Famous Museums of Chocolate, Part I

Museums of Chocolate? Believe It or Not these Extreme Museums Exist All Over the World

To a chocolate extremo, the idea of museums of chocolate isn't all that unusual. After all, many's the museum dedicated to race car drivers, or rock-and-roll stars, or natural oddities (or even, in one case, to medical instruments). So why not chocolate? Hey, a cocoa bean is a lot more interesting than a two-headed goat.

Join us, then, as we take a whirlwind tour of the world's most famous chocolate museums. Most of them are in Europe, where of course they know how to do things right when it comes to a culinary work of art like chocolate. Fair warning... it may take us a while to work through all of them. But we will begin with the Swiss.

Just. Too. Much.

Devout chocolate lovers have to adore Europe, because nowhere else in the world is there such an outpouring of love for our favorite ambrosia. Candy factories and museums of chocolates may be found all over the map, and collectively they're enough to keep you aquiver for days on end.

You can find such museums in 11 different countries. Austria, Belgium, England, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland are some examples. All in all, we've got at least 26 wonderfully tasty museums to visit, so it looks like this article will stretch to four installments, at least!

So, Where to First?

Let's start with the country that has the most chocolate facilities for its size, shall we? Not too surprising for those of us who've ever unwrapped a chocolate product, the country that happens to be the banking and watch capital of the world... Switzerland is the focus of our first installment.

The Swiss enjoy at least three chocolate museums and associated facilities, not least of which is the famous Cailler-Nestlé factory in Broc, Canton Fribourg. This is the place all good Cailler and Nestlé products call home, from candy bars to cocoa -- so as you might imagine, their factory is a Mecca for us chocoholics.

Among other things, you can enjoy a half-hour multilingual presentation about how they make their chocolate, followed by all the free chocolate you can handle. But be sure to visit this museum of chocolate between April and October, when they open the doors to the public. They're busy skiing the rest of the year.

If you want to maximize the experience, visit between June and October. That way, you can take the Chocolate Train from Montreux to the Cailler-Nestlé factory and back. Along the way you'll have a chance to stop and enjoy the medieval town of Gruyère, famous for its cheese of the same name.

One Final Swiss Experience

Before we move on, we have to mention one other stop of the Swiss choco-tourism route. Shokoland Alprose, a factory/museum located in Caslano, Canton Ticino. Though usually overshadowed by Cailler-Nestlé, this sweet museum of chocolate offers a historical perspective on cacao that's not to be missed.