The Choco-Story Museum in Bruges is by no means an ordinary museum. This is an experience of chocolate unlike any other. Upon arrival I was delighted to see a rather large, plastic chocolate egg formation towering high in front of me. Visitors to the Choco-Story museum were posing with this oversized egg – just in time for Easter, I guess!
The Choco-Story Museum takes you on an exciting journey, from the earliest known form of chocolate in 600 BC, to details about historical figures who once drank chocolate as an aphrodisiac, and finally, to the making of chocolate in Europe and more importantly, in Belgium.
Ascend the stairs and proceed to a room detailing the history of the cocoa bean and its importance in the ancient world. Fascinating displays of tools used in the grinding of the beans and the production of chocolate, similar to those used during the time of the Mayans and the Aztecs, are on display.
Next, I viewed an exhibition room dedicated to chocolate moulds and to the first ever pralines made in Belgium. The moulds on display are exceptionally detailed and at this point the exhibition becomes palpable – I could really imagine the process of dripping liquid chocolate into these moulds and waiting in anticipation for the chocolate to solidify. In this room you can also see how chocolate-making tools have developed throughout the centuries. The room concludes with a final exhibition of a modern-day chocolate making machine.
I then entered a room with tropical print wallpaper and cocoa bean models on display. Here you feel a part of the very first step of the chocolate making process – the growing of the raw material, of course. Take a look through numerous magnifying glasses as part of this exhibition room and view the different types of small insects and plants from tropical South American regions, whose existence is fundamental to the growing of the beans.
The final room at the Choco-Story Museum in Brugge, and by far the most fascinating for me, was filled with rather large chocolate figurines. These figurines do not really look like chocolate. They instead look like dolls, beautifully placed, painted and put on display. There was, however, a single mould to the left of the display that was the only giveaway to the fact that these are made of real chocolate.
In this room I also came across a massive wooden display cabinet filled with chocolate handbags and other captivating chocolate designs. A crowd gathered right near this cabinet and behind the crowd I could see the white hat of a confectionary chef. This man, who spoke in a mixture of English, Dutch and French, demonstrated the delicate process of making pralines and then offered these slightly warm, melt-in-your-mouth star-shaped pralines to each visitor. Delectable!
Have you been to the Choco-Story Museum in Brugge, Belgium? If so, I’d love to know what you think. Add your comment below.