I had wanted to go to the Schokoladenmuseum in Köln (pronounced Cologne) for several weeks when I finally said screw it and went.
Which meant in the middle of a week.
Without Brian (who was at work) & without Neko (who said it sounded boring and wasn’t particularly interested in chocolate).
Pffft! Not going to hurt my feelings!
This was the first trip I had undertaken since getting my license.
So in addition to having the pleasure of driving on the autobahn I had to also find a parking garage. I don’t know which was more stressful or more eye-opening! Once we found a place to park we had to get our bearings and then off we went.
Once we paid (The prices were 9 € per adult or 25 € per family. There is also an area where you can check your coat or bags for a fee) we entered the museum and were treated to several exhibits regarding the Botany & Taxonomy of Cacao (the majority of which were conveniently available in both German and English). Followed by a small botanical garden to view these trees in their normal habitat and an area dedicated to the importance of sustainable community farming.
The next area had interactive displays that talked about the ingredients that go into chocolate. Our favorite display asked you to pump air through a canister and then asked you to guess what kind of ingredient it was!
Inside the processing room we began to explore.
A tasty sample was a part of the tour!
It was neat to follow the assembly line…
Then it was on to the second floor for chocolate molds & bonbons!
Before leaving this floor you have an opportunity to purchase fresh chocolate from the Lindt counter – which because of the taste and the price we highly recommend!
Climbing the short stairway the next floor is a large area dedicated to the history of chocolate!
From the Mayans to the European nobles, the important role chocolate played in the different cultures was highlighted. The lovely looking china cups and service trays that served the chocolate beverages were a pure delight – for the kids not so much. One of the wall displays explained that the clergy used the chocolate beverage to help them get through Lent and was a popular drink to have in bed.
A replicated candy store and neat chocolate candy dispensers greet us in the next room…
Moving to the 4th(?) floor across a skywalk we came to an area dedicated to the chocolate candies most of us are familiar with. I loved looking at the collection of Kinder Egg toys (*sigh* too bad they were behind glass!), Ferrero Rocher (so much more than just the bonbons and bunnies – this includes the Kinder Surprise candies and Nutella), the Ritter Sport locker, the Milka cow, and even the Nesquick… Bear!
The final display of interest to me on this floor was the traveling salesman case. Oh man! If this was still a thing I would be in trouble!
Finally making our way back to the first floor we were enticed by a lovely café to our immediate left and a well-stocked gift shop to the right. While most of the museum was room temperature the gift shop was kept cool for good reason! (Some of the treasures we brought home to share with Brian & Neko melted! No worries we are happy to report that none survived this slight travesty.)
To return back to the parking garage we decided to take a one way trip on the Chocolate Express.
By the time we arrived at the end point destination a block away from the cathedral, I realized we were no closer to the car then if we had walked… BUT man I was glad to get off my feet for a while!
This trip reminded me that I had introduced ‘The Chocolate Touch’ and ‘The Chocolate Fever’ to Neko when the girls were about this age. Coincidentally I came across both copies of the book at the reuse center after this trip!
If you are also looking for ideas to further incorporate chocolate into your homeschool or as a family learning project, then these links might be for you;
Chocolate Lesson Plan by Rebecca Haden over at MyFreshPlan.com
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Lesson Plans & Activities
over at Internet4Classrooms.com
The Hershey Museum also has Lesson Plans for teachers in all grade levels!