10 interesting food museums from around the world

While many people visit museums in order to learn about culture, art, or history, how many out there can say they’ve gone to a museum to see an exhibit on SPAM? Or to learn the processing history of salami? While somewhat out of the norm, these 10 interesting food museums from around the world will give you insight and fun facts into some of your favorite cuisine.

Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia
Location: Burlingame, California

From vintage Pez dispensers to new Pez-related items, come to Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia to learn the history of Pez as well as buy Pez products. The highlight of the museum is seeing the world’s largest Pez dispenser, which is in the form of a 7 ft’ 10” tall snowman and can hold 6,480 Pez candies. And if you get sick of looking at Pez dispensers all day, the museum also has a Classic Toy Museum and a Banned Toy Museum on site.

Located at 214 California Dr. Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10AM-6PM. The SPAM Museum
Location: Austin, Minnesota

The SPAM Museum is a tribute to this pre-cooked, canned meat that includes vintage advertising, memorabilia, SPAM trivia, and interactive exhibits. Visitors can even test their SPAM-canning skills as well as learn about the large role SPAM played in the diet of WWII soldiers. See walls made entirely of SPAM cans and ceilings holding massive burger buns as you walk through this retro-style museum.

Fun Fact: An actor from New York named Kenneth Daigneau won a contest in 1936 put on by the creator of SPAM, Jay Hormel, that allowed him to choose the name for the canned meat. Mr. Daigneau chose SPAM, which is where the name comes from. He also won $100, which today could have bought him $1,500 in SPAM products.

Located at 1101 North Main St. Museum hours are Monday-Saturday, 10AM-5PM, and Sunday, 12PM-5PM.

The Pick Salami and Szeged Paprika Museum
Location: Szeged, Hungary

The Pick Salami and Szeged Paprika Museum gives visitors a chance to learn everything there is to know about Pick salami and paprika through a showcase of photographs, history lessons on founder Mark Pick, production displays, and butchering guides. The best part of the museum is the life-size wooden dolls wearing authentic costumes that are setup in ways that depict scenes in the salami and paprika making process with production equipment out on display. Luckily, the Picks are still in business so after learning about these delicious treats you can purchase some for yourself.

Located at Felso Tisza-Part 10 . Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 3PM-6PM.

The National Mustard Museum
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin

How much could there possibly be to learn about mustard? Apparently, a lot. The National Mustard Museum is home to more than 5,600 different types of mustard, including kinds from all 50 states as well as over 60 different countries. Visitors can sample the different varieties, some of which include tequila, chocolate, and cranberry mustard, for free at the Tasting Bar, where you will be guided on a sensual (and sometimes spicy) experience by a Confidential Condiments Counselor. A visit to the National Mustard Museum is not only a tour for the taste buds, however, but also for the eyes, as you admire antique mustard pots, reminisce over vintage mustard ads, view a film at the Mustardpiece Theatre (The Sound of Mustard, anyone?), take a mustard cooking class, and more.

Located at 7477 Hubbard Ave. Museum hours are 10AM-5PM, daily.

The Chocolate Museum Cologne
Location: Cologne, Germany

Of course, what food-related list would be complete without chocolate. What makes the Chocolate Museum Cologne unique is that it’s more than just displays of chocolate. At this museum you will travel through three levels of chocolate history, spanning over 3,000 years. Level one will introduce you to the cocoa tree, as you literally visit a tropical house to admire one up close. Next, see a glass chocolate factory to learn about the production of this sweet staple. On the next level visitors are introduced to chocolate as a luxury item, beginning in Mesoamerica. The final level allows you to peruse chocolate advertising and signs, watch films in the chocolate cinema, and see chocolate items that developed a cult following. There are lots of interesting tidbits of chocolate knowledge to learn here. For instance, did you know that 80 years ago the high calorie content in chocolate was seen as a good thing? I definitely would have liked to be around back then.

Located at Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a, 50678. Museum hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10AM-6PM, Saturday-Sunday, 11AM to 7PM.

The International Banana Club Museum
Location: Hesperia, California

I have never seen anyone as bananas for anything as Ken Bannister, the founder of the International Banana Club Museum, is for, well, bananas. This museum, decorated with banana art, clocks, photographs, and more, holds the largest collection dedicated to one fruit in the world and is the perfect place to come if you’re looking for something a little more on the wacky side. Begin in the “Hard” section and browse through pipes, trees, pins, knives, golf putters, belts, rings, cups, and more, all with a banana theme. There is even a rock-hard petrified banana that has been in the museum since 1975. Next, check out the “Food, Drink, and Notions” section, including banana-related foods, drinks, soaps, oils…even banana tobacco. The final sections are the “Clothing Section” (banana nose, anyone?) and the “Soft” section, which is the perfect place to end your day at the museum, as there is an eight-foot long banana couch and tons of comfortable banana pillows.

Located at 16367 Main St. Museum hours are Tues-Thurs, 9AM-1PM, and the first Saturday of each month, 9AM-1PM.

Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum
Location: Tokyo, Japan

Who would have guessed that your favorite meal in college (or the only one you knew how to cook) had an entire museum dedicated to it? The Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum includes a huge recreation of Tokyo as it looked in 1958, the year Raumen (or Ramen) was created. Visitors also get the chance to dine in some of the most well-known Raumen noodle restaurants in existence. Walk near walls covered in Raumen packages, browse Raumen and houseware displays, watch Raumen commercials on replay, and enjoy interactive Raumen video games.

Located within walking distance of Shin-Yokohama Train Station. Museums hours are 11AM-10PM, daily.

Deutsches Currywurst Museum
Location: Berlin, Germany

One may wonder why a city would decide to dedicate an entire museum to curried sausage. The truth is, there is no German dish that “inspires as many stories, preferences, and celebrity connoisseurs” as currywurst. While this may sound a bit dramatic, a visit to the Deutsches Currywurst Museum may make you a believer, as well. Get your picture taken at the old-fashioned snack bar, explore the spice chamber to solve the mystery search for the perfect ingredients, and take in the unique decor including a sausage sofa, over-sized ketchup drops hanging from the ceiling, and humongous fry displays. Visiting Deutsches Currywurst Museum is also a learning experience, as you hear about currywurst history and legends, take part in the experimental kitchen, and watch some famous currywurst scenes on film.

Located at SchÜ tzenstrausse 70. Museum hours are 10AM-10PM, daily.

The Idaho Potato Museum
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho

Being that the potato is Idaho’s most famous product, it is no wonder that there would be an Idaho Potato Museum dedicated to the starchy vegetable. This museum holds a lot of information about the history of the potato, including a film about the development of the potato industry, old farming equipment, as well as educational exhibits of the harvesting process and nutrition. The real attraction at this museum, however, is the world’s largest potato chip, which, according to Roadside America, is a 25×14-inch Pringle created in 1991 by engineers at Proctor and Gamble. The gift shop here is also worth mentioning, as it sells all kinds of potato-related gifts including potato ice cream and potato fudge.

Location is 130 NW Main St. Museum hours are April-September, Monday-Saturday, 9:30AM-5PM and October-March, Monday-Friday, 9:30AM-3:30PM.

Location: Brugge, Belgium

After discussing a museum dedicated to the potato, it is only fair to talk about a museum dedicated to the world’s favorite potato product, the French fry. Frietmuseum is the first museum in the world dedicated to the fry. While fried potatos are an international treat, what many people may not know is that they actually originated in Belgium. While you will learn the history of French fries and condiments at Frietmuseum, what really attracts tourists is the Saaihalle, the 14th century building that it is housed in. When sampling some of the museum’s fried cuisine, you will be taken downstairs to the medieval cellars of this building, which is the oldest in Brugge.

Located at Vlamingstraat 33. Museum hours are 10AM-5PM, daily.

Five incredible sights in Idaho

On your next trip out West, forget about Colorado or California. Visitors in the know are heading for Idaho. There’s lot more here than potatoes. In fact, the state’s wild, unspoiled terrain is dotted with natural wonders, a intriguing range of activities and loads of hidden finds. Wondering where to kick off your Idaho adventure? Give these five great sights a look:

Craters Of The Moon National Monument
You feel you might be on the moon’s surface at Craters of the Moon National Monument, covering 618 square miles of desolate volcanic wasteland bearing lava tube caves and cinder cones southwest of Arco. Apollo Astronauts visited in 1969 to practice exploring the moon. The visitor’s center has exhibits and films. Take a hike on one of the many trails or enjoy the stark scenery along a 7-mile loop drive. Admission: $8 autos, $4 cycles or by foot, under 15 free. Campsites are available.

Hagerman Fossil Beds
More than 200 specimens of the Hagerman Horse, along with mastodons and saber-toothed cats are still being found at the Hagerman Fossil Beds, a quarry north of Buhl. Be ready to do some walking but no digging. A couple of miles away, the Hagerman Valley Historical Museum houses this zebra-sized replica which has become Idaho’s state fossil. Kids can apply hands-on activities with the pre-historic displays and sign up to be a ranger. Donations are welcomed. Hours: May-October, Wednesday-Sunday, 1-4; November-April, Saturday-Sunday, 1-4.
Balanced Rock
It’s nearly a 200 foot climb to Balanced Rock, the camel’s head-shaped rock perched on a pedestal only 3 feet by 17 inches. As you feel very small underneath this 40 ton monster, you’ll be treated to a view of the spectacular Snake River country below. Less than a mile from the rock, nestled between two walls of volcanic rock, free camping is available in the small and narrow, yet peaceful state park south of Buhl.

World Center of Birds Of Prey
Located south of Boise on Flying Hawk Lane, the World Center of Birds of Prey and interpretive center breeds birds of prey in captivity to release to the wild. Viewing our nation’s Bald Eagle or Idaho’s state bird, the Peregrine Falcon, from only a few feet away makes you realize what large birds they are when you see them soaring through the air hundreds of feet above. Live bird presentations are regularly scheduled. Hours: November-February, Tuesday-Sunday, 10-4; March-October, daily, 9-5. Admission: $7 general, $6 (62+), $5 (4-16), under 4 free.

Warhawk Air Museum
Getting up close to real air planes can make you feel mighty small. World War II History of Aviation, right up to the space age, is depicted in the aerial displays of Warhawk Air Museum, located in Nampa on Municipal Drive. Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 to 4; Saturday, 10-5. Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors and military identification, $4 (5-12), under 5 free.

Potato Museum?!?!?

Where I come from, potatoes are an integral part of life; hardly a day goes by without consuming potato chips, French fries, mash potatoes or some other variation on the versatile spud. In fact, as I write this, I’m boiling potatoes right now to make some mash.

Personally, I would argue that potatoes are the unsung heroes of American cuisine; I can’t believe someone hasn’t built a shrine to our spudsy friend.

Well, look no further. If you happen to be passing through Prince Edward Island–Canada’s smallest province–and looking for something to do, swing on by the Prince Edward Island Potato Museum. You can’t miss it; a 14-foot tall russet potato stands at the entrance.

The museum itself is an astounding 7,000 sqaure feet and packed with, according to the website, “the largest exhibit of potato artifacts in the world!”

Man, I love potatoes, but life must be awfully boring on Prince Edward Island to spend time amassing the largest exhibit of potato artifacts in the world. Nonetheless, if you’re in town, check it out. What else are you going to do?