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Explore the evolution of chocolate at new MUZEO exhibit in Anaheim

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Now's your chance to learn how your favorite chocolate bar evolves from a cacao seed to end up in a candy wrapper at the new exhibit at MUZEO in Anaheim. "Chocolate: The Exhibition", which opened on Saturday, takes you on a journey from the ancient rainforest to modern-day chocolate factories in a high-tech, elaborate display which will appeal to all of your senses.

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Using effective audio and visual effects as well as historical artifacts, you'll explore the lengthy process of how cacao seeds are gathered, harvested and then shipped to factories where the seeds are turned into cocoa powder, cocoa butter and chocolate.

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Cacao trees which produce the precious cacao seeds are native to tropical rainforests in Central and South America. In the Aztec civilization of 16th-century Mexico, cacao was consumed as a luxury drink, and the seeds were used as money. The exhibit illustrates with an illuminated map how the Spaniards brought chocolate to Europe from the Americas in the 1600s, and the popularity spread across the continent.

It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution when chocolate candy bars were invented. By 1930, there were 40,000 different styles of candy bars available to the consumer. The pop culture aspect of chocolate is represented with actual magazine ads from the 1930s and 1940s when the popularity of chocolate skyrocketed. One reason chocolate became so popular in the US was that chocolate bars were included in the food rations for soldiers during World War I and World War II.

Museum visitors will also learn the multi-step process which turns the cacao seeds into various chocolate products. Fascinating film video of factory assembly lines are presented.

By the end of the exhibit, no doubt you will be craving a piece of chocolate. MUZEO doesn't disappoint! Each visitor to the exhibit gets a free sampling of chocolate to taste.

"Chocolate: The Exhibition" was developed by The Field Museum in Chicago. The bilingual exhibit in Spanish and English is scheduled to run through September 11 at MUZEO in Anaheim, a center for arts, entertainment and culture, which brings traveling exhibits to the Southern California area.

MUZEO is planning a number of special programs linked with the exhibit this summer including an "Ice Cream Social" scheduled for Friday June 24. Visit http://www.muzeo.org for more information.

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