Many of us would travel for a meal at a famous restaurant, or plan a trip to a renowned wine region.

But when you’re not filling your mouth, you can still fill your brain with gastronomic knowledge, culture, and history. Here are ten international food and drink museums well worth their salt.

Chocolate Museum Cologne 


Location: Cologne, German

This futuristic building on the banks of the Rhine offers tastings (optional boozy pairing include beer, tequila, wine, and rum), fancy courses for adults and children, a close-up look at Lindt production, and three floors covering the history and production of chocolate. And, because it’s in Germany, the museum doesn’t just have a chocolate-centric cafe, it also operates a beer garden from April through October. (Photo: Chocolate Museum Cologne)

Shinyokohama Ramen Museum

Photo: Kojach

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Less a traditional museum than a hyperspecific food court, this place gathers nine all-star soup noodle slingers representing different regional styles. Although it turns 20 this year, the setting is a recreation of 1958 Tokyo, the year instant ramen was invented—a box of the first instant noodles ever marketed are among the ramen-related items on display. (Photo: Kojach)

The Spam Museum

Location: Austin, MN

Canned meat is one of the abominable wonders of modern life, and you can find out how the famous tinned pork product is made and distributed at this self-proclaimed “Guggenham.” Check out 16,500 square feet of meaty artifacts including vintage Spam ads, trivia, a Monty Python tribute, and a gift shop full of awesomely kitschy collectables like earrings and iPhone cases(Photo: Spam/Facebook)

The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum

Location: Leavenworth, WA

Former ballet teacher Arlene Wagner’s personal collection numbers more than 6,000 pieces spread over 3,000 square feet, proving there’s more than one way to crack a nut (direct pressure, indirect pressure, percussion, and screw, if you want to get technical). The emphasis here is on antiques; there’s a bronze artifact from the Roman Empire as well as a huge assemblage of the wooden toy type popularized in the Tchaikovsky-scored ballet. (Photo: Nutcracker Museum)

The German Bratwurst Museum

Location: Holzhausen, Germany

Sausage production is a serious business in the central German state of Thuringia, to the extent that production was already being regulated in 1432. This veritable theme park covers the history and socio-cultural importance of bratwurst, and includes a sculpture park, spice garden, cinema, theater, and oddly, a statue of a golden sow. It also hosts an annual song contest dedicated to praising the much revered tube steaks. (Photo: Bratwurst Museum)

Southern Food and Beverage Museum

Location: New Orleans, LA

Exhibits at SoFAB cover the region’s food culture, from crops and cuisines to industries and people. Currently closed while it changes locations, it’s set to reopen in September with a state-by-state breakdown of recipes, agriculture, history, and foodways—plus a library of 11,000 cookbooks. (Photo: The Times-Picayune/SoFAB) 

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Location: Wieliczka, Poland

This particular rock salt deposit has been mined for seven centuries, and the resulting infrastructure is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Parts of the 180 miles of eerie subterranean tunnels and chambers have been opened to the public—including the Kraków Saltworks Museum on the mine’s third level, an underground salt lake, a sanatorium and spa, and a chapel carved entirely out of salt. (Photo: Wieliczka Salt Mine)

The Alimentarium

Location: Vevey, Switzerland
This Nestle-backed institution overlooks Lake Geneva, and it has staked a giant fork in its waters like a flag on the moon. The multidisciplinary museum aims to explore all aspects of food and nutrition through exhibits on purchasing, cooking, eating, and digesting. It also boasts cooking demos and classes, an online magazine, and an onsite restaurant with a monthly changing theme like Flavours From Iran and Game For Some Game?. (Photo: The Alimentarium)

Harland Sanders Museum and Café

Location: Corbin, KY
This tiny tribute museum doesn’t look like much, but it’s a living piece of fast food history. It was the site of the Colonel’s first restaurant, and therefore the spawning ground for 18,000 KFC outlets in 115 countries. You can view the original kitchen where those 11 herbs and spices were first combined, as well as rooms replicated to look as they did in the 1930s and 40s when the Colonel operated the combo restaurant, motel and service station. When you’re done looking, order some chicken—it’s still a working KFC. (Photo: Denard H./Yelp)

Look forward to…MoFAD

Location: New York, NY

The Museum of Food and Drink will open in 2019—if it can raise the $25 million it needs. But with big name backers and advisors like Mario Batali, Questlove, Dominique Ansel, Anita Lo, David Chang, Wylie Dufresne, Amanda Cohen, and more, it might very well get there. For now, MoFAD hosts smartypants discussions on issues like GMO and New York’s Big Soda Ban, and tours a traveling exhibit featuring a working 3,200-pound cereal puffing gun. (Photo: MoFAD)