Guide Tour of Choco-Story Chocolate Museum of Paris, France

The Choco Story Chocolate Gourmet Museum of Paris is a private museum located in Paris, France. It is dedicated to the origin and evolution of the production and consumption of chocolate through a collection of a thousand objects. It presents the historical aspect of chocolate, the evolution of manufacturing methods, and the ingredients used. Immerse in the fabulous world of chocolate for an exciting adventure through time!

Choco-Story, The gourmet chocolate museum, retraces more than 4000 years of cocoa and chocolate history in words, images and flavors. The museum plunges visitors into the fabulous world of chocolate and takes them on an exciting adventure through time, to be lived intensely, all the senses awakened.

The museum, made up of three distinct parts: the origin of cocoa in pre- Columbian civilizations, its importation into Europe by Spanish colonists and its installation in consumption habits, the contemporary aspect of chocolate. The museum collections tells the origin and evolution of chocolate through a unique collection of a thousand objects. There is also a space dedicated to temporary exhibitions, renewed two or three times a year.

In the first part of the exhibition presents the origin of cocoa in the pre- Columbian civilizations, mainly the Aztecs and the Mayas, is presented by means of objects (statuettes, bowls, goblets, ritual instruments…) and facsimiles of codices accompanied by explanatory panels. The place of cocoa in society and in religion is discussed, as well as the differences between the methods of preparing cocoa drinks at the time and those to which the European public of the 21st century is accustomed.

The second part of the exhibition presents the arrival of cocoa in Europe through travel from the period of the great discoveries to the Renaissance. The cocoa economy in Europe, particularly in Spain and France, is detailed, as well as the evolution of chocolate drink recipes and the fashion for hot chocolate lounges. On display are the tools for preparing hot chocolate as well as many ornate cups and containers.

First part
Discovering the tree that gives us chocolate: the cocoa tree. You will discover all the specificities that are necessary for its development and how we transform its beans to make delicious chocolate.

The Maya space explains the mystical rites of the Mayas and Aztecs, illustrated by superb authentic objects. It was the Olmecs who first, 4000 years ago, initiated the use of cocoa. In the Maya area, visitors can admire a statue of the god Quetzalcoatl. Cocoa was not only used to prepare the divine nectar but also as currency. Cocoa had great value.

The Toltecs and later Aztecs (1150–1500 AD), took over the cultivation of the cocoa tree from the Maya and revered cocoa and the cocoa tree, which they nicknamed the “Tree of Paradise”. Cocoa is then a bitter drink based on cocoa mass, water and spices. In these cultures, cocoa is considered the “divine nectar”, the food of the gods for the gods. According to tradition, the god Quetzalcoatl (the feathered serpent) plays an important role in the history of cocoa: he is said to be the great master of cocoa, who taught man how to cultivate and prepare “Tchocoatl”.

Second part
This second part begins with the important meeting, in 1519, between the Aztec emperor Moctezuma and Hernan Cortés, which will lead in particular to the introduction of cocoa in Europe. 
Christopher Columbus was the first European to taste the cocoa-based drink “Tchocoatl” in 1502, but finding it unsavory, he paid little attention to it.

Initially, the Spaniards were not fond of this drink from the New World. They end up getting a taste of it after adding sugar to it. From 1528, Cortés imported precious cocoa beans to Spain. “Chocolate” quickly became the favorite drink of the Spanish court, from where it gradually spread to the royal courts of other European countries from the 17th century, in France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. United in particular. In 1615, the chocolate drink was served at official audiences at the court of France.

Around the middle of the 17th century, tea and “chocolate” salons appeared. T he superb collection of chocolate cups in the museum (the Mancerinas and the Trembleuses), as well as the different chocolate pots called “chocolatieres” in copper, silver and various materials, testify to the growing enthusiasm for the drink of the same name.

In Europe, it remains until the end of the 18th century a delicacy reserved for the nobility, the bourgeoisie and the clergy. Chocolate is offered in pharmacies and in spice shops, in the first case to soften the bitter taste, even downright bad, of certain medicines, in the second case to enhance the taste of food. Chocolate will not be appreciated for itself until the end of the 18th, beginning of the 19th century.

Until the 18th century, chocolate was made in a traditional way. The process was considerably improved during the industrial revolution and chocolate experienced its heyday from the 19th century. The improvement of production methods, the selection of the best cocoa beans and the improvement of crops make it possible to manufacture a product of great finesse, as we know it today.

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In the 19th century, chocolate diversified: chocolate in liquid and solid form, milk chocolate, sticks, tablets, hollow figures, pralines. From now on, chocolate is within everyone’s reach! The museum then offers you a walk through the 20th century, starting with an introduction to the manufacture of chocolate at the beginning of the century. Enter the fabulous world of a 1950s chocolate factory where melting pot and utensils take pride of place.

Other Collections
Beyond the historical aspect, the museum also details the methods of making chocolate, the ingredients used and the evolution of its manufacture over the centuries. The place of chocolate in today’s societies is finally approached, in particular with the help of statistics and analyzes showing the differences in composition between the different types of chocolate today (dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate).

Small display cases installed at child’s height present historical scenes reconstructed with the help of toys, in order to bring the subjects covered within the reach of a young audience. The basement of the museum houses an exhibition of sculptures and chocolate figures depicting various subjects. It also hosts a space devoted to public demonstrations of chocolate preparation.

Chocolate Week is coming! Dresses, hats, stilettos, handbags… Each model is meticulously made by the Belgian chocolate artist Peter Teerlinck, for the pleasure of the eyes… and our sense of smell! Zero fashion faux pas guaranteed.

The most famous Parisian monuments are represented in imposing sculptures. Rediscover the Arc de Triomphe (1m high.), or the Eiffel Tower (3m high.). Jean-Luc Decluzeau, author of these works, also unveils his majestic chocolate statue of the Serpent God, Quetzalcoatl.

An ode to nature with a series of sculptures made by Stéphane Leroux, best worker in France. It presents many works with material effects: stones, reeds, driftwood, metal…

Temporary exhibition
There is also a space dedicated to temporary exhibitions, renewed two or three times a year.

Expert in rediscovering the hidden aromas of cocoa grands crus, or simply gourmet to taste everything, even praline candies. Demonstrations of making chocola are organized all day long for the pleasure.

Come and meet our chocolatiers, with Bertrand Balay, Stéphane Leroux (MOF 2004) and Jonathan Mougel (MOF 2019) who will explain to you in detail how to make the best chocolates, what to do, and above all to avoid, to obtain products chocolates both shiny and crunchy.

Bertrand Balay will introduce you to the tablage technique to perfect the chocolate. Stéphane Leroux will show you all the steps necessary to prepare a real praline candy associated with the sweetness of the Grand Cru Lait Vénézuéla, while Jonathan Mougel will prepare a superb candy with lime ganache combined with a Grand Cru Noir from Peru…

Many workshops for all ages are organized to make your own creations. The Musée Gourmand du Chocolat sets up workshops all year round where young and old can handle and make their chocolate in the company of a chocolatier. The participants then leave with the chocolates they have made.

There is also a fun course for children, adults and children, allows the whole family to discover the world of chocolate, while having fun.

Tags: France