There’s one in Brussels, another in Paris, and one more in Prague, and now a fourth Choco-Story Museum in Mexico: in Uxmal, Yucatán.
The museums were created by Eddy Van Belle, Belgian chocolate business owner who decided to dedicate his life to chocolate at the age of 12. The three European museums are visited by thousands per year. Choco-Story Uxmal is very special, because it is the only one which is located in a botanical garden, which includes several varieties of cacao trees.
The cacao tree requires delicate care. It needs plenty of water and shade, which means it always has to have larger trees around it called “mother trees”. The most delicate variety is cacao criollo, also greatly desired for its taste and texture. This variety makes up only 5% of the cacao cultivated worldwide and is grown mainly in Mexico.
At Choco-Story Uxmal you will travel back in time to an era of splendor in a Maya pueblo setting, learn about daily life, enter their homes, cornfields, and gardens, and learn how cacao is transformed into chocolate. Then you will continue traveling through history with the arrival of the beverage at the Spanish court, continuing the path toward the 19th C., the moment when chocolate was introduced to the world with a variety of textures, mixtures, and flavors.
Choco-Story is a sensory museum where you will be able to taste a natural cacao beverage, watch the live crafting of hand-made ceramics by regional artisans, experience a Maya ceremony, and spend time with the animals at the fauna refuge of the Environmental Management Unit for Wildlife Conservation.
The earliest evidence of the use of cacao goes back to 200 AD in pre-Olmec earthenware pots found in Veracruz and the coast of Chiapas. Cacao is also part of the Maya mythology: it was the feathered serpent Quetzalcóatl who gave the gift of cacao to humans. As a beverage it was used for ceremonies and festivities of the royalty and aristocracy, and the cacao beans were also used as money.
Choco-Story Uxmal has it all, authentic palapas with pieces on display that are allusive to history and the transformation of cacao from the preHispanic era until today. You can see cacao from the tree to the final product: chocolate. There is also a delicious chocolate store where visitors can buy a great variety of artisan chocolates, spa products, and even prepare their own beverage with a choice of ingredients.
Choco-Story Uxmal is an excellent option for a day full of interaction and culture for the whole family.
Across from the entry to the archaeological site of Uxmal
General: $165 pesos. Seniors (60+): $120 pesos. Students: $120 pesos. Yucatecans: $100 pesos. Kids (6-12): $80 pesos. Kids (-6): Gratis. Guía: $400 pesos
Hours: 9 am – 8 pm spring/summer; 9 am – 7 pm fall/winter
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