Chocoholics, this is the museum for you! Barcelona is known for being the city that has something for everyone, so naturally it has a museum dedicated entirely to chocolate. The museum was founded in 2000 by the Barcelona Confectionary Guild and is located in the former Convent de Sant Agustí. The convent has a 13th century cloister that was discovered when the building was being renovated and can now be viewed when you visit the museum.
The museum has seven different halls in total as well as a workshop area and a gift shop. The first hall of the museum, Cacao and Chocolate, traces the history of chocolate from its origins in Central America where it was used as a medicinal product to its introduction to Europe in the 16th century by the Spanish conquistadores. Cocoa plants and the fruits of the tree are also on display in this hall.
In the second hall, Chocolate and Culture, visitors learn how different regions and ethnic groups, such as the Aztecs, made chocolate. Here you can learn the ancient recipe for “Xocoatl”. This hall also discusses the importance of chocolate for cultures such as the Aztec and the Maya.
The third and fourth halls are called Art and Creation and Confit and Chocolate, where visitors will see how chocolate creations have come to be viewed as pieces of art, rather than just a tasty treat.
The fifth hall discusses the history of chocolate. Visitors learn about the history of chocolate in Europe, which began in Barcelona when the very first shipment of cocoa arrived to its port from the New World more than 500 years ago. It also discusses its influence on art and baking. The fifth hall also has an audio-visual presentation of the history of chocolate and how it´s produced.
One of the most popular rooms in the museum is the sixth hall, Sala Barcelona, which features chocolate miniatures of some of the most famous buildings in Barcelona. Gaudí fans will love it, as they will get a chance to see replicas of some of his most famous works. There are also plenty of other chocolate sculptures throughout the museum, including one of Snowflake, the albino gorilla that was kept at the zoo until his death a few years ago, made of white chocolate.
The seventh hall goes into detail about the manufacturing of chocolate. Several machines are on display which show how it is done, including one which grinds cocoa beans and another that moulds chocolate. The museum also has a display of a machine designed to produce mass quantities of chocolate.
At the back of the museum there are glass windows connecting the museum to the Escola de Patisseria where visitors can see real classes being taught by the masters themselves. The windows are large and allow easy viewing of the cooking stations so that you can look on as the students learn their craft.
Of course, the visit would not be complete without a visit to the gift-shop. Here visitors can buy different souvenirs made of chocolate and different chocolate items, such as chocolate liqueur. Many of the items sold make great gifts for those back home, especially those with a sweet tooth!
Guided tours are offered for 5,40€ per person. During the tour the guide explains the origins of cacao in more detail, as well as Catalan traditions related to chocolate. The museum also offers a variety of workshops, most of them directed towards children. If you are interested in a guided tour or a workshop you will need to sign up in advance, so check the webpage for more details.
Every Easter the museum hosts a contest to create the best “mona”. The mona is a chocolate sculpture which god-parents traditionally give their god-children on the Monday after Easter. Chocolate makers all over Barcelona display their best creations in their windows during Easter week, but the ones at the museum are particularly well-done.
The museum is probably not what anyone would consider a “must-see” but it´s a fun way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy day. It´s also a great museum for children if you need something to keep them entertained. All visitors receive a free chocolate bar with admission. And just in case that´s not enough to keep you satisfied, you can pass by the cafe for a cup of hot chocolate or one of the other tasty treats.
Address: Comerç, 36 (on the corner of Plaça i Clerch)
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm and on Sundays from 10am to 3pm.
Price of Admission: 4,30€
Telephone: (₊34) 932 687 878