Famous Museums of Chocolate, Part II
We're about to check out a few more European museums of chocolate. Care to join us?
If you're traveling to Europe anytime soon (or ever, really), it behooves you, as a chocolate extremo, to visit at least a few of their many museums of chocolate. There are nearly 30 at last count, in locations as varied as England, Switzerland, Hungary, Spain, and Germany.
In Part I of this article, we introduced you to the concept of the chocolate museum, and discussed a few in what has to be the European capital of chocolate making, Switzerland. In this installment, we'll take a look at choco-museums in Italy and elsewhere.
Italians are well known for their lust for life, and not too surprisingly, this extends to chocolate. You'll find one of their three museums of chocolate at the Nestlé factory in the city of Perugia. The Museo Storico della Perugina is open weekdays all year, but you'll need to call ahead for an English-language tour.
Caffarel is one of the oldest producers of chocolate in Italy, and is famous for its product of hazelnut chocolates. They're located in Luserna San Giovanni outside of Turin, and include a chocolate museum at their facility. It's well worth checking out if you're in Turin to see the famous Shroud.
The Museo de Cioccolato Antica Norba bills itself as Italy's first museums of chocolate, as it opened its doors back in 1995. This museum is located in Norma, a city south of Rome in the Lazio region, and is open weekdays May-September. Admission is free, and includes a drink from a chocolate fountain. Mmmmm.
The Germans also love their chocolate, as evidenced by their three decadent entries on the chocolate museum list. The oldest is Imhoff Stollwerk Schokolademuseum, located in the aromatic city of Köln (a.k.a. Cologne), where they've been letting people drink from the chocolate fountain since 1993.
At Imhoff you'll also get to see historical exhibits and the two-story production floor, and have an opportunity to eat at a cafe overlooking the Rhine. When you're done you can move on to Rausch Plantagen Schokolade's little museum of chocolate in Peine, which offers some of the best chocolate in the world.
Rausch opened its museum doors in 1995. The newest German chocolate museum is Halloren's, in the East German city of Halle. Although Halloren Shokoladenfabrik has been in operation since 1804 and is in fact Germany's oldest chocolate factory, they didn't get into the Museum biz until 2002.
That leaves chocolate museums in just eight countries, so obviously there'll be a few more articles in this series. Before we go, we might as well mention the big one ... the fabulous Cadbury World in Bournemouth, England. The admission fee is steep, but the fact that they give out free chocolate bars should help ease your pain. You'll also find that it's more a theme park than one of our museums of chocolate per-se -- but hey, who's quibbling?