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Chocolate Museums of Europe

Europe chocolate museums

ABOVE: Chocolate shop in Salzburg, Austria.

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 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. (The paperback romance is long gone from U.S. and British bookstores, but its French edition continues to attract readers.)

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 pages 2 and 3.

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