On the drive back to the UK for Christmas and New Year (the first in three years – more on that later!), we stopped off in Cologne (or Köln as it’s better known over here) to break up the journey. Cases dumped at the family friendly Novatel on the edge of town (The Small people were won over by the cool watches they were given on arrival), we set out to explore.
Not having been to Cologne before, I know very little about it apart from that it’s situated on the banks of the Rhine, and being famous for its Christmas Markets, but having perhaps over-indulged in the Munich Markets, they weren’t initially the big draw for us – this had been spotted from the car on the way into town: –
Well, it would have been rude not to really wouldn’t it?
I think the Small People were expecting Oompa loompas and the like, and to be honest, I wasn’t overly hopeful as to the contents, but as it was bound to have a good shop selling all things Lindt, we ventured inside… And I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised by the whole of the Schokoladen Museum… You are even given free chocolate when you buy your tickets (24 Euro for a family ticket), which is always a good start. Then your chocolate education commences – where it comes from, which countries eat the most etc. all interesting and interactive for the Small People – they especially loved the miniature rain forest, complete with real cocoa pods…
Once you’ve finished with this part, your nose then hurries you along to the factory, where the machines take you through the whole process, from molten chocolate to finished truffle… The piece de resistance lies here too – forget the grubby chocolate fountain you might have come across at an office party, and behold the God of Chocolate Fountains…
Unfortunately (but understandably) you aren’t allowed to help yourselves…
We then continued upwards past chocolate workshops, and the design your own chocolate area, towards the chocolate figures in the setting process, which triggered lots of discussions as to how long it would take you to eat a man on a giant camel, and perhaps why you would actually want one in the first place, apart from it being chocolate of course… At this point, I thought we had seen all there was to see, but no, the Museum continues, with exhibits of chocolate through different cultures and ages.
And then on through an advertisers dream of all things Chocolate, including the biggest Lindt Chocolate Bunny I have ever seen in my life, and an interactive Milka Cow game. There’s even a little cinema where you can sit and watch international chocolate adverts which was more entertaining than it sounds, believe me! Small Boy especially loved these historical chocolate vending machines and wondered why they weren’t around anymore, and so do I actually!
With our knowledge of all things chocolate well and truly sated, we called it a day (there is indeed a huge shop, and the most amazing looking cafe here if you haven’t had enough of chocolate at this point, but both were packed to the rafters, and anyway the Gluhwein was calling…).
And because it would also have been rude not to wander into the old town and have a look at Cologne’s Christmas Markets, we did exactly that. I have to say, they are probably the most picturesque I have come across so far, and the setting under the cathedral is truly stunning. Bellies stuffed full of regional treats, and eierpunch (kind of hot egg-nog) and hot chocolate, we made our way back to the hotel where we were all asleep by 9pm.
And incredibly bright and early the next morning, and with Chris Rhea’s “Driving Home for Christmas” as resident ear-worm for the day, we continued on our journey, homeward bound…
The View From the Table says
Oh, I will be showing my (chocoholic) daughter this tomorrow! Looks fabulous.
It’s a dangerous place for a chocoholic! :) x
That looks like my kind of museum!!! :0) x
It was definitely mine! Thanks Charlotte! :) x
The Healthy Epicurean says
A chocolate museum – what’s not to like ;-) (surely a torture museum though if you’re not allowed to taste!) Thanks for the mention on Britmums.
You are more than welcome! Oh but you are allowed to taste, just not allowed to help yourselves unfortunately :D
I would just be a little worried that I might not be able to control my small person’s excitement and we might end up destroying some of the exhibits!
Nevermind the Small People, it was me that had to practice a lot of self control! :D
Loving that chocolate fountain!
We’ve taken Rory to two chocolate museums: Cadbury World in Bournville was educational and yummy. I think I enjoyed discovering the history of Bournville itself and how George Cadbury set up a village for his workers and ensured they all worked in a safe environment with decent wages and social care. Fascinating stuff.
The other chocolate museum was in Barcelona. It was quite small and seemed to consist of a lot of models made of the brown stuff.
But did you get to eat the brown chocolate models?? I am liking the sound of Cadbury World! Thank you Trish! :)
wow a chocolate museum, looks and sounds fantastic xx
Thanks Wendy, it was an experience! :) xx
Erica Price says
Gutted now that I missed a visit to this when we went to Cologne a while back. Will probably be back though so will be putting this on the list.
Well, if you do go back, I highly recommend a visit! Thanks Erica! :)
michelle twin mum says
Ohh a chocloate museum, how fab! Happy new year, Mich x
Thank you Mich… A very Happy New Year to you too xx
Oh just for once I can say “been there, done that”! There is a Shokolade Express mini train you can catch from outside the cathedral that transports you to the Chocolate museum. Such Fun! Isn’t the front of that one shaped like a boat? I have to confess I have been to quite a lot of chocolate museums and in a full tummy sort of way they have all merged into one memory for me :)
Yes, it does look like a boat. In fact, I thought it was a boat until we got a little bit closer… Didn’t know about the train, my two would have loved that! Oh well, next time! This was my first chocolate museum experience, and I am hoping for another one soon enough :D
Cadburys world have warm chocolate on tap at one point to be eaten with a spoon and any topping you can think of. It’s like walking into a Charlie in the chocolate factory heaven!
I am sure they waited until I left the country to open places like that… Typical :D
i have had to get a mop and bucket to clean up the drool, im not allowed chocolate at the moment (pregers) and its all i want, i think i would hide inside the giant bunny till closing then nosh my way through the museum
That sounds like a plan to me… :D No chocolate allowed, that’s terrible (end result will be worth it though!) :) x
Midlife Singlemum says
So you were absolutely shokoladen by the time you left. Sounds fab. Btw, is Cologne very modern looking? I was wondering because the only reference to Cologne (and Dresden) I’ve heard previously is the fact that Britain waged a blitz on them in the war.
Yep, I was sick of the sight of it, but it was worth the visit definitely! :D We saw a tiny bit of the old town, and then yes, the rest of it is quite modern… As was Frankfurt where we stopped off on the way home, that reminded me a lot of London in some respects (especially all the skyscrapers in the Banking district!)…