Paris’ Musée Gourmand du Chocolat (Gourmet Chocolate Museum) is a treat—literally. Not only do visitors learn about the 4,000 year history of chocolate, but they also have the opportunity to view the entire chocolate-making process, from harvesting the cocoa beans, to combining the ingredients, to packaging the delicious morsels. Kids are kept entertained by the fun subject matter and the “kids-only” tour. There are also many artistic displays that use chocolate as a medium that are sure to wow. Perhaps the best part of the museum is the chocolate-making demonstration, which comes complete with a free chocolate tasting. If you’re not already, the Chocolate Museum will turn you into a choco-holic!
Discover the origins of chocolate
The museum is spread over three floors, with each floor dedicated to informing visitors about a different aspect of chocolate. On the first floor, dive into the beginnings of chocolate’s history. Learn about how the Mayans and Aztecs harvested cocoa beans, what products they made from this venerated plant, and what role the beans played in society (hint: they weren’t just used for eating!).
The story continues on the second floor, with accounts of how chocolate spread to Europe in the beginning of the 16th century. On this floor, there is an impressive collection of chocolate-making equipment, chocolate cups, and advertisements from the early 20th century.
With informative display boards written in English, French, and Spanish, videos, and over 1,000 artifacts, visitors will gain a deep understanding of chocolate’s importance throughout history.
Bring the kids along
The Chocolate Museum is the perfect family outing. It’s clear that the museum puts a lot of effort into making the visit enjoyable for even its youngest visitors. At the start of the visit, children are given a worksheet and stickers. If the children correctly place the stickers, they receive a prize at the end of the visit. Their task is made simpler with help from the museum’s mascot, Choclala. Throughout the visit, Choclala gives simplified explanations of the displays. There are also Playmobil dioramas scattered throughout the museum so that kids can connect with the content through a familiar medium.
Appreciate the artistic side of chocolate
While the visit exposes the historical and culinary importance of chocolate throughout history, it also highlights an often-overlooked artistic nature of chocolate. On the ground floor of the museum, there are sculptures of all shapes, sizes, and colors, all crafted from chocolate. The Paris Fashion Week exhibition is particularly impressive, as it displays three life-size models wearing completely chocolate-based outfits.
Savor the chocolate-making demonstration
Every twenty minutes, a master chocolatier performs a chocolate-making demonstration. The demonstration starts with a video about how to make liquid chocolate ready for shaping into delicious gourmet morsels. After the video, the chocolatier shows how to make praline-filled chocolates. This is an incredible presentation, as it shows how producing chocolates is truly a complicated artistic endeavor. Visitors will certainly have an increased appreciation for this sweet treat. Following the demonstration, the chocolatier is available to answers visitors’ questions.
But the best part of the demonstration is the chocolate-tasting. First, visitors are invited to taste two milk chocolates and two dark chocolates. Each chocolate comes from a different country. This enables visitors to compare the subtle differences in flavor that result from varying climates. Following this preliminary tasting, visitors sample the freshly-made praline-filled chocolates. Lastly, visitors have the opportunity to try the “World’s Best Chocolate,” and decide if they agree with the judges’ decision.
See chocolate in a whole new light
For a sweet and informative visit that caters to the entire family, make a stop at Paris’ Musée Gourmand du Chocolat. The museum is easily accessible via subway lines 8 and 9, stop Bonne Nouvelle. It is open every day from 10.00 AM to 6.00 PM. Tickets cost 11 EUR (12 USD) for adults, 10 EUR (11 USD) for students, and 8 EUR (9 USD) for children.
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