Real Willy Wonka Tour Is Less Magic, More Corporate
Every kid who grew up watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory dreamed of one day themselves being invited into the confectionary sweatshop of a bipolar suspected sex offender. And that dream has come tantalizingly close thanks to a new Swiss chocolate factory. So come with me, and you'll be in a world of real Wonkafication.
Nestled in the hills of Kilchberg, Switzerland lies the Lindt House of Chocolate, a new multi-million dollar facility that is both a chocolate factory and an interactive museum. And the vibe of this chocolate factory is very much bougie Swiss Willy Wonka. It doesn't have a chocolate river, but enter the foyer, and you'll see the world's largest chocolate fountain, a 30-foot tall and dark behemoth that looks a lot like an adult party favor you'd find melting in a bachelorette party bag.
Once you're past the giant fountain, which pumps out 1,500 liters of dandruff and insect laden hot chocolate every minute, you are led through an interactive chocolate tour. This starts with a look at the plantations where cocoa is produced by hardworking Ghanaians, the unfortunately accurate real equivalents of Oompa Loompas, labor rights, and all. Past that, you'll witness the History of Chocolate to learn -- yes, learn, this is just a boring, probably not great smelling, museum -- 5,000 years of chocolate-together with all the other disillusioned groups of kids.
After that, this magical Candyland turns real corporate real quick. There is a sweet starry map of the world, but that only shows how globalization has impacted the chocolate industry. And to toot their own Alpine horn, there's also a showcase of how Switzerland became "the home of chocolate" -- which has to be a brief exhibition, just featuring a Belgian flag taking a chocolaty dump on a cuckoo clock. As you've already figured out, almost everything in Lindt's House of Chocolate is look but don't touch with your sticky fingers (Definitely don't lick the wallpaper). Only when you reach "Chocolate Heaven" will you be allowed to taste a small sample of Lindt's regular chocolate, which is readily available all over the world, but you just paid a hundred bucks for your kids to eat.
All in all, it does seem like a beautiful and elegant museum for the adult chocoholic. But for those wishing to be whisked back to that Wonka wonderland, The House of Chocolate might feel less snozzberry-spectacular and more like somewhere a rich Swiss banker will drop their kids off for the afternoon while they go skiing down a mountain of cocaine.
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Top Image: Paramount Pictures / Lindt Home of Chocolate