By Waverly W. and Gavin M., 8 years old, Manhattan
Wave here! Who doesn’t LOVE chocolate? Nobody I know! Well, guess what? NYC has a whole museum about it – and not only can you learn all about the history of chocolate, but you can watch it being made and eat some too! Yum!
Gavin here! On a rainy day recently, we got to visit the Jacques Torres Chocolate Museum in Greenwich Village. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was really excited because I LOVE chocolate. My mom told me about Jacques Torres, who is a very well-known chef. He used to cook with Julia Child and is famous for his chocolate. We got to see ancient tools used to harvest cocoa beans, read about how chocolate was first made, and saw huge mortars and pestles used to grind chocolate a long time ago. Some were copper, some were stone, and one was even cast iron. In the museum, I was able to read that The Mayans and the Aztecs thought that chocolate had special powers and it was used as currency for trade. Moctezuma was a king who had 960 million cocoa beans and everyone wanted to be him.
We saw “metates” which were grinding stones used before technology to crush the beans over a fire that was underneath it. It was really hard work for workers and chocolate was then sold in chemists’ shops. In the 1500s, Cortez, a Spanish explorer, brought cocoa beans back to Spain and it was very popular. He would make it with a secret recipe he took from Mexico. It had cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, anise, hazelnut, pepper, sugar, and orange flower in it. I thought it was cool that the nuns of Oaxaca in Mexico were the first people to add sugar to cocoa because without sugar, cocoa is bitter! There was a cool demonstration about making hot cocoa but it didn’t have sugar and it was super bitter. I wanted to add sugar.
There were really cool chocolate boxes and cups that were made a long time ago just for drinking chocolate. There was even a moustache cup that was made for men with moustaches so that hot chocolate wouldn’t stick to their moustaches!
My favorite part of the tour of the museum was the samples of different kinds of chocolate. There was white chocolate (which isn’t REALLY chocolate my mom says) and chocolates of all kinds. There were even special single origin pieces that are very rare. I tried not to eat too much so my tummy wouldn’t hurt.
If you love chocolate and you are a history buff like me, you will love the chocolate museum. It is cool that chocolate is made all over the world in all different ways. I got to learn some new things about how it is made, taste some delicious chocolate, and even play in the kids area before we left. We saw Jacques Torres teaching a chocolate making class right when we were leaving, and maybe next time I can meet him in person. Check it out on a rainy day! Or a sunny one….any day is a good day to learn about chocolate!
Wave here again! We not only got to drink the chocolate, but we got to eat it, too! We tasted white, milk and dark chocolate from different areas of the world. I couldn’t pick a favorite but maybe YOU can when you visit! Then we learned all about how chocolate actually becomes chocolate, from cocoa beans to chocolate bars. We sorted through cacao beans and pretended we were the chocolate makers!
Then we watched a chocolate making demonstration and saw how chocolate is filled and molded. What a fun job that would be! We had a great time at Chocolate-Story, learning all about the story of chocolate. Next time you take a sip of hot chocolate, remember that you are actually drinking a piece of history. Cheers!