Oh yes, you read that post title correctly! Today’s little adventure through the blog looking-glass is taking us to the Lindt Chocolate Museum in Cologne.
Located in a building that looks a bit like a ship, the Lindt Chocolate Museum is sat on the River Rhein. The river actually runs around the building, making it somewhat of a chocolate island! Don’t worry though, you’ll easily reach the Museum, Shop and Café on foot. We honestly didn’t think it was a difficult place to get to by walking.
Entering the museum complex you’ll find a chocolate shop on your left, a coat and bag cloakroom on the right (for which they charge a small fee) and the Chocolat Grand Café in front of you. In the middle of it all is the ticket desk and entrance to the museum. When we bought our tickets we got a little Lindt Emoti chocolate each, which was a nice way to start our walk through the museum.
And it is a museum. You’ll begin by learning the history of the building you’re stood in and about its founder, Hans Imhoff. Large displays are illustrated with interesting black and white photographs (don’t you just love an old photo?) and plenty of description. Everything is available in both German and English languages, so don’t worry if your Deutsche isn’t up to scratch!
So much is covered in the Schokoladenmuseum that I’ll not even attempt to mention it all. You can learn about the origin of cocoa and the botanical aspects of cultivation. There’s a small palm house that simulates the environment needed to grow the base ingredient of chocolate – and then learn about production and harvesting. You’ll even find a section covering the shipping process!
There’s a lot of writing here, naturally – but there’s plenty to look at on the way around. Something that did jump out at me was the graph above. It’s titled “Production of Chocolate and Chocolate Products in Europe in tonnes (2013)”. Not exactly catchy but you immediately understand what’s going on (and I do love me a bar or a pie chart). Germany produced over 1,100,000 tonnes of chocolate products in 2014!
I was also surprised to learn how chocolate was adulterated towards the end of the 19th century. Beef tallow, acorns and even brick dust made its way into chocolate products! I do hope Mondelez doesn’t take any inspiration from this. From 1877 an Association of German Chocolate Manufacturers was founded and a focus on quality was (thankfully!) established.
So what else can you expect here? Plenty of insight into the manufacture of chocolate, including lots of hollow formed figures. I particularly liked watching little chocolates be poured, jiggled to flatten and left to set. Visitors even get a look at the wrapper design process for a bizarrely busty Santa lady! And one of the best bits? Munching a wafer that’s been dipped in warm, melty chocolate from the golden cocoa pod fountain. Delicious…
The Lindt Chocolate Museum also lets you create your own chocolate bar too. It’s not included in the price of a ticket, but should you want to pick your own toppings and have a bar made up to your exact liking – go right ahead. It takes a while for the chocolate to set (obviously) but the route around the museum will bring you back to the pick up point on your way out.
Awaiting visitors is a walk-through palm house, information on the natural history of cocoa, exhibits on the pre-Columbian cultures of Central America, a major collection of baroque porcelain and silver and a multitude of historical machines from the period of industrialisation. | Schokoladenmuseum
One of my favourite sections covered chocolate during the Second World War. This joyful nugget of information above certainly explains a few things, don’t you think? (Hint: Yes, I am joking. But also, no – I don’t care for eating Hershey’s).
Now, I’m a bit of an advertising girl. I’ve been known to enthusiastically show Mr. E3 food advertising features in magazines before. (“But isn’t that clever? It’s so thoughtfully put together!” – Yes reader, he does put up with some bonkers behaviour!) So this section I quite liked. In honesty I would have preferred to see a greater depth of display on the history of chocolate advertising along with examples, but I’m being rather nit-picky on that score. Particularly as the museum has two different ‘shop front’ displays that reflect chocolate retailing in bygone times.
After all of that, we made our way back to the Chocolat Grand Café. It’s a light and open space, with plenty of seats looking out over the Rhine. You don’t have to visit the chocolate museum to drop by either – we actually visited both days of our stay in Cologne! It’s open Monday to Sunday between 11am and 6pm (though it’s only open on Mondays when the chocolate museum is open too).
There’s a selection of chocolate cakes, crepes and waffles and we saw plenty of people ordering large chocolate fondue platters. We opted for cake… and a shot of warm, melty Lindt chocolate. In truth we didn’t spot it on the menu but we did see someone else order one. It seemed like such a good idea, I had to do the same. So if you’re ever near the Lindt Chocolate Museum and need a quick pick-me-up, head on into the café and order yourself a shot of chocolate. It’s so much fun, I’m sure I kept giggling at the indulgence of it for a good half an hour!
Location | Schokoladenmuseum Köln, Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a, 50678 Köln, Germany
Opening Times | Monday – Friday, 10am to 6pm | Saturday – Sunday – Bank Holidays, 11am to 7pm – closed on specific holidays, Mondays in November and Mondays from January to Easter | Check Here
Admission | €11.50 Adults
Find Out More | Website | Café
Always check with the Museum to confirm any details important to you before you travel!