One of the things that had drawn me to Cologne was its chocolate museum, and I have to say, it did a great job in cheering me up on a day when I felt a little down
It’s located right on the Altstadt side of the Rhein river in the closest thing to a castle Cologne has. To get into the museum you have to walk over a drawbridge. Admission included two pieces of Lindt chocolate, just to give you a taste.
And what a museum it is. It celebrates the discovery of chocolate, the manufacture of chocolate (including the importance of a printing press for making labels and special forms for making filled chocolate), and the many esoteric forms, distribution, and promotion of chocolate in all of Germany.
There’s an entire section dedicated to the South American civilizations which introduced chocolate to Europeans, and another section on how the ships navigated the Atlantic between Europe and South America.
The little educational computer game in the section as much as asserts that ships got bigger and faster over time just so they could bring MORE CHOCOLATE to Europe.
There are displays of the special chocolate drinking glasses, since chocolate was originally only produced in liquid form:
And even a mini rainforest, so you can appreciate where chocolate grows:
And, oh, doh, how could I ever forget: a chocolate fountain. I was a little surprised to see it wasn’t all-you-can eat, but rather controlled by a nice lady who’d hand you chocolate-dipped wafers. But then again, Augustus Gloop was German, wasn’t he, and it may be wiser to keep such types at a distance from the fountain itself.
The chocolate fountain lady looks a little grumpy here, but she’s really very nice. She always gave me more when I came back.
But what fascinated me the most was the many different types of chocolate on the top floor. Since Cologne’s chocolate museum is built and sponsored by Lindt chocolates, I was afraid they’d focus exclusively on their own brand. But they featured Germany’s other chocolate producers, historical and modern, without any bias.
There was East German commie chocolate, which was reserved exclusively for the best commies:
There was medicinal chocolate, including this cure for syphillis. Its active ingredient was mercury, yum. It might get rid of that venereal disease, but you’d become a drooling idiot. Oh, what did you care as long as the chocolate tasted good:
There was Berry Bear 80s-nostalgia chocolate for Generation Y to reminisce about:
World cup chocolate. because you can never have enough World Cup fever:
As well as Extra-dark for men-only chocolate, and its counterpart, milk chocolate for women, gargantuan Lindt chocolate truffle displays, and chocolate advent calendars of the ages. And there was an entire section of tin machines which had dispensed chocolate balls for pfennigs, like this one:
And on one side of the museum, always stunning views of the Rhein and the Deutz bridge:
I was also fascinated by old commercials for chocolate. One of them showed that you could fatten Caspar-Who-Wouldn’t-Eat-His-Supper right back into chubbiness by simply giving him chocolate. And another series of ads had Swiss people expressing their surprise that the yummy chocolate they’d just tasted was (gasp!) German .
I pretty much closed down the museum, and was just as dazed by the chocolate store. I could have bought a mini-cathedral in white chocolate, but settled for relief of the same on a chocolate tablet. I bought chocolate cigarettes for Peter, who loved them as a child, but hasn’t seen chocolate cigarettes in the States for more than 20 years. And I bought some treats for Neil and Kelly as well. It had a bonus in that Kelly missed me horribly, but after I spoke to her on the phone that night and told her that I’d gone to the chocolate museum and was sending her some chocolate, her only question to me (for the rest of my trip) was “when are you bringing me chocolate?” Well, at least my daughter has her priorities straight.