I love chocolate. N is less fussed about it (well, he likes confectionery chocolate, but would choose other desserts or ice creams rather than chocolate). But when in York, a visit to York’s Chocolate Story in the middle of the city should be on the list of places to visit.
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We headed there straight after an early visit to York Minster. I’m all for getting to places before they get busy. York’s Chocolate Story looks just like a chocolate tea room and shop from the outside, but the attraction goes upwards. When we arrived, we were able to book tickets for the next tour and only had 15 minutes to wait. There’s a few seats, and old fashioned history displays to enjoy and watch to find out more about York’s chocolate history.
When you enter, you take a lift up to floor 2 to start the tour. We had about 16 people in our group, with both families and couples. You’re not allowed to take photos on the main 2 floors, even of the shop fronts at the start. You meet your tour guide who stays with you the whole journey round, and ours was very good at getting people to interact and try the different tastes.
York’s Chocolate Story introduces you to the innovators and grocers who started off the various different chocolate and confectionery companies in York and the nearby area. As a former Cadbury employee I know a bit about the Bournville story, but nothing about Joseph Rowntree, and the other main chocolate families – from Mary Tuke to the Craven’s and Terry’s. So it was really interesting to find out about northern chocolate makers. Throughout the tour, you get to taste different
You start at the beginning of chocolate, in Mexico when you get to taste the spicy cocoa drink that started the production of chocolate. It’s pretty vile and not everyone dares to taste it. As you go through time and through the different rooms, there are chocolates to try, whether historical recipes or modern classics.
The families of York’s chocolate history talk through videos – it’s done really well, and N didn’t moan he was bored once which is pretty amazing.
Once you get down to the factory floor the interactivity increases and you learn how the chocolate is made. The children in the group got to mix, pour and temper the chocolate on the touch displays. We learnt how to smell and taste chocolate. Then it was on to the chocolate making.
As we visited in the Easter holidays, we got to make Easter bunny chocolate lollies. Or really, to decorate them with toppings of our choice. They let them set while we move to the final display where we watch a chocolatier show how filled chocolates are made using a mould and then adding the filling and sealing. It’s very cleverly done with a lot of ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’ to keep it all rotating around so every tour sees every stage.
You can end the tour in the café and buy chocolate if you still want any more.
The attraction lasts around an hour. It’s not that cheap at just over £23 for 1 adult and child, but it’s worth a look if you’re a bit of a chocoholic and want to find out more about the families of York in the chocolate industry.
Have you ever been to a similar food based museum or tour?
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