10 of the World’s Strangest Food Museums
We’ve rounded up the world’s weirdest food museums, ranging from a tribute to Iceland’s herring industry to a sausage-filled museum in Berlin, Germany.
Dutch Cheese Museum, Alkmaar, Netherlands
Courtesy Dutch Cheese Museum
Thought tulips were the Netherlands’ biggest export? Think again—it’s cheese, more specifically, Edam and Gouda. Learn more at this brilliant Dutch Cheese Museum, which explores the history of the cheeses and how they’re made. It’s tucked inside one of Alkmaar’s oldest buildings, the 16th century Cheese Weigh House in Waagplein Square. Our favorite bit? The bright yellow, cheese-inspired decor and the super-sized model cow, designed to provide visitors with an insight into the milking process. Find out the 10 best foodie cities in the world.
Le Musée Art du Chocolat de Lisle sur Tarn, Lisle-sur-Tarn, France
A weird and wonderful tribute to the sweet stuff, the Le Musée Art du Chocolat de Lisle sur Tarn is dedicated to the world of chocolate art. Chocolate elephants? Check. Chocolate candle holders? Check. There’s even a chocolate fountain—and by that, we mean one made entirely from chocolate that put the one your cousin had at her wedding to shame. The sculptures, some of which weigh around 100 kilograms, are displayed in three halls. Must-sees include the life-sized chocolate woman and the huge white chocolate Tin Tin. We’re getting a sugar rush just thinking about it.
Cup Noodle Museum, Yokohama, Japan
Amazingly, the Cup Noodle Museum is one of several museums in Japan dedicated to instant noodles, otherwise known as ramen. The sheer size of this museum is a reminder of the nation’s love of the foodstuff—there are several enormous halls, including one containing a replica of the shed in which the first type of ramen was invented (it was chicken-based if you were wondering). There’s plenty for younger visitors, who can whiz down slides in a noodle-themed playground and swim through a ball pool resembling a cup of ramen soup. Don’t forget to check the noodle-themed marble run, either—it features 4,000 marbles and represents the various stages of ramen production. Here are 10 other crazy things you can only find in Japan.
Friet Museum, Bruges, Belgium
Courtesy Friet Museum
The Friet Museum is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the world’s only museum dedicated to what the rest of the world calls French fries, but which are known as Belgian friet in this part of the world. Visit this Bruges attraction and you’ll learn all about the humble potato (first grown in Peru 10,000 years ago) and can admire various friet-related masterpieces, including drawings of the city’s famous Frituur chip stalls. The strangest exhibit? The enormous—but weirdly beautiful—display of friet fryers.
Carpigiani Gelato Museum, Carpigiani, Italy
The Italians take their ice cream incredibly seriously, proof of which is the Carpigiani Gelato Museum in Bologna. You’ll find it inside what was once a factory owned by Carpigiani, the manufacturer of the world’s first ice cream-making machine. Exhibits include the ornate tin-plated boxes used by Italy’s first gelato sellers, along with a huge selection of gelato-related gadgets. There’s also a large workshop where you can sign up for lessons in gelatology, possibly the world’s coolest subject.
The Herring Era Museum, Siglufjörður, Iceland
Jón Steinar Ragnarsson/Courtesy The Herring Era Museum
Herrings might not sound like the most exciting item of food but visitors to The Herring Era Museum will certainly leave with a new appreciation of the small, oily fish. The museum, inside a former salting station, looks at how, in the earth 20th century, the herring industry transformed this tiny village into a thriving town, with 23 herring salting stations and five herring processing plants. Sadly, over-exploitation of stocks meant the industry ground to a halt, but the tiny museum is a reminder of a period of time referred to by locals as the Atlantic Klondike.
Pizza Hut Museum, Wichita, Kansas
The world’s newest food museum, Pizza Hut Museum, opened in Kansas last April, on the very same site of the first Pizza Hut restaurant. It’s packed full of pizza-related memorabilia, including the first Pizza Hut pizza pan used in 1958, when the restaurant opened. Other rare items include Pizza Hut Barbie dolls, menus, staff lists from the 1950s, and signage from the first restaurant. You’ll also be able to admire the original recipe for the brand’s famous sauce, scrawled on a napkin by the employee who perfected it. These are the 12 national food holiday every foodie will love.
Poli Grappa Museum, Bassano del Grappa, Italy
It’s probably a good idea to leave the car at home before a visit to the Poli Grappa Museum because samples of Italy’s famous liquor certainly aren’t in short supply. The museum is small but well laid out, with three rooms filled with exhibits relating to the famous Italian grape-based brandy. One notable highlight is the beautiful collection of antique stills, although many visitors make a beeline for the third room in order to sample some of the varieties produced by the nearby Poli Distillery.
The Idaho Potato Museum, Blackfoot, Idaho
Courtesy Idaho Potato Museum
The nation’s favorite tuber is the star of the show at The Idaho Potato Museum, which is home to both the world’s largest potato and the world’s largest potato chip, along with a wealth of potato-related facts. There are entire sections dedicated to tools used to harvest potatoes in the early 1900s, along with the world’s largest collection of mashers. And don’t forget to visit the café, where you can indulge in a chocolate-dipped potato. don’t miss 10 epic road trips for foodies.
The Spam Museum, Austin, Minnesota
Courtesy Hormel Foods Corporation
Learn about the world’s most famous processed meat with a visit to The Spam Museum, a huge attraction examining the food’s rise to global domination. Not convinced? Check out the exhibit relating to its role in WWII, when Spam became a staple for servicemen and women. Then there’s the display of 15 varieties of Spam sold around the world. There are plenty of opportunities for taste tests—just look for one of the museum’s guides, otherwise known as Spambassadors. Read on for the 10 restaurants around the world where you can have the weirdest dining experience of your life.