Whoever said museums were boring was clearly full of nonsense and hadn’t heard of the wonderful world of food museums! Full of rich (and sometimes creamy) history, these museums showcase important foods of an area, and leave visitors with newfound knowledge and deeper understanding of sometimes everyday foods. Like potatoes. Did you not know there was a potato museum in Idaho? Or a mustard museum in Wisconsin? Sit back, keep reading, and get ready to drool.
1) Choco-Story (New York)
Chocolate lovers of the world, brace yourselves! This Jacques Torres chocolate museum is 5,000 square feet of
chocolate heaven, from bean to bar and everything in between. Visitors have the opportunity to sample nine different chocolates, as well as Mayan hot chocolate. They also have chocolate making classes for those looking to get their hands dirty (and then lick them clean).
2) Gingerbread Museum (Poland)
If you ever thought gingerbread was a simple treat, you’re in for a surprise. In Torun, Poland, the Living Gingerbread Museum takes itself extremely seriously, with ritualistic gingerbread making, traditional gingerbread wooden molds, and the chance to make your own under the watchful eye of the gingerbread witch. Over a hundred artifacts from gingerbread baking through the centuries can be found here. An interactive storytelling show also goes on daily, and visitors can’t leave without sampling some of their world famous gingerbread! With flavors of chocolate and rose, vodka and coffee…these are some unique gingerbread cookies.
3) Kimchi Museum (Seoul, Korea)
CNN named this museum one of the best in the world for food, and it’s easy to see why. Established in 1986, this museum pays homage to the most important Korean staple by taking visitors through every detail, from the history to the making of kimchi, in this special museum. Enthusiasts can sign up in advance to learn the secrets of whole cabbage and white kimchi. Not into kimchi? That’s fine, too…the second floor has an exhibition devoted to other pickled items. Never had kimchi and don’t know where to start? There’s a kimchi tasting room for you!
4) Potato Museums (everywhere!)
It turns out, the potato is a popular tuber, for good reason. There are potato museums around the WORLD, devoted to this starchy stable. It’s hard to know where to begin. Canada’s Potato Museum not only has the world’s largest potato sculpture, but also features lobster topped baked potatoes and potato fudge, while Idaho’s Potato Museum has potato cupcakes and ice cream in their café. The Canadian museum on Prince Edward Island has a “Potato Interpretive Center” which will lead you on “a journey through time, learning about the potato from its beginning as a wild food source in South America, to the fourth largest commercial crop in the world.” Munich’s Potato Museum also pays homage to the humble potato, illustrating the history of the potato in the world, and, giving thanks to King Frederick the Great of Prussia for then bringing the potato from the New World to Germany. It also shows the unexpected uses of the potato (jelly beans, alcohol, bread) and has 8 exhibits of history, cultivation, modern art (art made by potatoes, for potatoes, and with potatoes), and a rare collection. Why not visit them all!
5) The National Mustard Museum (Wisconsin)
If it has to do with mustard, this museum in Middleton, Wisconsin, has it. Open since 1992, the museum features not only 5,992 mustards from all 50 states and more than 70 countries, but vintage mustard containers, ads, history, and includes a gorgeous display of antique mustard pots. Admission and tastings are FREE! Unique flavor lovers beware, the museum store features mustard flavors like chocolate, blue cheese, cranberry, tequila, and wasabi! It’s unclear how much mustard is too much mustard, but test your limits with hundreds of mustards to try! With options like lavender wine mustard, root beer mustard, and chipotle honey lime, there’s a mustard for everyone.
6) Oodles of Noodles (Ramen and Cup-O-Noodles)
If you ever thought Cup-O-Noodles were simply the salty mainstay of thrifty college students, then you haven’t been to this museum in Yokohama. Originally a luxury item, these flash fried noodles became a hit of the post-World War II era when wheat was easier to procure.
See the shed where the first instant noodles were invented by Momofuku Ando (who, in 2005, also perfected space ramen), and make your very own unique Cup-O-Noodles to take home with you with toppings including green beans, cheese, garlic, egg, fish sausage, green onions, and pork!
If you didn’t get your carb fill at the Cup-O-Noodles Museum, head over to the (not instant) Ramen Museum, also in Yokohama, with an incredible menu of tasty and rare ramens to sample. According to the museum, it was founded on March 6th, 1994 as the world’s first food-themed amusement park and has nine ramen shops that visitors can stop at to see what’s cooking. The museum has three floors, and a museum shop where you can make your own ramen, or stock up on bowls and special ramen utensils. There is also a slot-car track for racing. Because what goes better with ramen than slot-car racing!
7) Butter Museum (Cork, Ireland)
Irish history would be grossly incomplete without knowledge of Irish butter. During its peak in the 19th century, Cork
was the biggest exporter of butter in the world. Reaching over one billion dollars, the market of Irish butter had well over 100,000 farmers contributing. The museum dives into the creamy history of butter in Ireland, from the days of preserving it in bogs, to cattle raiding and dairy culture. There is also a butter wrapper collection.
8) World Carrot Museum (Online)
Just starting out with food museum tourism and not sure where to truly begin? The World Carrot Museum can be explored without leaving your house! This completely online museum is in-depth, and covers everything you ever wanted to know about carrots but were afraid to ask. Such as, can instruments be made out of carrots? (yes) Where do baby carrots come from? (blame Joseph T. Listner) Can you smoke carrot leaves? (yes) The INCREDIBLY detailed museum has an interactive floor plan and has ‘rooms’ of fine art, trivia, nutrition, history, and more!
Got more food museums you’ve tried? Let us know!