Traveling to try local foods and hot restaurants is a growing trend, and some destinations are going the extra mile to showcase their local specialties and preserve that cultural history. The next time you’re planning a gastronomy-centered trip, consider visiting one of these cool food museums around the world.
Cheese is a large part of the culture in Europe, and there’s no denying that The Netherlands’ gastronomy focuses around cheese. Housed in a historic building in Alkmaar, the Dutch Cheese Museum showcases two of the most important cheeses: Edam and Gouda. You’ll learn about cheese making, rural life in Holland, and see artifacts from the region. If you visit on a Friday during the cheese market season, which runs from the end of March to the end of September, you’ll get to see the historic market in action.
Currywurst is a popular dish in Germany that consists of bratwurst typically sliced and seasoned with curry ketchup. Currywurst was invented in 1949, and the museum opened its doors in 2009. The interactive museum takes guests down a “sauce trail” with a series of exhibits that engages all their senses and even a tasting at the end.
If you’re a fan of all things mustard, there is a museum for you in Wisconsin. The National Mustard Museum has more than 5,600 types of mustards collected from all 50 states as well as more than 70 countries. The founder of the museum, Barry Levenson, started collecting mustards in 1986, and left his law practice in 1991 to make this a full-time passion.
The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum was founded in 1994 and is more than a museum. It’s considered the first food-themed amusement park, that will both keep you entertained and your stomach full. It has a large food court that resembles a 1950’s Japanese food district. There is also a café that sells Hokkaido soft-serve ice cream, along with a shop selling Japanese candies.
The Southern Food & Beverage Museum celebrates all the cultures that create what we know as Southern cuisine today. Much of the collection was crowdsourced, with everything donated, from menus and recipe cards to dish sets and soda bottles. There is a demonstration kitchen where guests can enjoy watching various iconic Southern recipes being prepared. Inside the museum, you’ll also find the Museum of the American Cocktail’s New Orleans Collection and La Galerie de l’Absinthe, which features an extensive collection of absinthe.
If you’re in Italy, head to Bologna to satiate your sweet tooth by visiting the Carpigiani Gelato Museum. There are guided tours, gelato making courses, and special tasting events you can sign up for. There is also a store where you can buy more gelato to go if you didn’t get your fill in class!
One of the newest food museums to open is the Museum of Chocolate in Manhattan. Created by French chocolatier Jacques Torres, it takes visitors on a journey of chocolate’s early beginnings in Mayan and Aztec cultures and how the cacao bean is transformed into chocolate. There are tools related to the cultivation of cacao on display and exhibits that show its influence in both Central America and Europe. And, of course, there are tastings, including Mayan hot chocolate and samples of dark, milk, and white chocolates.
Have you ever visited a food museum?
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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