Sweet “MISHKA” – Museum of chocolate and cocoa history
There is a place in Moscow where sweet lovers can learn about the history of chocolate, clearly see how the recipe of chocolates was perfected, packaging changed, and, of course, try freshly made chocolate. The place is the Moscow Museum of Chocolate and Cocoa, which is also known as “MISHKA”.
The museum features the holdings of Babaevsky, Red October, and Rot Front. The exposition tells visitors about the history of origin and development of chocolate cookery, the amazing properties of chocolate and its effect on human health and mood.
Exhibits in the museum will tell visitors about the culture of consumption of sweets from the Mayan times to the present day.
“MISHKA is a modern museum, where a variety of historical exhibits are very harmoniously combined with a modern multimedia space. Here you can get on a ship of conquistadors, take a ride in a time carriage through the spread of chocolate, as well as look into a real laboratory, where cacao beans grow.
You can already smell the aroma of chocolate in the museum lobby, where animal figurines and paintings made of real chocolate are on display. Such exhibits have to be restored periodically because the chocolate melts, and some of the visitors often try to break off a small piece of the figurine or painting they like.
The largest exhibit at the museum is the Chocolate Bear, which weighs about 100 kilograms. The bear became such a “weightlifter” in the process of renovation. During the restoration, they put a little more chocolate on it than it melts. That’s how the bear grew to be such a giant.
The main exposition of the Bears opens with a hall dedicated to the Mayans. Thanks to this Indian tribe, the whole world learned about the chocolate drink, which was originally called “Chocolatl” or “Cacava”.
In the Mayan hall visitors have the opportunity to get acquainted with a variety of bowls, from which the Indians once drank the chocolate drink, sit on the steps of a scaled-down copy of the Kukulkan pyramid.
Besides, you will learn how Cortes and Columbus first tasted the drink made of cocoa, and why the Spaniards kept the recipe of preparing it a secret from the whole Europe for more than 100 years.
However, the mystery of the recipe didn’t help Spaniards to take the lead in chocolate production. The last European country to learn about it was Switzerland, a country whose confectioners nowadays set the standard for chocolate quality.
Inside the museum, a small cocoa tree grows, which is illuminated in different colors, giving the museum space a special atmosphere.
In the museum, in a separate area, there is a prototype of the workroom of Karl Einem, the famous Moscow chocolate candy maker.
Next to Einem’s office on the wall is a picture of the house of his closest competitor, Alexei Abrikosov, who was not only engaged in the production of chocolate, but also in the creation of marshmallows and jams. Abrikosov was known for creating large candy wrappers.
Next to the showcase of packages there is a prototype of a pre-revolutionary cafe store. At the beginning of the 19th century you could buy confectionery, coffee or tea, as well as buy special dishes for sweets in such a place.
It is worth noting that back then you could buy one slice of chocolate for 10 kopecks from a special machine in a confectionery store.
The exposition also contains the first imprints with which Enem and Abrikos began to produce chocolates.
Visitors can find out how Muscovites of the 19th century imagined the capital in the future with the postcard collection “Moscow of the future”.
After 1917 the design of candy packages began to change.
Instead of bourgeois luxury came simplicity – candy began to be packed in cheap cardboard boxes. At the same time, the packaging became more informative; for example, instead of advertising, producers began to place information about the measures of weights adopted after the revolution.
During the difficult period of the Great Patriotic War, confectionery factories produced porridge and, in some cases, even signal a checkers.
The museum displays a cover from the chocolate for pilots – “Gvardeysky”, a variety of packaging of the postwar period – on the space theme, the theme of the Congress of the Communist Party, the World Youth Forum, etc.
In the museum showcases there is a box of rare chocolates that Leonid Brezhnev used to give to foreign guests during official meetings.
There are also a variety of candy packages that were produced for memorable dates – February 23, March 8, May 9 and others.
The tour program includes a visit to the production workshops of the factory, where you can not only see how chocolates and candies are made and packed, but also taste them at all stages of production.
Museum of the History of Chocolate and Cocoa
Moscow has all sorts of museums: for space lovers, for young naturalists, for those who are interested in history and archeology, and even for sweet-tooths! The latter can visit the amazing Museum of Chocolate and Cocoa History of Moscow – the place where you can learn how a burning drink of the American Indians turned into a sweet and beloved delicacy, and see with your own eyes how chocolate candies are “born”.
History of the Chocolate and Cocoa Museum
The idea of creating a museum dedicated to chocolate was born in 2005 together with the merger of Krasny Oktyabr and Babayevsky confectionery concern. The museum’s organizers wanted to tell the visitors not only how and where chocolate came from, its role in human history, but also about the development of Moscow’s largest factories which produced a variety of sweets, including the most famous chocolate confections.
N. V. Kuznetsova and artist A. G. Reiner decided to implement the project. For several years they were collecting materials for museum showcases. They even went to the Mesoamerican Indian Museum to find exhibits about the discoverers of chocolate. In creating the exhibits, they used a variety of “visual aids,” amazing artifacts and modern interactive programs. Even the financial crisis that hit the factories in 2008 could not hinder the creative work.
The Museum of the History of Chocolate and Cocoa was inaugurated on March 19, 2009, and for more than 10 years it has welcomed visitors of all ages, those who love chocolate, history and surprises.
A walk through the Museum of Chocolate and Cocoa History
At the entrance of the museum, behind a glass display case, visitors are greeted by chocolate figurines. The biggest one is a cute and cuddly teddy bear with a medal on his chest.
It is the museum’s symbol and one of its main attractions. The weight of the chocolate bear is more than 80 kilograms, and it keeps getting heavier. That’s because the exhibit is “restored” from time to time – it’s covered in new layers of chocolate.
That was the beginning
Tour of the museum begins with a hall, which takes visitors to Central America at the time of the Mayans.
A kind of introduction to the exposition is the story of the great Russian scientist, Yuri Valentinovich Knorozov, who managed to find the key to the writings of the ancient Maya. You can also find out that originally the drink, made by the Indians from cacao beans, wasn’t even remotely similar to the chocolate, which today’s sweet tooth knows and loves.
You can immerse yourself in the history not only by the fascinating story of the guide, but also by the decoration of the hall, the wax figure of an Indian in national attire, different vessels and household items, using which the Indians made their chocolate drink, and part of the pyramid of Kukulkan (one of the supreme Mayan deities). Many centuries ago, the people of the city of Chichen Itza erected a pyramid – a temple, and in the museum, the “steps” of the pyramid can be used instead of benches.
From America to Europe
To get to the second hall of the museum, guests will need to go through the hold of a Spanish caravel. Hernan Cortes used such a ship hundreds of years ago to bring cocoa beans to Europe for the first time, along with the secret of making the Indian drink.
The next exhibit on the way is the Carriage of Time. With it, visitors learn about chocolate’s complicated, strange, but very interesting journey through Europe’s reigning houses, and how the Native American drink has changed over time.
Chocolate in Russia
The history of chocolate in Russia began during the reign of Catherine the Great. It is believed that it was brought to the ruler as a gift by the ambassador of Venezuela. The favorite of the empress G. Potemkin was a big fan of the chocolate drink.
And a few decades later, the first manufactories that produced chocolates appeared in the Russian Empire, the largest of which were: “Association of steam factory of chocolate candies and tea cookies Einem” (later the factory “Red October”) and “Factory and Trade Association of A. I. Abrikosov sons” (now known as the concern “Babaevsky”). The following expositions of the museum tell about the founders of these manufactures.
No less interesting are the showcases with a variety of tools, which were once used by employees of factories for the production of sweets. There are molds for moulding shaped chocolates, and a vat where sweet mass was mixed, and various devices used to measure chocolate and pour it into pre-prepared containers.
There are also porcelain dishes in several showcases from which it was customary to drink chocolate and coffee in high society in the 18th and 19th centuries.
During the tour, visitors can visit a pre-revolutionary shop. Once upon a time, in such establishments you could not only buy sweets, but also have a cup of tea or coffee. A vending machine hangs on the wall of the cafe store. At one time, dropping 10 kopecks into such a machine and entering the shop you could get a small piece of chocolate.
A little ahead, the guests find themselves in a store from the first years of Soviet power. Everything is completely different here: the furnishings, the assortment, and even the design of the candy wrappers.
Surprisingly, it turns out that the history of the country is quite possible to study the wrappers and boxes of candy and other sweets. It is easy to make sure in it, looking at the exhibits in the showcases, because all the most important events of Russia were reflected in the design of the wrappers: from the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov House, to the October Revolution, flight to space, the Moscow Olympics, etc.
Also, at the Museum of the History of Chocolate you can see the real cocoa tree and examine the ingredients that are used to make chocolate candies and bars.
Make your own confectioner
After a fascinating trip through the past, visitors to the museum are given the opportunity to dive into the modern sweet world and visit the working factory. Here tour participants can see all the secrets of making chocolate and chocolate products, and, of course, try the freshly made delicacies.
Or, instead of production, you can visit the workshop and try to create your own delicacy from waffles, chocolate, nuts, candied fruits and other ingredients.
And as a surprise, all visitors of the museum receive a sweet gift as a keepsake!
In addition to the main exhibition, the museum has a branch – the permanent exhibition “Rosa Einem. It is located in another district of Moscow and tells in more detail about the history of the manufactory “Association Einem”. The branch showcases unique exhibits, including unusual boxes, elite packaging, the first advertising materials, a chocolate train, charming dolls molded from dark and white chocolate, and much, much more!
Where is the Museum of the History of Chocolate and Cocoa and how to get there?
The main exposition of the Chocolate and Cocoa History Museum Mishka is located on the territory of concern “Babayevsky” on Malaya Krasnoselskaya. The entrance is through the gatehouse from the side of Lobachik street, 1.
The nearest subway station – “Krasnoselskaya” (Sokolnicheskaya line). Exiting the subway, you need to move on Verkhnyaya Krasnoselskaya Street to the intersection of Malaya Krasnoselskaya Street and Lobachika Street (until the red building with the unusual architecture). After that, you should turn right and walk a few meters more to the checkpoint.
You can also take buses number 122 or 387, or the mini-bus number b/n (Krasnoselskaya – NIKIET). Get off at the stop “Babaev factory.
Exhibition “Rosa Einem”.
Located at: Bersenevskaya Embankment, 6, p. 1 (former factory “Red October”).
The nearest metro stations: “Kropotkinskaya” and “Lenin Library” (Sokolnicheskaya line), “Borovitskaya” and “Polyanka” (Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya line), “Alexandrovsky Sad” (Filevskaya line).
From st. “Kropotkinskaya” will need to go down Volkhonka Street in the direction of Borovitskaya Square, then cross the Big Stone Bridge, turn to Bersenevskaya embankment and go along the river to the store “Alenka”.
From “Borovitskaya”, “Alexandrovsky Garden” and “Biblioteka im. From “Borovitsky”, “Alexandrov Garden” and “Lenin Library” you will need to walk along Mokhovaya, and then also through the Big Stone Bridge and along the Bersenevskaya embankment.
From the Polyanka station you will need to travel first along Bolshaya Polyanka Street, cross the river, and then turn left and move along Bolotnaya Embankment to the parking lot of the Red October. When you reach the parking lot, turn left and walk a few meters to the store “Alenka.
You can also walk to the museum from the stop “Udarnik Cinema”. Here stop buses number M1, M6, T4, T7 (electric), T8 and 144.
Museum opening hours and ticket prices
The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 to 17:30. Entrance to the museum is once an hour, starting at 9:30. Break: from 12.30 to 14.30. The last tour begins at 17:30.
On Sundays, you can visit the museum (without the production tour) at 12:00 and 15:00.
For private visitors (groups) tours are held on weekdays at 17.15.
In order to get to the tour, you must sign up in advance by phone or through the official website (important to remember, especially if you plan to spend only a few days in Moscow!).
The cost of a guided tour with a visit to the production line – 900 rubles per person (there are benefits for accompanying large groups and some categories of citizens); lessons in the chocolate laboratory + inspection of one production line – 800 rubles; visits to the laboratory and acquaintance with the robot “Alenka” – 700 rubles.
Important! Children over 6 years old are allowed to visit the museum, the production – from 8 years old!
Exhibition “Einem Rose
Opening hours: Wednesday through Sunday from 12.00 to 20.00.
Age restrictions: 12+.
Tours are once an hour. Pre-registration is required as well as on the main exhibition.
Ticket price: from 200 to 350 rubles.
Separately you can visit a master class. Make your own confectionery can children from 6 years and adults. The master class is accompanied by an informative film about where and how chocolate grows.
Master-classes are held every hour from Wednesday to Friday. Cost: 300 rubles.
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