Site Seen: Chocolate Exhibition

As a universally grown, eaten and adored product around the world, chocolate has a deep history with lots of secrets. In fact, when eaten in moderation with little to no added sugar and oils, chocolate can actually be considered a nutritious snack.

The sensory experience of “Chocolate” begins in a gift shop filled with everything chocolate. From chocolate-covered potato chips to “I Love Chocolate” shirts, it’s too hard not to indulge. Interactive elements, among them a life-size cacao tree replica, demonstrate the discovery of the cacao tree in the tropical rainforest. Faux cacao pods provide a visual representation of how the cacao tree developed into a staple luxury drink and a substitute for currency for the Mayans and Aztecs.

The end of the exhibit shows chocolate’s transition to its more modern, familiar uses, detailing how the cacao seed made its way to Europe and was introduced to sugar, thus becoming the chocolate we know today. The different uses of chocolate at home and in present-day Western society shows the prominent role chocolate plays in our own lives.

To learn all about this magical little seed, the San Diego Natural History Museum is free on the first Tuesday of every month for San Diego County residents. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.