So. I think I’m ready to talk about chocolate again. My sugar rush has settled down a bit after working away big amounts of chocolate today at the Valrhona – Cite du Chocolat.
This morning the plan for today was pretty clear. Eduard was going to work, since he had a sample that needed to be cooled down and I was going to do some groceries and go into town.
Chocolate munching was in no way part of the plan. But then I received a message from a friend in Grenoble. She asked if we wanted to go along with them to one of the chocolate museums on the Rhone valley. Did somebody say chocolate? Yes! I was very interested in joining their trip. So they picked me up at home and Eduard joined us later in the day.
The museum was a real joy. It wasn’t that big, but that didn’t matter since they had optimised the amount of chocolate on the available m2. The best thing? We didn’t get an audio-guide, but we got a ‘chocolate-guide’. At the entrance we received a long package of small chocolate bits. During our walk we would be told where we were supposed to eat them. Me thinks every museum should replace audio guides by chocolate guides. You agree right?
Now, they didn’t think that this would be enough chocolate for one museum visit. So with the barcode on our ticket we could get more chocolate. There were chocolate dispatchers present, next to video’s that explained how one should taste chocolate. These small pieces of chocolate were apparently exactly the right size to optimise the tasting experience.
Our enthusiasm was tempered by the video-people though. “Patient, be patient people!” It was really interesting because I found out that dark chocolate can be acidic and non-acidic. I often dislike dark chocolate because it’s too acidic. The acidic taste is something that is taken away during the burning of the beans, but obviously gradually, since for some end products people like to keep the acidic taste. Many other dark chocolates aren’t acidic though and I love those, I found out here. So from now on I’m keeping note of acidic and non acidic brands of dark-chocolate.
Other parts of the exhibition were places where we could smell different flavours and taste spicy chocolate. I loved the chocolate with piment, pepper & curry. Yum! What I also loved was that the museum had both french as english explanations. This made it much easier for me to really enjoy the experience fully.
There was also a small atelier, where we got a long background story about cacao beans. My friend was even allowed to crush one pod herself! Look at the amazed kid on the background ;) While they were sending around the opened pots, I managed to steal one of the – what I assumed were – seeds. Against all odds I will try to grow chocolate at home. No really, I will.
The overal presentation felt very American to me. It’s often interesting that France feels more different from the Netherlands than from the USA. It’s often a size-thing obviously, but sometimes it’s also the mentality.
Then we walked up to the highlight of the visit: the museum shop aka chocolate walhalla. You could taste every chocolate that we had earlier again and 30 other tastes as well. And you could also taste it a handful of times if you wanted to (or couldn’t control yourself). So while we were digging through the chocolate options in the shop (in between the chocolate ravioli & great chocolate milk) we would taste a bit of chocolate on our left and right until we couldn’t see any more chocolate. We had to leave the shop. And so we did.
And from one shop we ended up in another shop across the street. This was an olive oil shop, Huilerie Richard. After a short round of tasting olive oil (to get rid of the chocolate taste) we bought some olives and several olive oils.
Overall the museum was a great unplanned experience due to the chocolate, english explanation accommodation and the great company. If you are in the neighbourhood, I would like to advise you to visit the museum. Don’t overeat before visiting the museum though!