"It [chocolate] is a meal for your soul."
-from exhibit video
I'm not a chocoholic. My refrigerator doesn't have one drawer dedicated to fulfill chocolate cravings. The reason I know Bodega Chocolates is the chocolatier for the Academy Awards is because I accompanied someone on an Xmas-gift buying spree to a store *. When I surf over to Norman Love Confections, reportedly the best gourmet chocolate in the U.S., I look at the prices first and not the rich, sensuous pictures. So, of course, the only way I would visit "Chocolate: The Exhibition" was to be chauffeured there by a chocoholic.
"Chocolate: The Exhibition" is at the Muzeo Museum in downtown Anaheim near Disneyland from June 11-September 11, 2011. The bilingual English-Spanish exhibit was developed by Chicago's The Field Museum with support from the National Science Foundation. General admission is $13 for adults and $9 for children ages 4-12, and tickets may be purchased online or onsite. Admission includes validated parking, plus a free sampling of three Lindt chocolate squares ranging in taste from sweet to bitter.
The interactive exhibit follows the historical development of chocolate from a frothy, spicy drink for the privileged classes of the ancient Maya and Aztecs to today's global market. Early Spanish traders brought chocolate to Europe, where the high demand for it stoked the need for African slave labor, especially as indigenous American labor fell from diseases carried by European colonists. Now, machines have taken over much of the work, though cacao (kah-'KOW) seed pods must still be picked from trees by hand.
For me, this exhibit would have been improved by a giant walking chocolate bar for photo ops (no photography permitted within the exhibit) and an expanded merchandise section. And I can't help wondering what the original Aztec party drink tasted like since the exhibit talked about it so much.
Chocoholics, check the Muzeo's calendar for related "Chocolate: The Exhibition" events. In addition, be sure to not miss the museum's free permanent Anaheim exhibit, as well as "Journeys: A Photographic Exhibition" housed in the building next door, formerly a public library.