The great Gothic city of Cologne is famous for its art, its perfume, and its chocolate. The Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum, the city's most popular museum, might well be Germany’s sweetest treasure, drawing in around 600,000 visitors a year.
Cologne's spectacular cathedral and cobbled streets give the city a quaint, chocolate-box appearance. It's the ideal setting for a world-famous chocolate museum that puts on an incredible array of tours and exhibitions, including a sculpture of the famous Shrine of the Magi made entirely of chocolate. The golden Shrine has been described as the most artistically significant and most ambitious relic of the Middle Ages, but the chocolate version is, without a doubt, far more delicious. Confectionery lovers can have a truly scrumptious experience exploring the Imhoff Chocolate Museum.
Perched on the Rheinauhafen peninsula, the Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum is three short miles from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Cologne, so you can walk there to build up a healthy appetite, or take a 20-minute cab ride to the entrance. An architectural wonder of glass and steel, the museum offers a clear view of the River Rhine, the Hohenzollern Bridge, and Cologne's Old Town in the distance. As you walk through the museum’s doors the rich, sweet smell of chocolate drifts out tantalizingly to greet you.
The museum offers public tours, with some geared towards children and others specifically for adults. You’ll learn about the history of chocolate, from its humble beginnings with the Olmecs, Maya and Aztecs, to more modern products and methods of production. You'll also get to visit the small tropicarium, where two species of cacao trees are housed. Lastly, you’ll get a look inside the live production factory, where decadent chocolate bars and truffles are created. You can even get a personalized chocolate bar made to order.
Children four years of age and older can attend the museum’s chocolate school. Your kids might feel a bit like Charlie Bucket visiting Willy Wonka’s famous factory as they peel and eat real cocoa beans, get a glimpse into the glass chocolate factory to see how chocolate is made, and get their very own taste of velvety, liquid chocolate from the three-meter high, cascading chocolate fountain. Thankfully, no rogue Oompa Loompas with moral messages to convey have been sighted as yet.
If you haven’t yet gotten your fill, the museum offers chocolate tasting classes with specialists from various fields of study. In the introductory seminar you’ll learn how to taste chocolate “with all the senses”. Other tastings include chocolate paired with beer, coffee, or wine.
Before you end your day at the museum, don’t forget to stop at the café and the shop. In the Chocolat Grand Café you can treat yourself to an indulgent slice of chocolate cake or a rich, freshly made hot chocolate as you soak up the panoramic view of the river. In the gift shop, you'll find a wide variety of German and Austrian chocolates and pralines; the perfect gifts for friends who weren't lucky enough to join you on your visit to the museum.