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Cité du chocolat Valrhona, a tasty visit

Let’s eat chocolate! we are going to pay a visit to the museum of the famous Valrhona brand, called the Cité du Chocolat. There we will learn about the manufacturing process of this delicacy and we will even be able to try it.

Chocolate is the downfall of many, including myself. Then depending on personal preferences, we may like more the chocolate that pulls towards the bitter taste or the one that goes more towards the flavor with milk. No matter what our favorite is, the king ingredient is always cocoa. Well then, we went to one of the most famous factories in France, the Valrhona, in Tain l’Hermitage and, taking advantage of the fact that they have a chocolate museum called “la cité du chocolat“, we went to give it a (delicious) visit.


Where is the Cité du Chocolat?

This chocolaty museum is located in the city of Tain l’Hermitage, it can be reached by train, if you arrive by plane the closest airport is Lyon (LYS) and from there you can take a train to Tain l’Hermitage.

Museo, tienda y fabrica de chocolate
Museum, shop and chocolate factory

Information to visit the Valrhona Museum

Visiting hours: From June 9 to July 4 inclusive: open from Wednesday to Saturday from 9AM to 5PM. From July 5: open Monday to Saturday from 9AM to 5PM.

Cost: tours are self guided, they cost 10.80 euros.

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Visiting the Chocolate Museum “Cité du Chocolat”

The museum is divided into several sections, in the first part of our visit, to this museum dedicated to chocolate, we find some machines that distribute squares of different varieties that the brand sells. You have to enter the entrance ticket to provide us with the squares. When tasting it we see what the screens tell us, they explain the difference between the two squares that are distributed in the machine (and there are several machines that do it in order to compare different flavors). The objective is that we can understand the subtle, or sometimes not so subtle, differences between each variety of chocolate.

Where does cocoa come from?

Obviously chocolate would not exist without the cacao tree. So the next section of the museum invites us on a journey through the process of obtaining cocoa. A quite difficult process since it requires climatic conditions that do not happen in any country. The cocoa tree is a tree that needs humidity and heat. In addition, the harvesting process is quite laborious, to know if it can be harvested, you have to look at the pod and knock the fruit and see the sound it makes to know if it is ready.

Did you know that the word chocolate comes from Nahuatlxocolātl?

The chocolate creations

Once we know about the laborious process to have the raw material, we are going to see what are the different forms that chocolate takes. And it is that Valrhona chocolates already have forms known by the French. In this section, in addition to being able to taste, take note of how much chocolate we have already eaten and we have not finished the visit yet, they explain the sections that have some of the most elaborate. In fact, there are even some that have mini “gold or silver leaves”, which is the shiny center that is seen in some. Others have a paste combined with hazelnuts or other ingredients inside. All delicious, but everyone will have a particular favorite.

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And if you’re hungry…

During your visit to the chocolate museum, you can plan to eat there (update: for now the food is take away only). Yes, there is a restaurant in which, obviously, the recipes include cocoa or chocolate as a star ingredient. If you visit la cité du chocolat, don’t be afraid and go ahead and try them 🙂

Other chocolate creations

We can see another section with uses of chocolate, only this time they are not Valrhona’s own creations. Rather, it is about her other clients, those who buy chocolate from them as a raw material to create delicious desserts, or the bakers who make bread with chocolate. Anyway, once again we see that the artistic possibilities are endless.

The missing step

Almost to reach the end of the tour, which lasts approximately 2 hours, we come to a section where we can see what are the phases of chocolate manufacturing. There are even cameras towards the production lines and we can see “live” how it is done. It is very interesting. Although I will be honest, what I like the most is still the tasting 😀

Fabricación de chocolate en el museo
Manufacturing phases

And at the end, more chocolates

Finally, we go to the store where we can try even more chocolate. There are plenty of samples to help you decide which varieties to buy. And it goes without saying, that we went out with several:) I even dare to say to be careful, don’t end up with a stomach ache from eating so much chocolate 😀 as it happened to me.

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Many chocolates

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