Chocolate is not only delicious but it is also stuffed full of history and culture. And now there is a museum in Paris devoted to chocolate – are you ready to visit ?
Misquoting the famous statement from Henry IV of France, we now have another reason to visit the world capital of Love: the Gourmand Museum of Chocolate. Open on Grand Boulevards, in the very heart of the city, it’s called Choco-Story and recounts 4,000 years of history of the “Food Of The Gods”, from its discovery to its arrival in Ancient Europe, first as a refined food for the rich then as a widespread delicacy for everybody. Here you can find words, images and also flavours: during the visit you are offered a tasting of high-quality chocolate, which highlights many well-known and unknown features of chocolate. Here’s what you need to know about the chocolate museum…
The History of Chocolate One: Pre-Colombian civilizations
The museum is divided into three separate parts. The first part tells about the origin and the evolution of chocolate through a unique collection of about a thousand objects. The museum tells the history of production methods, of different ingredients and of how which chocolate evolved in time. The initial part focuses on the discovery of the cocoa tree, which provides cocoa beans – the starting point of all subsequent processes – followed by a section dedicated to the mystic rituals of pre-Colombian civilisations.
The History of Chocolate Two: Entering Europe
In 1502 Columbus was the first European to taste a chocolate drink: he didn’t enjoy it very much, as it was too bitter. But by adding sugar the Spanish started appreciating it. In 1527 Cortes begun to sell cocoa beans in Spain and chocolate rapidly became the favourite drink at the Spanish Court, from where it started its progress through the royal courts of 17th century Europe.
The History of Chocolate Three : Chocolate For All!
Up to the late 18th century chocolate-based drinks were solely for the aristocracy and clergy: only during the 19th century, after the introduction of industrial processing, would chocolate become a delicacy for everyone. The Museum displays a perfect reproduction of a chocolate factory from the 1950’s, to allow you to see how the moulding machine worked and how different tools were used. Not the same as Willy Wonka’s factory, but almost!
Chocolate Tasting for Everybody
It does not matter if you are an expert taster or an amateur with a sweet tooth: during the visit you’ll be offered a tasting of every kind of chocolate pralines: extra dark, milk or white, with cocoa solids at 80%, 71%, 64% of cocoa, made using beans from Ecuador, Costa Rica, Vanuatu, Venezuela… a trip around the world in ten pralines!
Show-cooking and Workshop: a Museum for Families
Chocolate makers explain the secrets behind praline production: before every demonstration, a short film explains how chocolate is made today, from harvesting cocoa beans through to the final transformation into delicious chocolate. After the cooking demonstration, you are finally allowed to taste the delicious variety of chocolates created on site. For the younger visitors (6 years and older), the chocolate Museum offers practical session where children and adults can work together to make their own pralines, assisted by an expert chef. And your visit also includes trials and treasure hunts to actively engage children. Definitely a family-friendly museum!