle of Frau Tonis perfume, handmade with French essential oils to remind you of Berlin, you can choose to wear Marlene Dietrich’s Pure Violet
fragrance or the urban Linde Berlin and Eau de Berlin concoctions (Zimmerstr. 13).
7 Bring back some essential bath oils from Tetesept or Kneipp from any DM or Rossmann drugstore: a few drops in your bath will relax your muscles and nerves, lift you up, ease a cold, remind you of the ocean, or transport you to an Indian bazaar or a Moroccan hamam, depending on which blend you choose. They even have fizzy, colored baths and crackling salts for the kids.
8 Marzipan, the great German classic. Niederegger marzipan dipped in dark chocolate melts in your mouth and simultaneously excites both the sweet and the bitter receptors on your tongue. Get it at Karstadt (Kurfürstendamm 231). Or visit Fassbender & Rausch (fassbenderrausch.de) for great chocolate.
9 German cosmetics are reliable, effective, and high-quality. Stock up on Dr Hauschka lotions at KaDeWe.
10 The crafty DaWanda community produces funky Berlin-themed T-shirts and products year round. Go to www. dawanda.com to see what’s new, or visit their Snuggery shop at Windscheidstr. 18.