The World! Chocolate! Wonderland!!!

Finally, winter gave Shanghai a rainy weekend.  And, exhausted of shopping centres and annoyed by yet another badly-copied movie from my local DVD vendor, I needed to get a little creative about things to wile away the time (staying in bed with the internet could have been acceptable enough).


So, when I saw an advert for Shanghai’s World Chocolate Wonderland, the lure of sugary snacks and trash culture was irresistible.  We needed to catch Metro Line 7 all the way to its very end (a rare thing to do on ANY Metro line here) to arrive at the Himalaya Centre in outskirts Pudong, just beside the city’s main convention centre and not too far, in relative terms, from the main airport.

“World Chocolate Wonderland” tried very hard to live up to its name.  It had chocolate, plenty of it (I think the whole thing was sponsored by Lindt and Guylian, because their products featured heavily). It did touch on the “world” concept, by featuring displays about the traditions of chocolate eating throughout the world – including a few tenuous links to Valentines Day and Japanese manga and Louis Vuitton, but whatevs.   


The China section was pretty much as you’d expect – key national icons made out of chocolate.  There were life-size, as well as miniature, terracotta warriors.


Also, white chocolate Ming vases and a replica of the famous Chingming painting.  Really, the latter was just blocks of chocolate with a printed layer on top – a pretty standard cake-making technique, I’d say.  One of the guides made the effort to explain that the painting was made of 14 pieces of chocolate, which was quite apparent and somewhat lacking in “wow’ factor.

These are replicas of Buddhas carved into caves in Gansu province.


And a number of famous Shanghai buildings had been faithfully reproduced too.  The skyline was set against a dark chocolate river, which give the polluted nature of the real Huangpu, may have been a bit too honest.


And there was a dragon, which really was quite detailed and would have been quite a task to produce.


Brown, unless teamed with corduroy or used ironically, is not often a “fashion colour”.  Hold on!  What if it made of chocolate?   And forms a wacky headpiece, that is both stylistically and meteorologically inappropriate?

Or, as always, a Louis Vuitton bag?

There was even a spot where you poke fun at years of spiritual practice, by filling out a wish card to the God of Chocolate.  Just like the Mayans did, supposedly.  I’m calling obesity and squabbles over who ate the last piece of the block as the main reasons their civilisation mysteriously collapsed.  And hoping that this Mayan-calendar-apocalypse thing is just a misinterpretation of the prediction that towards the end of this year, the Chocolate God will return, showering us all with Lindt bunnies and Mars Bars.


Passing through the China Chocolate Hall and World Chocolate Hall, one enters the Chocolate Life Hall, which truth be told is really just a chocolate mini-mall.  And suddenly the world inverts – instead of looking at things made of chocolate, you can buy everyday things (pencil cases, notepads, stickers, t-shirts) that look like chocolate.  Oh, and chocolate.

Chocolate = yes.  World = I guess so.  Wonderland = I’d say overselling to the extreme.


7 Responses to The World! Chocolate! Wonderland!!!

  1. luKe says:

    Millions of years ago conditions were such that concentrated deposits of iron were formed within areas of the earth’s crust.

    People with big trucks now spend their lives digging them up, dropping them into ships and sending them to China and elsewhere in this mad world.

    And what for?

    To provide cages of steel reinforcement in ugly concrete buildings housing the most ridiculous range of human pursuits imaginable – brown rivers of chocolate included.

    It’s a worry.

    • It is a worry. (Un?)fortunately, no one country has the monopoly on frivolous activity. And, no country (like no person) seems able to learn from the experiences of others. Seems we all need to go through the same stages of “development”. (in reference to your other comment, too…)

  2. luKe says:

    Quote from ~J.D. Salinger’s, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 24, spoken by the character Mr. Antolini

    “Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them – if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”

  3. luKe says:

    Dear Doctor

    by way of balance to the frivolity of Chinese temples of chocolate please travel to Japan immendiately and provide us with a post on the deeply considered wooden shrines of Ise.

    Kind regards

    • “Immediately” might be troublesome, as flights to Japan are very expensive right now (Chinese new year). But, soon I hope, I will get to visit Japan and soak up some of the culture.

  4. luKe says:

    I look forward to that post of yours and send my apologies for the typo.

    • You shouldn’t have mentioned it … I didn’t notice. Am used to seeing English being twisted around, I guess.
      I just hope I can do the topic some justice.

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