Ever wondered where chocolate comes from? Why it comes in liquid and solid form? Who believed that chocolate had magical powers? Whether chocolate really is healthy? Then head on over to the Chocolate Museum in Brixton, where your “curiosity and cravings” will be satisfied.
The Chocolate Museum is situated in a small building on Ferndale Road, off of Brixton Road. Formed in December 2012 by Melange Chocolate Shop operator Isabelle Alaya, it is a budding organization, half-exhibit and half-shop, that adds another element to chocolate lovers’ obsession with the food: the history.
Vintage memorabilia – newspaper clippings, magazine advertisements and ancient store signs – line the walls of the museum. Sculptures of cocoa goddesses, who the Mayans and Aztecs praised, sit pensively in glass cabinets. Boards of information about chocolate’s history in London as well as in Spain and Belgium invite viewers to learn more about their favorite dessert.
The best thing about the Chocolate Museum, though, is the staff. Julien Farrout and Maille Derouet greet me as I walk in. They immediately ask if I need help. When I tell him I’m writing an article about the museum, Julien launches into an explanation of the objects surrounding me. Maille watches, smiling. They are both young and French, and came to work at the Chocolate Museum in London to better their English.
Though they may have trouble stringing sentences together in English, that doesn’t stop them from giving a successful interview. Julien opens his computer to a translating site, and he and Maille stumble over each other to answer my questions, laughing.
“We love chocolate,” said Derouet. “It’s very interesting. We want to speak better about cocoa.”
“Our boss, she wanted to explore the history of chocolate and create a new concept with the exhibition,” said Farrout. “There’s a new piece for the exhibition downstairs. The piece will be presented at the launch party.”
This launch party that Farrout refers to is on Saturday, 16 March. The museum will display the new exhibit proudly, while also offering chocolate bars and truffles from UK Artisan Chocolatiers, hot chocolate, free tastings, workshops, and special gifts for holidays such as Mother’s Day and Easter.
“It’s a very interesting work experience for us,” said Farrout. It’s a very interesting experience for viewers of the exhibit, too, who venture through time to learn about the history of chocolate, only to turn around to see that chocolate is not a meager relic of the past, but a lavish delicacy of the present.
The Chocolate Museum is a cozy place where chocolate lovers young and old can enjoy workshops, tastings and knowledge about the food.
As Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
Find the Chocolate Museum at 187 Ferndale Road, Brixton. It is open Tue – Fri from 12 to 7 pm and Sat – Sun from 11am to 6pm. Celebrate the launch party with the friendly staff on Saturday, 16 March at noon.