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5000 years of cultural history

In the Chocolate Museum you go on a journey through the 5000-year cultural history of chocolate. The most comprehensive presentation of the history and present of cocoa and chocolate in the world can be found on over 4,000 m².

We have brought together a wide variety of exhibits on the origins, history and cultural history of chocolate around the world. In total, our unique collection comprises around 2500 objects.

The conquerors and cocoa

Christopher Columbus was probably the first European to encounter cocoa in 1502, although he paid no further attention to it. At the end of the 16th century, chocolate became a popular drink among immigrant missionaries and settlers. Starting in Mesoamerica, chocolate began its triumphal march around the world.

The treasure chamber

In the museum’s “treasure chamber”, you will gain an insight into pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, into the culture of the Olmecs, Maya and Aztecs, for whom cocoa, which was also used as currency at times over the centuries, was a drink of the gods. Take a look at the extremely rare exhibits that make it clear how important cocoa was to these peoples and how it was prepared. We show you sculptures and objects that were used in ritual acts as well as rubbing stones and drinking vessels.

How chocolate conquered Europe

Chocolate enjoyment has an almost 5000-year-old tradition. As a hot chocolate drink, cocoa conquered the world in the 17. and In the 18th century, the elegant salons of the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie. Chocolate was used in the In the 18th century, the dish was always prepared in the same way, the only difference being the taste due to the use of spices. The ingredients had to be of the highest quality. The preparation of chocolate was the responsibility of the favorite maid and specially trained chocolate girls. Their only task was to ensure that the valuable cocoa beans were processed into a drink and served.

The porcelain castle

You can admire valuable chocolate services in our porcelain castle. They illustrate the former importance of the luxury drink. Chocolate services made of precious porcelain, silver or gold were required for the appropriate indulgence. Our collection shows you chocolate cups and pots that bear witness to the feudal use of this luxury product at court. Feel like you’ve been transported back to the days of aristocratic society, when life was characterized by idleness.

Fascinating cultural history

A luxury item for everyone

You can find out more about the development of chocolate into a luxury treat for everyone in our cultural history section. In the 19. and In the 20th century, chocolate slowly became more affordable in the course of industrialization and colonization. Nevertheless, cocoa and chocolates remained a gift for special occasions.

Whether on the radio or television, chocolate is omnipresent. Even in the past, the chocolate market has spared no effort to impress us with beautiful packaging, enamel signs or posters. You can admire a wide variety of advertising materials in our exhibition, which were mainly used between the turn of the century and the 1950s. A luxury good becomes affordable.

Early advertising boom

Two historical store fittings show how elaborately decorated packaging for cocoa and chocolate products was presented in the old days. You can find out more about the development of chocolate into a luxury food for everyone in our cultural history section.

In 1887, a groundbreaking attraction was invented: the chocolate vending machine. You can admire one of these historic machines in our collection and operate it – just like 100 years ago.

A look back at the early history of advertising and sales promotion is provided by the 30 or so magnificent chocolate vending machines in our collection, which could be found in New York train stations, on the Zugspitze or on the Champs-Elysées at the end of the 19th century. Who doesn’t remember the days of the unforgettable collector’s pictures that you could keep in specially made albums? Initially intended as a promotional tool for sample packs, they were soon so successful that they were used as a fully-fledged sales form.