As I grew accustomed to living in Mannheim, I couldn’t help but notice a slight yet distinct scent that permeated the city. Particularly strong during the day time, I was constantly being bugged by my brain as to what it could possibly be. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad smell, but it wasn’t necessarily that great of a smell either.
The only way I know how to describe it is: making hot chocolate, and slightly burning milk on the kettle, and mixing it into the chocolate powder, creating a semi-burnt smelling hot cocoa. It’s really not a horrendous smell, but constantly walking down the street and having your body demand brownies every five seconds isn’t necessarily going to keep that study-abroad-15 away. It was in the air as I walked home from classes, I could smell it when I opened my windows, and to my dismay, at times it even felt like it was following me around.
You know that saying, “curiosity killed the cat”? Okay, I’m that cat. Curiosity will literally one day be the end of me. I don’t do well with not knowing secrets, and this was one mystery that I absolutely had to solve pronto. At first, I thought I was going absolutely insane. I couldn’t put my finger on where the smell was coming from, and I started to genuinely believe that it was just the natural aroma of the city. Silly, I know, but I couldn’t find a better explanation. I searched far and wide on the internet, frantically keying in, “why does Mannheim smell like chocolate??” and “does all of Germany smell like chocolate????” Not surprisingly, I couldn’t find any answers. Go figure.
I finally gave up and decided that everyone in this city must like baking brownies all the time because there’s simply no other way to explain where that smell is coming from. A couple weeks into my stay here, I was helping a friend move into his new apartment when we accidentally took the wrong turn to his building. Wandering around the streets, we somehow stumbled upon a massive blue building. I was immediately greeted by the all-too familiar chocolate smell, but this time they were much stronger.
Well guess what people? The giant blue building actually is home to Mannheim’s very own chocolate factory. Yep, that’s right. A chocolate factory. I almost fell over myself as I read the signs all around it. I’m not even kidding when I say that I let out a yell, both from frustration finally being alleviated, and amazement at how large the establishment itself was. Crazily enough, it was almost as if this massive burden was finally lifted off my shoulders. I had finally cracked the code! Funny enough, I’m not the only person that feels this way. I can literally see the wave of relief and understanding wash through people’s eyes as I tell them what the source of this magical scent is. Oh Mannheim, just loaded with sweet surprises!