Chocolate Museums of Europe
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
"Milk chocolate or bittersweet?" was her immediate
"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
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.
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.
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.)
"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.
ABOVE: Who can leave Choco-Story Paris without
trying the hot chocolate?
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.)
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.
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).
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.
ABOVE: The Swiss Chocolate train
takes you from Montreux to a chocolate factory in Broc. (Photo: Rail Europe.)
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.
Caslano in the Lugano region of Canton Ticino is headquarters to both the
Alprose chocolate factory and the company's modest Museum of Chocolate.
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.
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.