Around the World in 10 Food Museums
Celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna inaugurated India's first culinary museum at Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA) in Manipal in April 2018 adding to the many food museums around the world. The 25,000-square-foot food museum gives visitors the opportunity to gawk at kitchenware dating back to the Harappan era, plates fashioned by the Portuguese, samovars from medieval India, Jewish Seder plates and utensils sourced from the Konkan belt and Chettinad.
Photo by Bhanu Srinivas Munagala for WGSHA
It may be the first of its kind in India but certainly not the first food museum in the world. Here is a list of the some of the most intriguing museums dedicated to culinary history across the world.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Established in 1995, this museum is dedicated to the history and production of beer in South Africa and its contribution to the country's culture. The best part is that you can end your tour with a tasting of raw barley.
The Choco-Story chocolate museums around the world take visitors through the entire process of cocoa's transformation to chocolate. Also trace the history of chocolate from the Aztecs and Mayans to modern-day gourmet chocolatiers. The other Choco-Story museums can be found in Paris, Prague and Uxmal. The chocolate museum in New York, the city's first, was permanently closed in March 2019.
Did you know that French fries originally came from Belgium and not France? Over 400 displays await visitors at this three-part museum. The ground floor is dedicated to the history of potato which can be traced back to Peru. The first floor tells the story of fries and in the basement, you can into some fries yourself.
This museum is dedicated to telling the story of Ireland's most important food export and the world's largest butter market. It's a small but informative museum so even if you're short on time, don't miss this one. From traditionally butter-making methods and churns to how butter gave the country's economy a boost, there's a lot to learn here!
Alkmaar is the Danish 'city of cheese' with cheese lovers going by the term 'cheese heads'. If you fancy yourself as one, visit this Dutch Cheese Museum where you'll learn about Edammer and Gouda, the two best known cheeses of Netherlands. Later, you could visit Alkmaar's famous cheese market.
At this museum, you will find the world's biggest potato sculpture in addition to an array of farm equipment used to cultivate potatoes. There's also a Potato Kitchen to binge on treats like fries, potato soup and baked potatoes.
Le Roy, USA
When LeRoy invented the Jell-O in 1897, he may not have guessed that it would go on to become America's best known dessert. The museum answers all your Jell-O related questions like why it was tested for brain waves (yes, someone actually did!) and who eats the most Jell-O.
When in Bordeaux, how can one not visit The City of Wine and pay homage to what might be the classiest drink in the world? The museum houses many engaging exhibits and on the eighth floor, you can feast your eyes to the city of Bordeaux while sipping on beautiful wine.
Seoul, South Korea
Kimchi may be an acquired taste for some but it will be tough for you to find a Korean who doesn't love the side dish of fermented vegetables. The museum educates visitors about the mind-boggling varieties of kimchi along with the equipment that has been used to make it over the ages.
The museum calls itself 'a food-themed amusement park'. While the first floor contains all the history you need to know, the basements are where it gets more interesting. They are home to a replica of Shitamachi, an old town of Tokyo where ramen rose to dizzying heights of popularity in 1958. There are nine ramen restaurants where you can taste mini portions of ramen for a fee.