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Brussels Chocolate Museum

Home > Brussels > Chocolate | Food and Wine | Museums | Unusual Things to do
by Cressida Ryan (subscribe)
Classicist and traveller
Published March 15th 2015
Belgium is well-known for its chocolate - think names such as Godiva, Leonidas and Neuhaus, whose boutiques line the tourist areas of the major cities and transport hubs. Down a side street in Brussels, however, is a less conspicuous place in the Brussels Chocolate Museum. In homage to both the history of chocolate and its modern day incarnation, Choco Story is a wonderful hidden gem of a museum well worth visiting.

This place is part museum, part demonstration range. As you wander round, absolutely incredible, intricate chocolate designs abound, ready to astound you. They're far too good to eat.

chocolate, sculpture, brussels
chocolate dwarves!

Incredibly there are also confections made out of sugar and chocolate more intricately than a simple shape.

chocolate, museum, brussels
Chocolate fashion

When you first arrive, you're offered a sample of warm chocolate. The fact that this is a working museum means that all your senses are drawn in, as the smell and taste of chocolate reinforce the visual wonder.

At various points in the day you can watch a demonstration of chocolate making. Starting with the big blocks of raw materials, the skilled chocolatiers will show you how it all becomes the tasty shapes we see so beautifully packaged.

chocolate, museum, brussels
That's a BIG block of chocolate!

The advice about only letting chocolate go to particular temperatures when working with it only works when you've got the space and machinery of a kitchen like this one. Watch the melted chocolate swirl around and be poured into the waiting moulds.

brussels, chocolate, museum
Watching a chocolate demonstration

The chocolate is carefully tempered, poured into moulds, scrapped clear of the plastic, and allowed to set. Different cocoa percentages require different temperatures, and the knowledgable staff can talk you through these as well as many other aspects of the process.

chocolate, museum, brussels
Chocolates in the making

Then finally, voila, chocolates ready for you to try. A tray is offered around and if you haven't yet been overpowered by the smell, you have a chance to grab another sample.

chocolate, museum, brussels
Chocolate samples from the demonstration

Going round the rest of the museum, different rooms give you different approaches to chocolate. There is a display on the history of it, showing beans and explaining their origins and how they are processed. Particularly as we care increasingly about ethical food and fair trade, it's really useful to learn more about the sources for one of the most popular foods around.

chocolate, museum, brussels
Chocolate moulds in action

You also learn about how chocolate has been made and manipulated through the years, about the techniques and kit needed to craft the perfect chocolates available across Brussels.

chocolate, museum, brussels
The instruments of chocolate history

The museum is small, but well worth visiting. They also open for specific activities, which you need to book in advance, but which would be amazing for party ideas.

Workshop at the museum: 15 euros per person guide.
• Workshop at the chocolate-maker's Laurent Gerbaud.
• Children's birthday party
• Beer and chocolate tasting
• Chocolate rally.
• Text message treasure hunt.
• Chocolate bar rally.

chocolate, sculpture, brussels
Human chocolate sculpture - reach up high!

The museum is a short walk from the centre of Brussels. As it's based in an old house, you have charm, but perhaps not practical comfort. It would not be particularly easy for pushchairs or wheelchairs.

In French the museum is called the Musée du Cacao et du Chocolat, so look out for this on signs. The present museum is relatively new, having developed from earlier establishments, the joint efforts of the Van Belle and Van Lierde - Draps families. Their joint efforts in creating this magnificent tribute to chocolate makes for a fabulous afternoon out.
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Why? Chocolate to taste and learn about!
When: uesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. (last entrance at 4.30 pm)
Where: Rue de la Tête d'Or, 9-11, 1000 Brussels
Cost: 6 euros for adults, less for concessions
Your Comment
It looks like an interesting place to visit. I love the chocolate dwarves.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12626) 2657 days ago
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