CITY GUIDE >Highlights
A chocolate theme park?
By Qin Zhongwei (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-09-17 11:17

It may sound too good to be true, but a Willy Wonka-style chocolate theme park is about to open in Beijing.

The world chocolate dream park will feature exhibitions with imitation Ming Dynasty porcelain cups made entirely of the sweet stuff, and life-size Terracotta Warriors that are good enough to eat.

It will open in the Olympic Green near the Bird's Nest on Jan 29, adding another sweet layer to the famous Olympic Games venue.

Tina Cheng, general manager of Beijing-based Artsource Planning Co Ltd, which will operate the park, said visitors will be offered a full chocolate experience and be able to see, touch, taste and smell the delicacy.

The park will contain five pavilions and two outdoor sites where chocolate-made objects will be on display, including chocolate versions of famous paintings and even the Great Wall.

A chocolate theme park?

Master chocolatiers will run chocolate making courses and sweet tooths will be able to make purchases to take home.

"Our 'chocolate wonderland' will be beyond the imagination," Cheng told Metro.

Plans for the theme park are sure to evoke memories of the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, based on the book by Roald Dahl.

In the film, Charlie is introduced to Willy Wonka's workshop where there were edible flowers and a chocolate river.

Su Yan, from the Olympic Park Organizing Committee, said between 10,000 and 20,000 visitors are expected to visit the theme park every day.

Cheng said there is a growing fascination with chocolate among young Chinese and this was one of the reasons she wanted to open the park.

"None of my friends, including myself, could resist the temptation of chocolate," Cheng said.

She said a number of prestigious chocolate makers from Europe, including Belgium, Switzerland and Italy wanted to join the project, but she declined to reveal their names or any details yet.

"There is the potential for a huge market in China in regards to chocolate consumption," she said.

"That's why many overseas chocolate producers are vying to joining our project."