• Updated 2022.5.11 12:33
  • All Articles
  • member icon
  • facebook cursor
  • twitter cursor
NewsPhotos and videos
A museum with great tasteVisit a sweet destination
폰트키우기 폰트줄이기 프린트하기 메일보내기 신고하기
승인 2010.05.14  10:49:27
페이스북 트위터
▲ From processing to the world that revolves around chocolate, everything to know about the decadent delicacy can be found at the eclectic Chocolate Museum in Daejong village. Photo courtesy Chocolate Museum

Everything is better with chocolate: Ice cream, mint, cookies, Easter, dating, even museums! For those to whom eating is believing, you can verify that at Daejong village, Ilgwa-ri, in Jeju, where Asia’s first chocolate museum is located.

If you’re anything like me, you think of chocolate as a brown, sweet treat often sheathed in its protective tinfoil peel, and growing mostly on the shelves of convenience stores.

Apparently, there’s more to chocolate than that; much more, in fact. Walking through the front gates and onto the premises of Jeju’s Chocolate Museum (4,000 won entry for adults, children are free), the visitor is confronted — daunted even — by a large chocolate-colored castle. This is the museum. “My God,” you think upon first seeing it, “I’m not leaving this place without some cavities and diabetes.”

Enter the castle, and you’ll find that the museum offers just as much food for thought as it does chocolate. Beyond the front entrance and through a hallway (around which spirals a staircase leading to the second floor), there are two main galleries of pictures and informational posters, as well as various displays. Some of the displays are simple showcases, while others are larger and include, for example, a succession of tools that demonstrate the ancient process of chocolate production, from the harvesting of the cocoa pod through the extraction of the beans and grinding them into powder, to the various uses for cocoa powder. From the posters, you can learn about cultivation, advertising, consumption habits, recipes and other historical curiosities and trivia that relay a global perspective on cocoa and chocolate. One poster informs the reader that in one part of the world, “the cocoa bean was first an exchange currency and later became a legal tender in its own right. You could buy a rabbit for 10 cocoa beans and a slave in good health for 100.” But I’m not going to spill the beans on this one. You’ll have to visit the museum yourself to find out where and when this was.

▲ Photo courtesy Chocolate Museum

The second floor of the museum is currently under construction but is expected to be open to visitors sometime between May 15, and 20. This floor will have several rooms, one of which will focus on cocoa with a live cocoa tree as a centerpiece. In another, viewers will be able to see the bean-to-bar mechanical manufacturing process.

The museum also has a “factory,” where it produces hand-made chocolates with cocoa imported from Indonesian and Philippine farms. The production of this chocolate can be seen through glass, and the chocolates can be bought in the museum’s gift shop. The museum’s chocolates are also sold in stores in Jeju, Seoul and Gangwon province. I consider myself an amateur connoisseur of chocolate and the museum’s was the silkiest, richest, most melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness I ever had.

Exploring the museum further, one finds a small theater (with seating for about 30), which screens movies about the history and production of chocolate. Across the main hall is a Christmas room and an adjoining collections room. The first holds Christmas trees and wreaths, blinking lights, ornamental Santas and even a fire place with stockings strung above. Traditional Christmas songs play with 365 Christmases to be celebrated each and every year. Old, Western-style dolls, ceramic ducks, porcelain cats and the sort of ornaments you’d expect to find in an American vintage store are displayed behind glass in the collections room.

▲ Photo courtesy Chocolate Museum

So, what’s the connection between Christmas, vintage collectables and chocolate? Much chocolate is consumed at Christmas, answered Kim Gwang Hwae, assistant manager of the museum. As to the collectables, Kim said that museum owners, Han Yae Seok and her husband Ju Jen Uine found that after traveling abroad to various countries, they’d acquired a lot of children’s things and wanted to showcase them. This unplanned process of collect and show was how much of the chocolate museum was assembled. Han and Ju, again on their travels in distant lands, realized that of the many things they’d acquired, a great many were related to chocolate. Many people would think that a mere coincidence but Ju — whose motto in business is ‘to not be the best, but to be the first’ — went the extra mile and founded the museum, which has been in operation since 2002.

Other Korean business firsts claimed by Ju are what he believes was the country’s first pizza franchise (Pizzeria), which has since closed down. He is also the founder of Agabang, an extremely successful — and these days international — baby apparel company. And though there are now chocolate museums in operation in China and Japan, Ju said Jeju’s was Asia’s first.

ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (
All materials on this site are protected under the Korean Copyright Law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published without the prior consent of Jeju Weekly.
폰트키우기 폰트줄이기 프린트하기 메일보내기 신고하기
페이스북 트위터
60 Second Travel
Jeju-Asia's No.1 for Cruise

Jeju Weekly

Mail to  |  Phone: +82-64-724-7776 Fax: +82-64-724-7796
#505 jeju Venture Maru Bldg,217 Jungangro(Ido-2 dong), Jeju-si, Korea, 690-827
Registration Number: Jeju Da 01093  |  Date of Registration: November 20, 2008  |  Publisher: Hee Tak Ko  | Youth policy: Hee Tak Ko
Copyright 2009 All materials on this site are protected under the Korean Copyright Law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published
without the prior consent of jeju