Planning a trip to the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site? If so, why not also call in at Choco Story, the new Chocolate Museum at the Hacienda Uxmal Hotel.
Cacao was first grown in southeast Mexico over 3,000 years ago and there were cacao plantations in parts of the Yucatan. The ancient Maya offered it to their gods and used it as currency. At Choco Story visitors learn all about cacao and its role in Mayan culture and trade. There are displays on the history of chocolate from the days of the Aztecs to the royal courts of Europe and on cacao cultivation methods and chocolate manufacture.
And of course, everyone gets to taste chocolate! Visitors watch as cacao beans are roasted, ground and used to prepare hot chocolate flavored with honey the way it is served in the Yucatan.
At Choco Story visitors also watch local potters at work and witness a ceremony to honor the Mayan rain god Chaac.
The museum is the brainchild of local hotelier Fernando Barbachano and Belgian chocolateur Eddy Van Belle. This is Van Belle’s fourth cacao museum; the others are in Prague, Bruges and Paris and all showcase the role of cacao in the Maya World and Mexico. His company also has a working cacao plantation Plantacion Tikul with an eco museum on the Puuc Route between the archaeological sites of Xlapak and Labna, near Uxmal.
Choco Story museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (spring/summer) and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (fall/winter).
Closed for Christmas and New Year).
Located at Hacienda Uxmal, km 78, old Mérida – Campeche Highway.
Photo courtesy of www.choco-storymexico.com