Fries, waffles, beer and of course chocolate; Belgium is famous for more reasons than one. And when it comes to chocolate, there is no denying the fact that Belgian chocolate enjoys a special and enviable reputation in the international market. No visit to the country is complete without sampling and shopping for these delectable treats. Further, if you are interested in the history and evolution of this magic food, Choco story in the capital city of Brussels must be on your list.
A museum dedicated to all things chocolate, this one is located in the city centre and very close to the Grand Palace in Brussels. Right from the history of chocolate to the different kinds of chocolate, the manufacturing process and a live demonstration by an expert chocolatier, the museum has it all.
Complementing all this is interesting trivia ranging from the myths associated with chocolate, composition of the cocoa bean and memorabilia like yesteryear chocolate tins, packing boxes, posters and even cups used for drinking chocolate.
The depiction of the time when the Olmecs were the first to grow cocoa beans which was then passed onto the Mayas is extremely insightful. Chocolate at that time was way different from the form as we know it today. It was more of an elaborate drink made from roasted, powdered cocoa beans that was mixed with water and spices like flowers, pepper etc. It was called “xocoatl” (translating into bitter water). The cocoa bean was a precious commodity at that time and was used like a currency.
It was not until moulds were invented that chocolate was consumed in the solid form. The first moulds that were manufactured have been displayed and it is quite an eye opener.
The journey of chocolate into Europe starting from Spain in 1502 is informative and quite a revelation and includes its advent into Brazil in 1635.
Treasure house of information
The museum depicts several details like the structure and composition of the bean, the nuances of the manufacturing process including fermentation, maintaining the right temperature and also storage. Details like the making of different variants right from marzipan to praline to the several varieties manufactured in Brazil have been depicted.
The museum is just not about theoretical information but also has a demonstration session from an expert chocolatier who will show you the techniques of chocolate making including the making of praline. Needless to mention, you can taste all the goodies after the demo!