A History of Chocolate!

Chocolate lovers of all kinds will love this! Chocolate is one of my favorite sweet treats and I was thrilled to hear about an entire museum section devoted to it’s history and production.

(Photo Credit: http://www.sdnhm.org)

Balboa Park hosts Residents Free Tuesdays (I like to call it “Museum Tuesdays”) which allows San Diego residents to tour specific museums free of charge. The first Tuesday of every month grants residents access to the San Diego Natural History Museum as well as several others. Last tuesday, I took advantage of that offer to tour the SDNHM’s newest exhibit, “Chocolate”, a completely different topic than that of any other exhibit at the museum.

Chocolate will engage your senses and reveal facets of this sumptuous treat that you’ve never before considered. From seed to sweet, unwrap the story of chocolate!”, says the description on the museum’s website.

Upon entering the Chocolate exhibit, I immediately encountered that familiar scent… slightly sweet and a tad bitter. I began to recall all the experiences I’ve had with chocolate: snuggling in a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa, savoring the deliciousness of an extra dark chocolate candy bar, and indulging my taste buds with countless chocolate cookies, cakes and other goodies.

The Tour:
The exhibit started out with the cacao plant, covering the various stages of development from seed to tree. It then moved on to describing the methods of harvesting and production — There were interactive diagrams that showed how the cacao pods were opened and how the seeds were dried. Further through the exhibit, the role of chocolate throughout history (from the ancient Maya, to the extravagance of the European Renaissance, to modern day American production) was revealed. I loved browsing the room that contained the history of chocolate products in America dating back to the early 1900’s to today; some of those early brands still exist. A few video documentaries were scattered throughout the exhibit but the one I remembered the most showcased interviews of ordinary people and their experiences with chocolate — It was interesting to hear their opinions on how this substance made them feel emotionally. The exhibit concluded with a chocolate store stocked with loads of sweet treats from a local company, Chuao, and from many foreign producers. I wanted to try EVERYTHING but managed to subdue my temptation… I settled for a cup of home-made hot cocoa 🙂

Chocolate will be up until March 10th, 2013, so don’t miss out on the chance to see it … and smell it! Access to this exhibit is included with general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in front of the building.

Thanks for reading. I’m off to my next adventure! 🙂

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