The Musée Gourmand du Chocolat Has 4,000 Years of Cocoa History:
We normally wouldn’t have gone to a chocolate museum like the Musée Gourmand du Chocolat as on the surface, it seems like something that’s been created just for tourists. However, it was one of the free attractions in our Paris Pass and so we called in for a quick visit. Our quick visit went on for over two hours as the Musée Gourmand du Chocolat was actually a very interesting museum, full of fascinating information about the origin of cocoa and the development of chocolate.
History of Cocoa
The Musée Gourmand du Chocolat is a small chocolate museum in the 10th arrondissement. Its Choco Story tells of the origin of cocoa and the development of chocolate spanning over 4,000 years from the time of the Aztecs, spreading through Europe and up to its arrival in France.
On arrival at the museum, visitors are invited to go on a self-guided tour of the two upper floors of the museum. As you take the trip through time in the world of cocoa, you can see the changing equipment used to grind the cocoa beans, from ancient times to the modern era and the spread of cocoa throughout the world. The information is very well presented in a range of visual displays, including flat-screen monitors.
There are so much fascinating information in the museum and some that I thought particularly interesting were that:
- the Aztecs enjoyed a frothy chocolate drink and that they used a pipe to blow froth into their drink. So, it seems that the frothy milk of the cappuccino is an adaptation of the way that the Aztecs used to prepare their cocoa drink thousands of years ago.
- when cocoa beans became an Aztec legal tender, a rabbit costed 10 cocoa beans
- Madame de Pompadour loved her truffle and celery soup, washed down with cups of hot chocolate!
- Marie Antoinette had special tableware collection made for her chocolate
There is a glass-case full of antique crockery and pots used for serving chocolate throughout the centuries. Other exhibits include the evolution of chocolate moulds and I must say that the most modern plastic mould is the ugliest of them all.
The final part of the visit is a 20-minute chocolate-making demonstration. Fabrice Stijnen, the Director of the Musée Gourmand du Chocolat showed us how chocolate praline is made in 15 minutes flat. He first makes the chocolate shell and while it is solidifying in the refrigerator he gives us more information about the chocolate business and hands out different types of chocolate buttons for tasting. Next he fills the chocolate shells with cream filling and places these in the refrigerator to set. He made it look so simple. Meanwhile, he has a tray of made-up praline which he hands out for tasting – it was delicious.
After the chocolate-making presentation you can buy your favourite chocolate flavour from their shop. We bought a 500-gram bag of dark chocolate buttons for only € 8, which is very cheap for the top quality chocolate.
Having made the visit, we’re really glad that we went to check it out this Paris chocolate museum as it is a real chocolate museum with more than 1000 real artefacts, some of which are thousands of years old. If you’re a chocolate fan and like to know more about your favourite food, a visit to the Musée Gourmand du Chocolat for its Choco Story is well worth it.
The Chocolate Museum is open daily from 10:00 – 18:00.
Le Musée Gourmand du Chocolat
28 bd de Bonne Nouvelle
Bonne Nouvelle – Line 8 or 9
Strasbourg Saint-Denis – Line 4, 8 or 9
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