If you’re passing through Brussels for a day or short stay, be sure to take the time to visit the Choco-Story Museum to learn everything about the history of chocolate and have a unique experience.
When one thinks of Belgium and its culinary specialties, fries, beer, mussels, and above all, chocolate come to mind. Belgium is known and recognized internationally for its chocolate.
Located on Rue de l’Etuve (No. 41) in the heart of Brussels, between the Grand Place and the Manneken Pis, the Choco-Story Museum is a must-visit for chocolate enthusiasts. This week, I had the chance to visit the museum and even participate in the preparation of my own chocolate tablet.
At the beginning of the museum tour, visitors receive an audio guide (shaped like a chocolate tablet, of course). The tour is available in 8 languages (French, Dutch, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and Chinese).
Immediately, visitors are immersed in the world of chocolate and cocoa. The museum really traces the discovery of chocolate up to its current production. Visitors pass through rooms representing a Maya temple, an Amazonian forest, a ship of Cortés bringing cocoa beans to Europe, and the Court of France in the 17th century.
The decorations and representations are very well executed, and visitors are immediately immersed in different worlds thanks to various scenographic representations or even olfactory experiences.
This museum should also appeal to children, who can dress up in period costumes or watch live demonstrations that take place several times a day.
If you don’t have the opportunity to visit the Choco-Story Museum in Brussels, know that there are 7 Choco-Story museums in the world: Brussels, Bruges, Prague, Paris, Uxmal, Valladolid, and Beirut.
Making my own chocolate bar
After the museum tour, I had the chance to enter the heart of the chocolate making workshops to create my own chocolate bar. The workshops are visible to all visitors at the end of the museum tour, and you can watch the craftsmen at work.
I was able to witness all the stages of chocolate making from sorting the beans, to roasting where the beans are heated at very high temperatures to develop the chocolate flavor, to the conching stage where the paste is stirred to reveal all the finesse of the chocolate, the tempering of the chocolate to make it thick, and finally the molding and even the filling (with speculoos, coconut or nips).
We were even able to taste the chocolate at each stage of its making! However, I must admit that it was not always very good and the sticky texture bothered me. But the final product looked so much like chocolate that I was disturbed that it didn’t taste like the chocolate I’m used to eating.
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, from 10am to 6pm.
Address: Rue de l’Etuve 41, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.