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Chocolate Museums of Europe

Choco-Story Paris chocolate-making demonstration

ABOVE: Cheryl Imboden poses with a chocolatier during a demonstration at Choco-Story in Paris.


"When I die," I said to my friend, "I'm not going to be embalmed. I'm going to be dipped."

"Milk chocolate or bittersweet?" was her immediate concern.

Adrianne Marcus
"Confessions of a Chocolate Addict"
The Chocolate Bible


Like the author of The Chocolate Bible, I've been a fan of European chocolate for most of my life. In fact, the title of a paperback novel that I wrote back in 1981--Bittersweet in Bern--was inspired by sharing a Toblerone bar with my wife on a park bench across the street from the Tobler factory in Bern, Switzerland.

Chocolate is the perfect accompaniment to travel. Adrianne Marcus explains why in her book:

Cortez...told [Spaniards] what the Aztecs knew and believed, that drinking a cup of this beverage daily conferred upon the consumers great quantities of energy. According to written records, Montezuma always drank a full goblet of chocolate prior to entering his herem. He was known to drink fifty or so portions of this beverage daily.

Modern science would, in time, add proof to what the Aztecs knew and practiced. Chocolate does confer energy. Its active ingredients are caffeine and theobromine. Both exert a stimulant effect on the central nervous system.

What could make more sense than using chocolate as a restorative after hours of touring cathedrals and trudging through museums?

For that matter, why not make chocolate the focus of your travel, at least some of the time? That's easy to do in Europe, where chocolate exhibits and confectionary shops tempt the visitor at every turn.

For a delicious sampling of chocolate museums and theme parks in Europe, see the links below.

Belgium

Musée du Cacao et du Chocolat
The Cocoa and Chocolate Museum offers historical exhibits, videos, live demonstrations, chocolate samples, and a shop where you can buy edible souvenirs of your visit. Location: Maison des Ducs de Brabant, Grand Place 13, Brussels.

Choco-Story
At this family-owned museum in Brugge, you'll learn about chocolate history and see how chocolates are made. Edible samples are on the menu. A sister museum is in Paris, France. (See below.)

England

Cadbury World
"Dive into our chocolatey world"  at this family-oriented chocolate theme park and factory tour in Bourneville, England, just south of Birmingham. Admission isn't cheap, but free chocolate bars are handed out during the tour. If you're still hungry after noshing on candy, you can have a meal or a snack in the Cadbury Kitchen.

France

Hot chocolate at Choco-Story Paris

ABOVE: Who can leave Choco-Story Paris without trying the hot chocolate?

Choco-Story parisforvisitors.com
At this excellent private museum in the 10th arrondissement, the price of admission includes a chocolatier's demonstration of his or her trade (with samples). In summer, chocolate-making classes are available. A sister museum is in Bruges, Belgium. (See above.)

Germany

Schkoladenmuseum Köln
The late Hans Imhoff, a maker of chocolates, spent more than 20 years (from 1972 to 1992) laying the groundwork for Cologne's hugely popular Chocolate Museum. The museum, which now occupies 4,000 square meters of space, has sexhibits about the history and culture of chocolate, a walk-through palm house, a café, and a glass-walled mini-factory that produces about 400 Kg of chocolate per day under the gaze of museum visitors.

Italy

Casa del Cioccolato Perugina
Turin, Italy's celebrated manufacturer of "Baci" ("Kisses") and other chocolates offers exhibits and samples at its House of Chocolate. During your visit, you'll follow an overhead walkway to the factory, where you can watch Perugina's products being made. The Casa del Cioccolato also has English-language workshops and classes (reservations required).

Museo del Cioccolato "Antica Norba"
"Italy's first chocolate museum" opened in 1995. Admission includes a visit to the Antica Norba factory and a drink from the chocolate fountain. The museum is located at Via Capo Dell' Acqua n°1 in Norma, a city in Latina Province of the Lazio region south of Rome.

Switzerland

Swiss Chocolate Train

ABOVE: The Swiss Chocolate train takes you from Montreux to a chocolate factory in Broc. (Photo: Rail Europe.)

Lindt Home of Chocolate
This corporate-owned museum in Kilchberg, a suburb of Zürich, opened in 2020. It offers tours (including a visit to Lindt & Sprüngli's "Pilot Plant," where production techniques and recipes are developed) and walk-in classes in chocolate making for adults and children.

Alprose Chocolate Experience
Caslano in the Lugano region of Canton Ticino is headquarters to both the Alprose chocolate factory and the company's modest Museum of Chocolate.

Maison Cailler
At the Cailler-Nestlé factory in Broc, Canton Fribourg, a one-hour tour will expose you to a series of "the history of chocolate, from Aztec cocoa ceremonies to the innovations of today." Chocolate samples are included in the ticket price, and workshops are available at extra cost.

Swiss Chocolate Train europeforvisitors.com
From spring through fall, an excursion train will take you from Montreux, Switzerland to the Cailler-Nestlé chocolate factory at Broc (see "Maison Callier" above), with a stop at the medieval cheesemaking town of Gruyère. Trains run once a week, or twice weekly in July and August.