Posts Tagged ‘History of Chocolate’

The Chocolate of Barcelona

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

BarcelonaAs I was planning my trip to Lisbon, Portugal next week I found that I have a stop-over in Barcelona. What could be better than an afternoon in the old chocolate capital of the world? The harbor of Barcelona was the port into which the very first shipments of cocoa from the New World arrived more than 500 years ago, making it the ideal home to the Museu de la Xocolata—Barcelona’s Chocolate Museum.

PicassoThe Catalan Capital is a beautiful city with a diverse culture and history and Barcelona’s museums offer visitors a wide range of aesthetic experiences – in fact, they can be seen as a perfect illustration of just how beguilingly this city can be.

Two of Barcelona’s most popular museums are devoted to artists—the works of Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso – the first born in the city and the second generally acknowledged as an adopted son.

Museu de la XocolataThe third is the Museu de la Xocolata which is housed in an outwardly unimposing but historical building. From the aroma wafting through the narrow twisted streets lets visitors know to be prepared for an idiosyncratic and glorious celebration of the world’s most famous treat.

Inside the museum the history of chocolate is demonstrated from the discovery of the first cocoa beans brought back by the New World explorers, including Christopher Columbus himself, the progressive history since its origins as a spicy drink to its delight as a French sweet all the way through time to its present predominant position in the commercial world.

Chocolate BuildingThere are displays of machines and tools representing the chocolate maker’s art as well as fantastically detailed reconstructions of many of Barcelona’s most famous architectural sites – painstakingly and lovingly recreated from nothing but chocolate. There is even Snowy, an albino gorilla (from whom we named our Snowy White Chocolate) who has been meticulously constructed from white chocolate.

This “delicious” museum demonstrates chocolate’s many different purposes: as a medicinal element, an aphrodisiac, a nutritional treasure and everything in between, both legend and reality. They offer different workshops for children and adults.

Hot ChocolateSave a little time to stop by the chocolate café and bar where they sell great hot chocolate, thick enough to hold a spoon on its edge in the cup. While enjoying your chocolate, swivel around on your stool and watch the students next door being put through their paces as they try to achieve master status as pasty chefs and chocolatiers.

Old Chocolate Processing MachineThe Museu de la Xocolata is located in the Antiguo Convento de San Agustín at Carrerr de Commerç, 36. It is a pleasant short walk from Arc de Triomf Metro station (Red Line, 1), beginning on the Passeig Lluis Companys or due east of the Metro at Juame 1 (Yellow Line, 4), just a few minutes past the Picasso Museum in the Gothic District.

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Over 130 and Still Counting

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Over the last 40 years I have visited 131 countries. Some of my older passports are as thick Yellow Pages directories. When my friends return home from an overseas trip, they talk about the museums, churches and castles they have visited. Being a food and chocolate guy, I reminisce about the restaurants, supermarkets and chocolate museums I have discovered.

Did you know that major museums have entire exhibitions dedicated to chocolate and other specialty museums where you feel surrounded by chocolate? At these unique repositories, you will discover how Chocolate engages your senses and reveals facets of this sumptuous, sweet treat that you’ve never thought about before. You’ll explore the plant, the products, and the culture of chocolate through the lenses of science, history, and popular culture.

The Choco-Story chocolate museum in Bruges, Belgium, is composed of three parts, telling the story of the origin and evolution of chocolate through a unique collection of almost one thousand objects. Besides the history, the museum also reveals how chocolate is made, with special attention to a variety of raw ingredients and the development of the production process. In the demonstration center, visitors uncover the secret of beautiful silky chocolate and get the opportunity to taste the chocolate products made in the museum.

Wijnzakstraat 2
Sint-Jansplein, 8000 Bruges, Belgium
050 61 22 37

The Chocolate Museum opened in June of 1999 in New Brunswick, Canada. It is a must for all Chocoholics! Devoted to the wonder of Chocolate, it displays the history of Ganong Bros. Limited, candy makers in St. Stephen since 1873. The museum is an indoor, unique, interactive experience. What better way to sweeten a child’s enthusiasm for history, chemistry and economics than with chocolate?

73 Milltown Blvd.
St. Stephen, New Brunswick E3L 1G5
“Canada’s Chocolate Town”
(506) 466-7848

At The Field Museum in Chicago you can journey through history to get the complete story behind the tasty treat that we crave in Chocolate. Start your tour in the rainforest with the unique cacao tree whose seeds started it all. Visit the ancient Maya civilization of Central America and discover what chocolate meant nearly 1,500 years ago. Then travel forward in time and northward to the Aztec civilization of 16th-century Mexico, where cacao seeds were so valuable, they were used as money. Discover chocolate’s introduction into the upper classes of European society and its transformation into a mass-produced world commodity.

1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605-2496
(312) 922-9410

The Imhoff-Stollwerck Museum is just one of the reasons I love Cologne—Germany’s chocolate capital. The museum sits on the Rhine in an impressive ship-shaped construction of glass and metal. It is very open, airy and modern inside. Here you can sip cocoa on the terrace overlooking the Rhine. The museum started as an exhibit meant to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Stollwerk Chocolate Company and was so successful that the idea of a full-scale museum quickly grew from it. The Chocolate Museum opened its doors on October 31st, 1993. This self-financed museum now welcomes more than 5 million visitors a year with an average of 2,000 visitors a day.

The museum is an interactive experience. The tour starts with pictures of cacao plants and takes the visitor through the entire production process from bean to bar. Large color photos are accompanied by explanations in German and English about cultivation and harvest, different kinds of cocoa, and fermentation. Visitors next walk through a small greenhouse where they actually feel the tropical conditions and see growing cocoa plants followed by industrialization and the invention of the machines which allowed chocolate to become the silky texture we are accustomed to today.

Rheinauhafen 1a
D-50678, Cologne
+49-221/93 18 88-0

The Museu de la Xocolata is a strange Barcelona museum—strangely delicious! Xocolata means chocolate. And to me, good chocolate is a key ingredient of a great vacation. If you like chocolate, the Museu de la Xocolate in the La Ribera district of Barcelona will add to your vacation enjoyment.

The museum shows how the cocoa bean is transformed into chocolate in different historical eras. You’ll also learn about chocolate’s place in history and how it has been represented in media and advertising. Chocolate is used in ways that are hard to imagine and the place is littered with amazing chocolate sculptures.

Carrer del Comerç, 36
08003 Barcelona, España
Tel. 932 687 878

In 1972, the Candy Americana Museum in Lititz, Pennsylvania was created by Penny Buzzard, wife the company’s former president John Buzzard. Penny went to antique shows and flea markets looking for old chocolate memorabilia. She gathered more than 1000 varieties of molds, tins, and boxes and displayed them in the museum. Business associates who learned of her efforts began to contribute pieces such as early candy machinery, marble slabs, starch trays, copper kettles, and so on. The prized collection of the museum has more than 150 hand-painted European and Oriental antique porcelain chocolate pots, some bearing the names Haviland, Limoges, and Dresden. The Candy Americana Museum started out as a one-room museum and has expanded slowly. In 1977, the modern candy kitchen was opened. The kitchen features handmade chocolates being created right before your eyes including homemade marshmallow, almond bark, peanut butter meltaways, heavenly hash, mint drizzle, and almond butter crunch.

48 N. Broad St.
Lititz, PA 17543
(717) 626-3249

Chocolate World, located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is the beginning of The Hershey Story which takes visitors on an inspirational journey through the life of Milton S. Hershey, the man, his chocolate company, the town that bears his name, and his generous legacy.

The Hershey Story explores the rags to riches accomplishments of an American entrepreneur who used his personal wealth to enrich the lives of others. Hear never-before-shared stories of his innovation and determination. Learn how Mr. Hershey revolutionized the process of making milk chocolate. Discover how the Hershey Industrial School’s orphan boys became heirs to his fortune.

From the interactive Museum Experience and its creative Apprentice Program to the Chocolate Lab to Café Zooka and the Museum Shop, the sweet results of Mr. Hershey’s entrepreneurship, ingenuity and philanthropy are guaranteed to inspire all who enter The Hershey Story.

63 West Chocolate Avenue.
Hershey, PA 17033
(717) 534-3439

Bruges, Belgium is home to one of Europe’s chocolate museums—Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate. The museum occupies a three story building on the Rue de la Tete d’Or, and contains numerous exhibits (chocolate moulds, fine porcelain ‘tea’ sets, posters, photos and preserved cocoa pods) as well as demonstrations of the art of the chocolatier. There are even chocolate sculptures and chocolate clothing. Oh, and free samples!

The ground floor houses various glass cases containing old style moulds (some of which are original Cote d’Or moulds), an explanation of the processing of the cocoa beans, and at the rear, a kitchen where there are demonstrations on how pralines are formed in moulds. The upper floors delve more into the history of cocoa, regions where it is produced, and the effects of the cocoa trade both here in Europe and in Africa.

Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate
Rue de la Tête d’Or, 9/11
1000 Brussels (Belgium)
Tel.: +32 (0)2 514 20 48 4

Other Great Chocolate Museums

Musée les Secrets du Chocolat
Geispolsheim, France

Complete with theatre, tea room, and gift shop that sells chocolate pasta, chocolate vinegar, chocolate beer and decorative antique chocolate molds, this museum is every bit as elegant as the country it represents.

Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate
Phillip Island Chocolate Factory
Newhaven, Phillip Island, Victoria, Canada

This facility houses such tongue-in-cheek exhibits as statue of David replicas, a Dame Edna mural and an entire chocolate town. Aside from the eye candy, visitors are treated to real candy with a chocolate sample upon arrival.

Choco-Story Chocolate Museum
Prague, Czech Republic

Chocolate may be a feast for the palate, but this museum is truly a feast for the eyes. With collections of stunning antique chocolate wrappers and demonstrations of the chocolate making process, it’s hard to know what to look at first.

Chocolate Museum
Jeju-do Island, South Korea

While the chocolate workshop, “Bean to Bar” showroom, and art gallery are all impressive, perhaps this museum’s biggest draw is their working San Francisco-style trolley car.

Nestlé Chocolate Museum
Mexico City, Mexico

Known more for its modern design and the speed with which it was built (by most estimates 75 days from start to finish), this futuristic building is an exhibit in itself.

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