chocolate in the gardens

 

It’s about time some more chocolate research was undertaken, don’t you think? On a crazy balmy winter day this week (25 degrees mid winter – what is going on, Sydney?!), we ventured forth to the Royal Botanic Gardens to explore the new building the Calyx, which is essentially a new glasshouse and marks the gardens’ second centenary in 2016.

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And the opening exhibition is called Sweet Addiction, the botanic story of chocolate, prominently sponsored by Lindt.

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The new building is quite attractive and a bit space age

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with the most striking element inside of the southern hemisphere’s largest vertical garden. It really is beautiful and breathes such a fresh, herby scent as you walk through the exhibit.

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They have the plants frequently sprayed by mist from within and above the wall

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which is bursting with herbs, colour and flowers

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and plants  here replicating a box of chocolates.

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The Sweet Addiction exhibition charts the history of chocolate with lots of fun facts dating back from the Mayan history

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and I thought my tea consumption was excessive!

More fun facts –

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I’m sure this practice continues today – compound chocolate anyone?

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Yes, of course chocolate is a superfood, whoever doubted that?

And there are some classic quotes

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including an homage to chocoholics.

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I love the phrase “I have reconciled myself to chocolate”

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As you leave there’s a very Mardi Gras rainbow flag wall.

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Look closer and you will see it’s a gazillion Lindt balls glued to a wall

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oh and did I mention Lindt? Here’s a replica of the conche apparently invented by Rodolphe Lindt in 1879 situated as you exit via the gift shop stacked with – you guessed it, Lindt chocolates!

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Being a veteran of previous chocolate exhibitions in Switzerland, I must say I was a little underwhelmed by this one and felt it was a tad overpriced at $15 although the setting in the Royal Botanic Gardens is unbeatable.

Lindt chocolate adventure

The Lucerne transport museum is the most popular museum in Switzerland and it’s pretty epic.

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Planes, trains and automobiles are only just the start. There’s a plane simulator, helicopter simulator, even a train simulator where you can learn how to drive or fly these contraptions in the safety of what feels like a video game.

Or if you want to throw yourselves more into things, there are these bunjee trampoline thingies

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Or if chocolate research is first and foremost on your mind at all times, you can also do the Swiss Chocolate Adventure. So of course we did. It’s like a tame ride into chocolate land, or Lindt land. There are little carriages that seat about 8 people in 2 rows and you are shuttled jauntily from room to room on a little track to watch the life size video projections of chocolate workers explain the process of chocolate making step by step.

And the connection with transport, I hear you ask? Well, at every opportunity, they link transport into the production process. So firstly, we have the beans which are sourced far away, so you need to fly to get there…

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or a bike as pictured below beside the cocoa beans drying out in the tropical sun

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Now we’re back in Switzerland with the ever present cows, who of course provide the milk required in milk chocolate

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and trains needed to transport the various ingredients to the factory, over mountains, across lakes…

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Then we get a brief Swiss chocolate history lesson with the local legends of chocolate, Cailler, Suchard, Daniel Peter and Lindt & Sprungli.

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Now the melty, swirly, swoony chocolate is shown in various stages of yumminess. The revolutionary conching process of kneading and mixing and aerating the melted chocolate is starting to make me hungry…

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Lucky for us there’s a tasting room where a handful of Lindt balls roll out of a tube for our greedy consumption. Mmmmmmm. Although I must admit Lindt is not my favourite Swiss chocolate.

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And look at the goodies the in-house Lindt chocolatier made for the gift shop

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