Museu de la Xocolata (Barcelona)

Barcelona, Spain. The (mx) museum is promoted by the Gremi de Pattisseria de Barcelona, across the courtyard, who focus on quality innovation in traditional Catalan chocolate and pastry techniques. Because it has to be intensely air conditioned, it's a cold museum! The ticket is edible. 

After scanning their chocolate bars at the turnstile, next to the chocolate fountain, most visitors unwrap them right away as they enter the exhibition. Eating (anything) in an exhibition space is unusual, so this feels like a strange treat.

Needless to say, the museum attracts all ages. And for obvious reasons, graphic design and cabinet and floor colors use a cream and dark brown palette.

The focus of the museum is very ambitious, so it can only touch lightly on many of the themes. The origin of chocolate, it's spread as an element between myth and reality, it's arrival in Europe, and it's medicinal and nutritional properties. Text is in Catalan, Spanish, French, and English, so font size is small and legibility is an issue. Titles are too high, against dark upper cabinet frames. Funny cabinet feet.

Here the chocolate bonbon bowl is cleverly placed, in front of the painting. 

A special focus on the regional tradition of Catalan festival cakes includes a touch screen station with recipes.

Highly designed video rooms are also over-sized. Because it takes a while for the video to start (based on language chosen) many visitors leave thinking it's not working.

The Aztec video projection seems lost on this stone monument

The chocolate production video is well tucked in.

A (somewhat) separate story at the museum is a path of big chocolate sculptures, starting at the entry, and threading mostly along the outside walls. From Spanish themes to animals and mythology to leggos to movie characters... it seems to get more outrageous as it proceeds.

Visitors find out why when they come to a cooking theater at the back of the museum, the home of a prestigious annual chocolate competition.


The last corridor is lined with chocolate tools and equipment, molds and other periphernalia. When the graphic design is rigidly consistent throughout an entire museum, I always wonder when just one piece (this yellow panel) is different. Unfortunately, this kind of consistency once established, must be obeyed to the bitter end.

The courtyard wall across from the pastry school.

Visitors exit full circle to the cafe and chocolate store that is also the ticket counter. This is one version of "museum as product sales" that is somehow tolerable. Perhaps because it's so overt, it has some innocence. Chocolate, after all is a natural before or after pick-me-up on the arduous museum trail. Which is why the edible ticket is so appreciated.