By Neha Prakash. Photos: Lonely Planet/Getty.
New York City is now home to a chocolate museum (only the sixth in the world)—but it's not as sweet as it may sound. While the chocolate museum first drew comparison to NYC's wildly popular Ice Cream Museum, the Instagram crowd will be saddened to hear the museum isn't home to any sprinkle pools or Willy Wonka-esque chocolate rivers. Instead, the museum, created by famed chocolatier Jacques Torres alongside Eddy Van Belle, trades photo ops for substance, offering an experience curated for hardcore chocolate lovers—not only those who enjoy eating the sweets but also those who want to learn about the delicate craft and rich history of the treat.
Opening Tuesday in SoHo (as an offshoot of Torres's downtown store), the "Choco-Story New York: The Chocolate Museum and Experience" begins with a maze of exhibitions highlighting the ancient history of the cacao bean, tracing its Mayan and Aztec roots to Spanish influences to finally the solid candy of France in the nineteenth century.
The exhibits, in glass showcases placed in front of muted walls alongside placards, will read fascinating to chocolate buffs. Basically if Torres is Wonka himself, the Augustuses and Verucas should stay home—only Charlies need apply.
“I’m so passionate about all things chocolate that I can think of nothing better than having the opportunity to share my knowledge and its history,” said Torres.
The museum features a few whimsical (albeit oddly placed) touches, including cacao trees of the Amazon and ancient artifacts used to create the first cups of hot chocolate. But the Choco-Story truly comes to life with its tasting experiences: Watching Torres excitedly whip up a pot of Mayan hot chocolate or show off the art of bon-bon making is as enjoyable as the sugar itself. (During the museum's normal hours, Torres's chefs will lead the tastings.) Visitors can also sign up for a chocolate-bar-making class taught by a professional chocolatier—the most hands-on and exciting part of the experience.
"I guarantee you'll go back home with a lot of chocolate," Torres assures.
Despite it not being the ideal place to rack up that social media cred, plenty have still managed—after all, chocolate looks good in any filter.
Choco-Story New York is located at 350 Hudson Street and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.
More from Conde Nast Traveler: