Heart-warming Fondue and Wine - at Ars Vini

Heart-warming Fondue and Wine – at Ars Vini

Sitting around the fondue, appreciating food and having fun – a dining culture that Lars Kettenbeil learned to cherish early on, from ski holidays in Switzerland with his parents. This familiar atmosphere and the idea of a get-together were to take top priority when he opened Berlin’s first fondue restaurant.

Originally, the restaurant owner actually wanted to do something with languages: after his Abitur at the renowned Collège Français, he signed up for English and French at University. However after a few semesters he’d had enough and travelled around the world for a year, tasting wine and networking with the experts.

He got the philosophy of fine dining from his mother. “At home there was always a lot of cooking and baking, and as a child I liked to stand at the stove.” During his schooldays, Lars worked in a Winehouse and learned to appreciate the art of wine. In 2002 he opened a small winery with a deli-counter in Berlin Mitte and one year later he moved to Helmholtz Kiez with a new concept.

“At the beginning, I did everything myself and even slept in the restaurant,” remembers Lars, “I had given up my flat so that I could afford the rent for the shop.” The first 20 Fondue sets had to be paid for in installments. At night he worked meticulously on the recipes, which he would let his friends taste, and a neighbour helped out as a waitress. “Back then I was pretty naïve,” he laughs, “I hadn‘t even thought about most of the licences, and before my interview at the council offices my knees wouldn’t stop shaking.”

“In 2006 I became properly established in the area,” explains Lars, “At first, people were still sceptical. But we were a sort of private living-room, which opened its doors to everyone, and there were film nights, readings and wine seminars.” It was a year that Lars Kettenbeil will not forget, especially since at Christmas time the RBB radio aired its evening show from the Ars Vini restaurant.

The concept worked out in the end: in September 2007 Lars rented out a second restaurant in Berlin-Mitte and he now runs an additional catering service for the many Christmas parties that take place at this time of year. No wonder there are plans for a third ‘Ars Vini’. The claim remains the same: “Dining as an event and a social get-together,” which, according to Lars, is a “fundamental realisation in my life.”

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further links

Ars Vini
Ars Vini II


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