It’s an easy one-hour bicycle ride from Strasbourg to the museum “The Secrets of Chocolate” in Geispolsheim. There you can learn all about the history of chocolate and how it is made from cacao beans. Admission as of 2018 is € 9.50 for adults, which is perhaps a bit steep for such a small museum, but it is, after all, a private museum with no subsidies from anyone but its owner, a commercial chocolate company.
There is a short film at the beginning, in a choice of languages, and then as you walk through the museum there are numerous text panels in French, German and English.
In some of the historical exhibits there are life-sized figures that move, slightly, with electric motors. This is perhaps a bit corny, but it does make them seem more alive than they might otherwise. This lady is supposed to be a Spanish aristocrat drinking hot chocolate in the 16th century. Her hand with the cup in it moves up and down as though she were drinking.
These cupboards contain all sorts of historical items connected with chocolate, and in the next room there are text panels explaining that chocolate is good for you, reduces your cholesterol level, etc., and also that it might be an aphrodisiac, at least Casanova thought so, and he ought to know. While these texts are decidedly pro-chocolate, that doesn’t make them wrong, necessarily, just one-sided. What is missing, for example, is any acknowledgment that most chocolate products have a huge admixture of sugar, a dangerous substance which more than counteracts any health benefits the chocolate might have. (By coincidence I am eating a piece of 90 % chocolate as I write this, though I sometimes go up to 95 % or even 99 % to restrict my sugar intake while still indulging my chocolate habit.)
At the end there is a live demonstration of how hollow Easter bunnies and other such hollow figures are made out of chocolate. I won’t explain it here because it’s a secret, but I must admit I didn’t know it before.
The best way to cycle to the museum (not the shortest way, but the easiest and most pleasant) is to follow along this cycling path by the Rhine-Rhone Canal for about six kilometers, then turn right on a street called Rue des Vignes, then left on Route de Lyon, cross the ‘Toll Bridge’ (it isn’t a toll bridge any more, it’s just called that), and then right into the ‘Street of the Toll Bridge’ (Rue du Pont du Péage). It helps to have a good cycling map, such as the one I was given when I rented my bike.
My photos in this post are from 2006. I revised the text in 2018.
See also: The Beatles Museum in Halle.