The Chocolate Museum in Paris is one of my favorite museums. The museum is located in the 10th arr. It’s right near Metro lines 8 and 9. The museum isn’t too large, although it is three floors. There are two different types of tickets. One is just the museum and the other includes a chocolate making workshop.
I highly recommend doing the workshop. When I entered the kitchen space I saw stations set up for 6 people. This includes some marshmallows, candied orange peel, hazelnut chocolate squares and a chocolate bar mold. A chocolatier showed us ways to dip and cover our items in dark, milk, or white chocolate. There are also add ons like crispy cereal, almonds and coconut. Then you have fun. They will even give you a little cone of chocolate for drizzling. About half way through the workshop the Chocolatier shows you how to fill the molds. They show you how to make hearts and ways to mix different types of chocolate together. At the end of the workshop you get to take your chocolate in the molds, since the bars take some time to fully harden, as well as everything else that you’ve made.
After the workshop I downloaded the IZI Travel app. This has the audio guide on it and, to my excitement, I could listen to it anytime, even at home with my chocolate loving parents.
The tour starts on the main floor with an introduction to the cocoa bean itself. This is information about where it is found and how it’s grown. Next you learn about how the Mayans, and Aztecs used and ate chocolate. It was highly valuable and used as an offering to the gods. Only the elite were allowed to drink chocolate. It was not sweet. The cocoa bean was also used as currency. An egg was worth three coco beans and a rabbit was worth ten.
The museum shows statues and scenes of people making the chocolate into a drink. The museum also had Playmobil scenes set up.
They showed and explained how the people would take the cocoa bean from start to finish. Throughout the museum you learn how they did this in different time periods and different cultures. They would have the recipe and samples of the chocolate. They tried to make this tasting chocolate as close to the original recipe as is possible.
They have artifacts from the Aztecs related to making chocolate. After roasting the beans they were ground with a metate which is like a flat mortar and pestle. There is one that is 3,500 years old. The exhibit also has metates from different time periods so you can see how they changed over time. Later on the stones were raised so they can be heated from underneath. Heating it made it easier to crush the beans. This process created a cocoa paste.
The Aztecs put pepper, chili, corn, and dried flowers into their chocolate drink. The museum shows many Aztec drinking vessels.
The Spanish added sugar, almonds, cloves, orange blossom water, cinnamon, smaller amounts of pepper, hazelnuts and anise seeds.
For a very long time The Spanish kept chocolate a secret. It wasn’t until there was a marriage between a French king, Louis the IV, and a Spanish princess in 1660 that it was brought to France.
After you learn about how chocolate came to Europe and France, on the third floor, you get to explore how chocolate was used in medicine and then in the French courts.
They have all sorts of equipment on display used to make chocolate through the ages. They also have melters, chocolate pots, and a huge collection of cups that were designed to drink chocolate from. Here, there are saucers with lips on them to keep the cup from tipping over. There is also a mustache cup. This has a ceramic bar on it to keep men’s mustaches from getting wet when they drink chocolate.
Chocolate wasn’t made into a solid form until the 1800s when a man by the name of Van Houten created a machine that could separate the coco butter and the cocoa mass. You could take the coco mass and create a powder. This allowed it to have less fat content. It also allowed it to be created into a solid form. The first bar was made in 1847.
It wasn’t until the invention of machines that a fine paste was able to be created. This helped chocolate be less gritty.
Around 1860, 500g of chocolate cost about a month’s salary thanks to a tax on chocolate by Napoleon III. It wasn’t until WWII that the price went down.
The last section of the museum shows and talks about how chocolate became commercialized. It was being offered in religious traditions so it became very popular. They started using molds made of iron then molds made of plastic.
The last section of the museum has molds, chocolate containers and advertisements.
You can go back downstairs to see chocolate art. There are dresses, shoes and bags made from chocolate and sometimes special chocolate art exhibits. Next to these exhibits there is a demonstration room.
At the very end of the museum there is a show where they sell chocolate bars close to the old recipes. This is a delicious museum and I love being able to taste the history. Choco-Story Paris