Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum Köln

The museum entrance.
The Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum Köln is one of the most popular museums in Cologne, and in Germany. Its popularity was apparent the day my friend and I visited as there was a large, international crowd there. Admission is expensive at 9 euros, but children can enter for 6 euros, and if you have an international student ID card like I did, you pay 6 euros.

Naturally, the admission price does not include entrance to the museum cafe which serves a variety of specialty chocolate treats and drinks. We thought the cafe might be expensive, so since we were on a tight budget and knew we would make purchases at the gift shop after exploring the museum, my friend and I opted to skip the cafe.

My favorite area of the museum was the room where visitors can see how chocolate is made. It was interesting to view the chocolate from the initial churning process all the way to how it is subsequently cooled, wrapped, and boxed. I'm alway curious about how things are made, and since chocolate is my favorite candy I was extremely fascinated!

First, the chocolate is churned for several hours in order
to create a perfect, creamy consistency.
Then, the chocolate gets funneled through this machine...
...and is shot into these chocolate molds.
Next, the chocolate is pressed into the mold by the above
machine and cooled.
Lastly, another machine wraps the chocolates
and the fall off the conveyor belt right into a box!
The chocolate fountain, a gift from the gods!
Err, I mean Lindt...

A little piece of heaven.
Watching how chocolate is made can make almost anyone's mouth water. Luckily, the directors of the Schokoladenmuseum predicted this and placed a large chocolate fountain close to the chocolate making machine where visitors can enjoy a chocolate-dipped wafer! Don't be shy, you can ask for seconds - and several people did. I feel chocolate in Germany has a smooth, richness which far surpasses American chocolate. In fact, after enjoying the chocolate in Germany (as well as France and Belgium) I've formed an aversion to American chocolate. That sounds hoity toity but I'm simply being honest!

The area adjacent to the chocolate-making room housed a small workshop of sorts where visitors were allowed to either buy pre-made Schokoladenmuseum chocolates or order customized creations of their own. As both options were rather pricy, my friend and I were content to take photos and enjoy the chocolate art.

A variety of chocolate animals.
As we visited Germany during the World Cup,
large soccer ball chocolates were being made.
The workers creating custom chocolates.
For your custom chocolates, you can choose to add
a variety of nuts, cereal, dried fruit, etc.
Past the chocolate workshop were several displays about the history of chocolate. I enjoy history and find old packaging intriguing as it appears more intricate and thoughtful than today's designs. 

Old candy boxes and wrappers.
An old candy shop recreation complete with real antiques.
A fancy candy vending machine
from the past!
A myriad of old candy bar wrappers.

Kaba chocolate drink power and
Bueno chocolate packaging through the years.
Although my friend and I are clearly adults, we loved the children's section of the museum and amused ourselves by playing the games and looking through the comics there. I wonder what people were thinking about us, two grown-ups checking out all the kids' displays! If you have children, they will certainly have fun kids' section, and you probably will to!

This display was in the shape of a giant
Kinder Bueno egg.
 A touchscreen computer made it easy to read the comics,
which were mostly in German of course.
A huge Lindt chocolate, every child's dream!
After exploring the museum, we bought chocolate at the gift shop which was extremely crowded. I supposed the hectic mood in the shop made me forget to take pictures. Nonetheless, the gift shop was worth the time and most of the treats there were reasonably priced. I actually regretted not buying more. As the gift shop is accessible without the purchase of a museum ticket, I wanted to return the day we were to go back to France, but I wasn't able to due to our tight schedule.

While don't believe it's fair to call the Schokoladenmuseum a tourist trap because the displays are interesting and informative as well as interactive, I'm reluctant to describe it as a museum in the traditional sense because the focus appeared to be showing visitors an abbreviated version of how chocolate is made and, of course, encouraging patrons to buy as much chocolate as possible! Nonetheless, I don't regret visiting because I love chocolate! The exhibits were engaging enough to be worth the price, yet I feel one doesn't need to visit twice.

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