Pudong's World Chocolate Wonderland

Whether you’re a chocoholic, a fan of confectionery artistry or just an art lover in general, the Shanghai World Chocolate Wonderland will take your breath away. Chocolate masters from China, Taiwan, Switzerland and Belgium have built a unique world of chocolate wonders sure to make even Willy Wonka's stomach growl.

Not so much a dining experience as a visual one, the Shanghai World Chocolate Wonderland opened its gates in mid-December, just in time for the chocolate-gobbling holiday season. Spread out on the upper floor of the Himalayas Center, one of Pudong’s latest hulking pieces of architecture, the theme park showcases all the things you could never imagine being made completely out of chocolate.

A gilded record player, Louis Vuitton handbags, Transformers, sport sneakers and high heels and traditional Chinese vessels are there in all their cocoa-infused glory. Two of the exhibition’s most striking items are the replica of the Pudong skyline bordered by a Huangpu river of swirling chocolate, as well as a nine metre long golden dragon, the product of three months of dedicated craftsmanship. Also notable is the homage to Chinese cultural treasures including a full-scale reproduction of the six metre long painting Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains and a miniature version of the Terracotta Warriors.

“We want to surprise our visitors and give them a different way of experiencing chocolate, showing them that it doesn’t always have to be something you buy to eat. We hope people will be inspired”, says Paul Chao, Vice President of Chocolate Wonderland. The aim of the park is also to help expand China’s chocolate market, which is still far behind in comparison to the European market. 

However, because the works in Chocolate Wonderland aren’t meant for consumption, the quality of chocolate, in terms of its taste, isn’t very high. To make sure that the participants’ chocolate experience isn’t limited to their eyes, several of the world’s finest chocolate suppliers have goods available for purchase at the exhibition. For a more personal and less high-end choco experience, visitors can stop by the workshop and make their own chocolate bars in the shape of teddy bears, hearts, zodiac signs and more.

“A few years back when the [re-make of the] movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came out, we wanted to make that dream come true,” Chao said. To further amuse the little ones, a group of special mascots have been produced, available for purchase as plush toys and porcelain dolls. You’ll also see live versions of the mascots tip-toeing around the exhibition, sometimes bursting out into dance performances. 

Shanghai World Chocolate Wonderland is not China’s first exhibition of this kind. Beijing hosted the event last year; however, for Shanghai it might become a reoccurring event. “The local Pudong government wants to hold it every year, but nothing has been decided yet. If we repeat the same thing it might not be interesting. Maybe we will try other cities instead, like Guangzhou”, says Chao.

The theme park is open until 19 February. If you pay a visit, make sure to dress warmly. The temperature in the exhibition halls is low to prevent the elaborate chocolate wonders from melting.

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