The World of Chocolate Museum, located at 11701 International Dr, Orlando, FL, gave me more information about chocolate than I had ever wanted! For those who love chocolate, this place is a must go.
We picked up our tickets on a LivingSocial special. They are normally $16 per person and we picked them up for $9. One item of note, the special price does not cover tax. However, for 5 people, we only paid a couple bucks in tax.
When we walked in we were amazed at the selection of individual chocolates. I, personally, have never seen chocolate so colorful.
We had some time before the tour began and we all were a little hungry. So, we picked a selection of cakes, grabbed some cups of water and began our pre-tour snacking. They tasted pretty good. I do rankings on a 1 to 5 scale (1 being lowest and 5 being the highest). These ranked at about a 3.
We got up satisfied. Price point for the cakes and water was about $20. it was time for the tour to begin. Our tour guide, David, was a pleasant gentleman from Australia. He was lighthearted and knowledgeable, 2 things you want in a tour guide.
He began with an explanation of where chocolate came from; the cacao plant. That’s right, chocolate originates from fruit.The cacao plant grows natively in rain forests. When you plant a seed, it takes about 4 months for the plant to grow to a size that can bear fruit. Then it takes about 5 months for the fruit to reach a harvestable size. The fruit is harvested and the seeds (beans) are taken from them. From what I can recall, there are about 30 beans or so per pod and you can make a few pounds of chocolate from the powder created from each pod. David went on to explain that there are three types of beans in the world. And that most of the cacao plants are grown in South American and Africa. This would make sense as those are the locales of the largest rain forests.
David did a very long and elaborate explanation about the history of chocolate that dates back to the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. They ground up cacao into a powder and mixed it with some spices and water to make a drink out of it. It was very bitter, but thought to be a drink from the gods due to the energy gained from it (modern day caffeine rush).
The Europeans took the cacao plant and introduced it to Europe. Surprisingly enough, it was the European monks that took the cacao powder and mixed it with cocoa butter to make a hot chocolate type drink.
Throughout the years, the Europeans began to refine the ingredients and the process until the Swiss added milk to it and created milk chocolate. So, the Swiss did not invent chocolate, they simply made it better; in most people’s opinions. I personally prefer the darker chocolate.
This is the common process used now to create chocolate as well as world production numbers. Take a look, chocolate is very big business. Fun fact – Switzerland is top of the list in chocolate consumption. Each citizen consumes about 20 to 25 pounds per year!
I am not a chocolate aficionado. My wife, Nomad Mama, loves it. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the educational value behind the tour at the museum. And, we were able to sample around a dozen different types of chocolate along the way. They have great chocolate sculptures that are amazing. But, take it from me, you cannot sample the sculptures!
If you love chocolate, love history, or love them both, this spot is worth a stop. If you are bringing kids, make sure you take them somewhere to burn off the energy afterwards.
I will leave you all with a gallery of chocolate sculptures and candy bar wrappers that are worth taking a few moments to view.