Monday, May 19, 2014

Museum quality chocolate.

Here's a great reason to visit Salt Lake's spectacular Natural History Museum of Utah: They have a temporary exhibit all about chocolate.  That may seem like an odd topic for a natural history museum. But it's surprisingly relevant once you see the exhibits.  First off, they totally go all nature-y with the diorama of a cacao tree and all kinds of info about where chocolate comes from.  Then they go all archeological with examples of ancient civilizations and their fascination with chocolate. The museum even tracks the popularity of chocolate among colonial era Europeans.

All that is informative and educational.  But for me, where the exhibit really gets interesting is when they start to discuss chocolate in the age of marketing. And there are plenty of brilliant objects that make this moment interesting. Let's start with the chocolate molds.  I totally want chocolates made in the shapes of some of the vintage chocolate molds featured in the exhibition.  In fact, I wish they had featured some of these chocolates in the post-exhibit gift shop.

From the Magritte-like pipe to the telephone, these molds are perfectly delightful.  But it wasn't just the molds.  I also loved the retro chocolate wrappers. 

They also offered beautifully illustrated vintage chocolate advertising.  Like this poster:

And what would a chocolate exhibition be if they didn't feature some good old-fashioned chocolate cigarettes? 

The exhibit offers a chocolate tasting opportunity.  But if you want to do that, be sure to sign up online or pay for the privilege well before hand.  When I arrived at the museum, all the tastings were sold out.

With the delightful 20th Century artifacts and a very fun gift shop at the end of the exhibit, I highly recommend the Natural History Museum of Utah's chocolate exhibition.

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