Our last afternoon in Bruges had none of the glorious Belgian sunshine we had been enjoying the rest of the week, black clouds and torrential rain was the order of the day. We consoled ourselves with chocolate – loads of it. Chocolate to eat as we strolled with umbrellas aloft, chocolate souvenirs to bring home and a visit to Choco Story, a museum celebrating that great Belgian staple.
Choco Story is a chocolate museum right in the middle of Bruges, quirky and housed in a typical Belgian gabled townhouse. I fell in love with that building instantly. Apparently it is the brainchild of a father and son whose family owned business – Belcolade produces amongst the finest chocolate in the world. Belcolade is the only producer of Belgian chocolate that is still Belgian owned.
Inspired by two other museums – Hershey, PA and Cologne (we went there and loved it), the family acquired this beautiful three storey medieval building which was a wine tavern in the 1500’s and a bakery in the 1700’s. Inside the story of chocolate is told over three floors.
Loads of information on the early history of chocolate going back to the Maya and Aztecs on the first floor. Next floor up was all about the properties of chocolate and how the cocoa bean is transformed into what we all know and love and then the third floor educated us on the healthy properties of chocolate.
I thought it was a reasonable museum, it just did not blow me away. Everything was a little bit heavy and dry, tonnes of information to read and the fact Son skipped through most of it and seemed to be on a race to get to the end definitely did not help.
The best bit was at the end. On the ground floor they had chocolate tasting. Needless to say a popular thing, unfortunately we were amongst the last to arrive and Husband and I had to cram ourselves against the back wall and watch all the action on a screen. Son wormed his way to the front somehow and got a wonderful view. A chef speaking in French, Dutch and English showed how chocolate is treated to give a shiny appearance and explained how they get a crunchy texture. We were all given a piece to try as we left and exited via the gift shop. Delicious and the best part of the museum for me.
A reasonable place to visit on a rainy day in Bruges, however if the sun is shining and the weather is fair, get your chocolate fix in the shops and explore the other delights of this wonderful town instead.