Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Chocolate Museum

It's Travel Tuesday with Belinda and Bonnie Rose! Hooray! 
Welcome, if you came over from the link up!
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I mentioned yesterday that we went to the chocolate museum and that it's been on and off our to-do-list over the past 3 months. The reason is, it's 8.50euros each (Malcolm could have got a student discount, but he forgot his student card because it's HUGE and not always in his wallet), which isn't too bad for what it is, but we weren't sure if it was one of those places you go and just end up spending even more money... However, with Petra visiting, we decided to take it on!

It's really easy to get to, and quite and interesting building, located next to the Rhein. With over 675000 visitors a year, it's one of Germany's top ten museums!

Koln cologne Rhein attraction

Koln cologne Rhein attraction exterior building


Being one of Germany's top ten, should have given us an indication of how busy it would be...
Advice: Do not go on a Saturday morning... you will be squished.
Related advice: Dress in layers; it was a cold day but remember, German buildings rarely have air-conditioning, and with all those people....

On arriving, we received a block of Lindt chocolate, which was kind of them... and got me wanting more!!!


The layout of the museum is great in that it takes visitors through the entire process. It start with the biology side of things, giving information about where cocoa is grown and how the tree looks and how long it takes. (a cocoa tree starts producing beans after 3.5 years, and then continues to do so for 80 years!) There were lots of posters on the walls to read, but with all the crowds I battled to do that, so Petra and I mostly read the kids info and looked at the interactive features. It's a great museum for kids!

You can see here how crowded it was, especially because of a tour-group just ahead of us/
Petra showing you where South Africa is... cocoa is not grown there. 
They have a little greenhouse that one can walk through to see the other kinds of plants that grow in the tropical regions... We were hoping that there'd be oompa loompa's... but no.


From there, one learns about the farming of cocoa; the methods and the conditions faced by cocoa farmers. Here one also learns about fair-trade and why it's important, as well as the economic aspect of the selling of cocoa beans.

These are some pretty interesting statistics... and they make me hungry.

We also had fun learning about the many health benefits of cocoa (ok, not always benefits...)


It was quite nice because by now the crowds had thinned a bit, and it was much easier to read and see things!

From there we moved into the next section, where they had the machines operating and showing the process of making chocolate from the grinding of the beans up until they're wrapped up. 

The machines used to make the chocolate

The melted chocolate, then tipped out, picked up to be wrapped, and the lady takes away the box when it's full. 

It was fun watching the chocolate being churned up, and then how it gets squirted into the mold, shaken around, flipped out, sucked up and moved, wrapped, and boxed. 
Of course, after seeing Charlie and the Chocolate factory, I would have been disappointed if there had been no chocolate fountain.... which there was! And a lovely lady dipping wafers into it and handing them out. Yum. 

The first floor complete, we took a look at the wrapping of Lindt chocolate bunnies and headed up stairs. 

The Lindt bunny looks kinda funny when he's flat... 

Upstairs, they had revolving machines that show how hollow chocolates are made, as well as some of their old molds. Some were HUGE. 


There was also the very tempting option of having a Lindt chocolate slab made specifically to your order of whatever you want... but we passed on that, and rather watched the lady very carefully create an order, placing the nuts in a pretty pattern and covering it in sprinkles.


Resuming the academic study of chocolate, we entered an area where they show some history of chocolate and how it came to be in Europe. They show old Mayan statues and writing, and how it was considered by them, and later by European explorers, to be medicinal. 


Chocolate was really expensive in Europe, and only the very wealthy could afford it. They'd have small chocolate parties and drink it from very ornate chocolate pots. 

a chocolate pot and sugar bowl. Notice the lock on the sugar bowl? That's how expensive sugar was back in the day.

It was also at this time that the trembleuse was invented. 


Also to do with the history of chocolate, they had set-ups of how a pharmacy or drug-store would have sold chocolate once it became more accessible to "ordinary" people. 


And how vending machines were first utilised. Apparently many people were unhappy with them because of the noise they created and the "public disturbance" that they caused. Kids were also spending all their pocket money on chocolate, and that's no good, right?

The vending machine on the left would make a bird sound and "laid" the chocolate egg. If one selected a chocolate doll, it would say "mama". 

On the last floor, they focused on some specific brands, and it was interesting to see how they were advertised over the years and what changes were made.


One of my favourite parts was going into their theatre-room and seeing old chocolate adverts. It's astounding how they used to advertise chocolate, though some things never change!

1. The little boy wouldn't eat his soup and was skinny. This made his parents angry. So his mother gives him chocolate instead, which he happily eats and gets big and strong. The whole family is happy again!
2. the boy wants to kiss the girl, and when he gives her chocolate she lets him. But the box is empty and he's eating them! So she smacks him and he falls backwards off the log.
3. This lady eats her chocolate very slowly, in soft light, looks very serene, and doesn't smile with chocolate on her teeth.
4. These chocolates make everything more entertaining. They'll even perform an opera for you!?

Finally, we headed out and back to the lobby. Where once again I was faced with temptation... they have the most beautiful cakes in their coffee shop and pralines in their chocolate shop!


If you're ever in Cologne, I'd recommend a trip to the chocolate museum... we spent about 3 hours there and really enjoyed it (especially once the crowd had thinned out). But, if you aren't interested in that, at least go to their cafe/restaurant or have a look at the selection in their chocolate shop - it's free to go in there!

38 comments:

  1. I can't believe I missed the chocolate museum when I went to Cologne! Now I MUST go back! This looks amazing, I am so jealous.

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    1. Yes you must! Could only be improved if they gave more free chocolate... ;) I reeeeally want to go back to try their cake....

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  2. Looks like you guys had fun! This was one of my first trips when we came to Germany. Cologne is awesome! I still think Hershey is better though haha, can you tell I'm from PA?

    -Brittany Ruth

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    1. Great! I really do love Cologne :) I don't think I've even tasted Hershey before... can you tell I'm from SA? :D I'll have to do some scientific chocolate tasting to determine my favourite! :)

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    2. Haha well I meant to say that the Hershey museum in Hershey PA is better to me, but there is no doubt (for me anyways) that German chocolate is better!

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  3. That looks so cool!! I think that's a museum I could definitely enjoy. I'm actually not the biggest fan of eating chocolate, but to see the whole process would be really interesting!

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    1. I was definitely there for my love of chocolate, but Malcolm really enjoyed it for the process... it is really interesting!

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  4. Haha I love a good 'first world problem' meme, always makes me laugh. This place looks great too. As a bit of a chic-aholic I'd definitely drop by if ever I get the chance! ~~~ Backpacks & Broken Cameras

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    1. Chic-aholic?? Opps, nothing could be further from the truth lol. I meant choc-aholic!!

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    2. Thank you - the first world problem meme was Malcolm's genius, that I just put into pictures :D Though realising how expensive chocolate used to be and how it was drunk out of such fine china really made me feel like a slob for drinking chocolate milk out a box ;) Definitely worth a visit...

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  5. Don't mind me, just drooling at my computer looking at this delicious museum! What a fun place to visit. I love seeing behind the scenes and the chocolate-making portion has me totally intrigued. I visited the chocolate museum in Barcelona and loved taste testing the spicy chocolate and looking at the amazing chocolate sculptures. I had no idea Germany had one and now I really want to visit it!

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    1. It was really great seeing behind the scenes, I had no idea about the process and although I could have educated myself using wikipedia, this was way more fun! Now I just need to be a millionaire to sample all the chocolate in their shop!

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  6. Hi, I'm a new follower from Travel Tuesday. This place looks great! The old adverts look funny and who could resist a Lindt Bunny? Not me anyway. : /

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

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    1. Ah yay! Thanks for coming by!
      It is a pretty cool place, we certainly enjoyed it :) The adverts were probably the highlight for me - I love to see how things were advertised back in the day. Chocolate was marketed as being such a healthy and beneficial food!
      Lindt bunnies are so cute- I can't remember eating one before, but I don't think I'd have a hard time ;)

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  7. Oh that looks amazing! I've been to the Cadbury's chocolate museum we have in the UK but Lindt chocolate is soo much yummier!

    I came over from Travel Tuesday - it's the first one I've joined and I love all this blog hopping :)

    Kam @ A Married Couple & Their Travels

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    1. Ooh I love Cadbury's! I miss it!
      I'm so glad you joined the link-up, it's such a fun way to find new blogs and new places to go! (or just travel vicariously!)

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  8. Oh my gosh!! I think I could die a happy girl in that place!! How fun?! =D

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    1. Haha... the ratings might go down if somebody died there... just sayin' ;)

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  9. Oh my goodness, I need to go there! It looks amazing! :-)

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    1. It was pretty amazing - I had no idea how the whole chocolate industry works and I can see why supporting fairtrade chocolate is important now... feeling quite educated ;)

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  10. YUM, i love this! the post title alone had me craving chocolate haha. i love that you're living in germany and i love your blog..we are kindred travel lovers! can't wait to follow along.

    xoxo
    the well-traveled wife

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    1. Hi!
      Thanks for visiting and the comment, glad to have you following along! I craved chocolate THE WHOLE time I was there!

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  11. Oh my gosh, so now I want chocolate. Thanks for that. :)

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  12. How fun! I went on a chocolate museum tour in Peru, however it was a much smaller scale. The museum smelled delicious though! One of my favorites was a chocolate tea.
    http://liveitinerantly.com

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    1. Oh yes, it smelled great! I was surprised by this museum because it looks so small from the outside, but there's actually quite a lot to see inside!
      Chocolate tea?! Yum!

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  13. A chocolate museum?!?!?!? Yes please!!!

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    1. Visit it! Not only is it chocolate, but one learns stuff too!
      Or at least go to their coffee shop :D

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  14. Yum! I love Lindt chocolate! What a fun place!

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  15. ohgoodness.. this looks delicious! how much chocolate did you end up eating? i wouldn't be able to stop myself - it's my favorite :) also.. good to know that filled chocolates are the most popular, 'cause that's what i always go for :)

    i love having visitors come so i can get an excuse to do all sorts of things i normally wouldn't :)

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    1. It did look delicious! Unfortunately, there wasn't a whole lot of chocolate to eat while going through - I guess people would get kind of ridiculous with it... so they only give a small amount, and any more one needs to pay for... I guess ultimately it's meant to be educational. (though, come on, it's chocolate... I want to eat it!)
      I was really surprised at how little white chocolate is consumed.... but I also love the filled chocolates :)

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  16. Hi Erica, what a delightful and delicious post! Half-way through reading this post I had to retrieve a chocolate bar I stowed away for once in a while dire chocolate craving time. Yes, you induced that really dire craving! I thoroughly enjoyed your museum tour. The vending machine story cracked me up! Also enjoyed the advertisements. Thanks for virtually taking me along on your sweet tour.

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    1. Haha... lucky you had one on hand! It was a pity there wasn't more chocolate on hand during the tour, fortunately my cousin had a bar stashed away for afterwards ;)
      The vending machine thing is so intriguing... the way it was perceived...
      " It has been observed that the vending machines installed in public streets and squares etc which hawk confectionary of all kinds for relatively small sums, not only induce pupils to consume treats in a display of utter profligacy, but also entice them to commit a variety of criminal actions. The danger is increased due to the fact that individual companies use acquisitiveness to boost the vending business by enclosing small cards with the confectionary and promising to reward those who send a specific number of these picture cards to the company with a prize. If the children limit themselves to spending their own savings or similar at the vending machines, this particular evil remains bearable, despite the dubious consequences it may have. However, according to experience, many children tread the path of crime by obtaining money by dishonest means or attempting to rob the vending machines of their contents via deceit or violence."

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  17. hahaha that first world problems thing is great. Any place dedicated completely to chocolate has tob e worth a trip! ;)

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    1. Absolutely! Much more fun than a wikipedia page about it!

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  18. I will def have to visit this chocolate museum for sure! I know my whole family would love this one. Really love the top photos in black and white. Thank you for linking up with me for Travel Tuesday and I hope you link up with us again tomorrow!

    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose - an expat lifestyle blog

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    1. It was definitely a good time, and it's got a nice balance between things :)

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