Chocolate is a $16-billion-dollar-a-year industry in the United States, with Americans eating about 12 pounds per person annually. But chocolate is much more than a confection associated with luxury and romance. Its story begins in the rainforests of Central and South America where the ancient Maya harvested the precious cacao seed to use as money and made a drink out of the grounds.
Explore the relationship between human culture and this rainforest treasure in “Chocolate: The Exhibition” at the Minnesota History Center. The exhibit introduces visitors to the plant, products, history and culture of chocolate. Learn about the cacao tree and its rainforest environment; chocolate in the Maya and Aztec cultures; how chocolate came to Europe, its history there, and how technology changed it from a luxury to a mass-produced snack food; and how chocolate is grown, processed, advertised, consumed and traded on the world market today.
Artifacts include pre-Columbian ceramics and ritual objects; European silver and porcelain chocolate services; 19th- and 20th-century cocoa tins, advertising and packaging; antique and contemporary candy molds; and botanical specimens and agricultural tools.
Originated by The Field Museum in Chicago, this blockbuster exhibit has been seen by more than 1.6 million people in museums across the United States. “Chocolate” is a bilingual exhibit; all text is in Spanish and English. For more information visit minnesotahistorycenter.org/chocolate.