Last week a friend and I went to the Chocolate exhibit at the Cal. Academy of Sciences
(875 Howard /4-5th. 321 8000, open 10 a.m. daily)
It was fun and very educational.
Take fun quizzes testing your chocolate knowledge.
Lots of history:
Trace the spread of chocolate throughout Europe after the conquest of the Mayans.
See antique porcelain chocolate service accessories.
At one point in England (17th - 18th.c.?), chocolate cafes were seen as breeding grounds for sedition and repressed.
The original Mr. Cadbury of the English chocolate dynasty was a crusader to end 19th. century slave labor in choc. plantations.
See lots of vintage photos of early chocolate factory assembly line action with workers wearing strange uniforms.
Archeological finds: Mayan chocolate ritual accoutrements.
How did WWII transform the patterns of chocolate consumption?
A live exhibit of leaf cutter ants frenetically hauling leaves hundeds of times their own weight.
Goofy vintage chocolate advertising: "It's full of healthful sugar!"
Lots of science:
What is the process for transforming cocoa beans to the different types of chocolate?
Why is preserving rain forest important for maintaining the chocolate supply?
How do different cultures differ in their attitudes toward chocolate?
I could go on and on.
After the show, we hopped on an historic street car, got off at the end of the line and enjoyed surprisingly satisfying fudge sundaes at the Ghirardelli fountain restaurant.
I had the hot fudge warm brownie sundae with butter pecan ice cream. Brownie - B+, fudge - I liked it, ice cream - very nice. A large serving, and visually impressive.
I told them to type "cold brownie" onto the computer order because I didn't want the ice cream to melt too fast.
You'd do best to get to the show and the restaurant early as both get crowded, and who likes crowds?
Tip: $1 off coupons for the choc. show and the Ghirardelli sundae appear in a tourist booklet available in the SF Center lobby on Market near 5th.