Ohde Berlin Where marzipan is being reinvented

Wednesday, December 08 2021


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It all begins in Berlin Neukölln. In Rixdorf, businessman and Ohde Berlin founder Hamid Djadda meets representatives of various companies at an event, including the large-scale marzipan producers from Moll. From them he learns that Neukölln is leading in terms of marzipan production. The two Neukölln-based companies produce over 20,ooo tons of raw marzipan a year - a large part of the world's marzipan industrial production.

Many people, including us, do not even know that so much marzipan is produced in Berlin Neukölln. Djadda can't get this information out of his head. When he discovers the Brandenburg Gate made entirely of marzipan at the airport, he inevitably looks at the manufacturer. It was made in Lübeck. How absurd, the businessman thinks to himself. It begins to rattle inside of him. 

He wants to establish Berlin Neukölln as a marzipan location in the public perception. So he begins to tinker; what kind of marzipan should it be? Djadda wants people to be able to taste the almonds as the central raw material. More almond, then, less sugar, rose water yes or no. He experiments a lot, also in collaboration with professionals.

OHDE Berlin Marzipan Pralinen aus Neukoelln (6)
Ohde (1)
OHDE Berlin Marzipan Pralinen aus Neukoelln (3)
Hamid Djadda & Johann Lafer OHDE Marzipan Pralinen aus Neukoelln (1)

Creations with nougat are added, various marzipan collections are created, pralines with a shot. There are also truffles with ingredients from Djadda's homeland, Iran; Persian blue salt, for example, saffron, wild almonds and wild pistachios.

Although the people in Lübeck claim that they invented marzipan, it is more likely that it came from somewhere in the Orient and made its way via Persia to Spain, southern Europe and finally to northern Germany. Here the circle closes. Thanks to Hamid Djadda, the Berliner-by-choice with Persian roots, Ohde is now probably the finest marzipan far around Berlin Rixdorf.

The small colorful cubes of Ohde Berlin convince especially by their unadulterated aroma of bitter almond. Up to 62% almond content can be found in some of the chocolates: In addition to the bestseller, the Rixdorfer Würfel, from December on there are also the Marzipanperlen (marzipan pearls): marzipan balls with a wafer-thin chocolate coating. Those with raspberry and passion fruit are vegan, those with white chocolate coating are made of the classic Cru Classé.

Cru Classé marzipan is the highest class of marzipan at Ohde Berlin and consists of nothing more than almonds, sugar and water, with chopped almonds added afterwards. The Ohde Berlin Würfel compared to sweet marzipan paste, is a night and day difference, a sweet treat that even marzipan haters should definitely give a try.

The real taste of bitter almond comes out completely in the Rixdorfer Würfel from Ohde Berlin, for example. "Marzipan can be much more than this sticky mass," says Ohde brand manager Pascal Schlieske, "it often doesn't taste of almonds, but only sweet. Because we process so many good almonds and also their pieces, Ohde Würfel have a completely different consistency and mouthfeel."

Just like the large-scale producers, Ohde Berlin also makes its chocolates and Rixdorfer Wüfel in Neukölln, but purely by hand. Even the colorful cardboard box is opened by hand. The team is almost like a small family, he says. "We are quite proud of our employees. They give their best, no matter at what level. That also sets us apart," Schlieske enthuses.

This attachment to the place and its people can also be found in the name as well as the packaging design of Ohde Berlin. The statue of King Friedrich Wilhelm I on Richardplatz in Neukölln inspired Hamid Djadda as the brand patron and now adorns the Ohde logo on horseback. The Prussian king went down in history as the "Immigrant King" because he had given religiously persecuted people a home. The combination of tradition through the equestrian statue and the modern fresh colors create a reference to the fine marzipan from Berlin Neukölln.

The name Ohde is both a Prussian family name and a word creation from Djadda's pen, alluding to the "ode" to joy and (marzipan) pleasure. Exclusivity in deep connection with one's own favorite city, this also goes down well at the Waldorf Astoria, which now gives away Ohde Berlin marzipan chocolates as a small gift in the rooms. You can also find them in the Ohde boutiques on the 6th floor of KaDeWe, the Markthalle in Wilma Shoppen and the 1st floor in Bikini Berlin, it's hard to get past the charmingly packaged cubes.

The latest coup is the Masters Collection with the "Johann Lafer Praline by OHDE" as a premiere, created by TV chef and entrepreneur Johann Lafer. 

With the help of the Ohde Foundation, Ohde Berlin is also doing something very concrete in the neighborhood: A portion of the proceeds from the Ohde Glückswürfel (lucky cubes) is used to finance courses, books, blackboards, etc. at the Keppler School in Neukölln. In the future, however, all revenues from Rixdorfer Würfel are to be linked to the education foundation. Or as the exclusive marzipan manufactory itself puts it: An O(h)de to Berlin.

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Ohde Berlin – Where marzipan is being reinvented
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