Okay. So I’m a woman. A woman who could not resist the allure of The Museum of Chocolate. It beckoned to me, with its promise of deliciousness intermingled with the potential for air conditioning. It sounded so good, I could taste it.
So, of course, I did. And yes, it was very nicely air conditioned.
I guess I was expecting the Godiva Store on steriods here. Ya know, rows of luscious chocolates, all in beautiful shapes and flavors, perfectly lit, and the aroma of chocolate permeating the air. Well, it was some of that. But mostly not.
My visit starts with a piece of chocolate; only fitting. For an extra 3E, I purchase the ticket which includes hot chocolate. I figure it must be amazing here.
But from this point, it gets down to business. The French are very serious about chocolate. Like, totally … there are three floors to this museum, which has the complete history of chocolate in scrumptious detail, from its beginning with the Aztecs to its transplantation to Europe and Africa, to its many uses and lots of recipes to make chocolate. Nice shoutout to the museum for having all its placards in English as well as French. The Aztecs were into chocolate for the froth, surprisingly. Hmmm, seems like they were gypping themselves; no chewing and letting it melt in your mouth? There’s also a lot of documentation of the Spanish taking advantage of the Aztecs to get their chocolate. There’s even a story about a priest who banned women from eating chocolate and was promptly murdered. Personally, I think he deserved it.
There are tools used to make chocolate, serving pieces throughout the years, lots of folklore, advertising wrappers, chocolate molds and more. Since I love kitchen stuff, I enjoyed especially looking at the molds and the wrappers. And the ads: cool. I also was surprised to find out that chocolate has been used over the years for medicinal uses. I know I’d feel better immediately at the prospect of chocolate, so they should use it as a placebo. I’m just sayin’.
Finally, I make my way down to the last floor of the exhibit, and my nostrils perk up. Yes, that is definitely chocolate I smell. I see that the next chocolate-making demonstration is in 15 minutes, so I pop into the little studio to see the chocolate farming video in the meantime. It has English subtitles, so I could actually follow it. At least I could have, if the smell of chocolate was not distracting me.
Finally, it is 4 pm, and a charming young chef comes in with an energetic little speech about chocolate. There are more types of chocolate to sample. Then he does a quick little demo which is kind of lame, honestly. He really doesn’t have much to work with in terms of the equipment in the room. He pours chocolate from a machine into a mold then lets it cool, then pours another flavor on top of it. Through the magic of refrigeration, he accomplishes the demo quickly, and of course, there is more sampling. I must say, for a demo with limited visual appeal, the chef wrings the most entertainment value from it. He kind of approaches the whole thing like he’s a magician. When he asked me a question at the end, and I said I didn’t understand much French, he then gave me his summary spiel in very good English. He was quite friendly and interacted with everyone.
Then the tour is over, and back upstairs to the gift shop. On checkout, they make you the hot chocolate from what appears to be a coffee machine, and let you choose from 4 flavors of chocolate to flavor it. It wasn’t very special, so I’d just skip paying extra for this. However, I didn’t mind the excuse to linger in the air conditioning for another 15 minutes while I sipped my beverage. The gift shop has some cool items, btw.
There’s a very nice and clean restroom here, a rarity in the museums I’ve been in. Also, just fyi, other than the chocolate chef, they don’t really speak any English. You’ll have to wing it.
Not the fab photo op I’d hoped for, but I found the museum to be cute and clean and fun. A lot of thought went into the layout and the details. And it wasn’t crowded at all, always a bonus.