REVIEW | York’s Chocolate Story
A Short and Sweet Taste of History
As a born and bred York lass, with a couple of summers spent hand packing Dairy Box chocolates into little plastic trays, you’d think I would know a thing or two about the city’s heritage in chocolate. Weirdly not. The only thing I can tell you is to never eat a shed load of orange creams in a sweaty hot factory when the air con has failed. It doesn’t do you any good.
So when the gorgeous Charlotte, Girl about York, was unable to visit York’s Chocolate Story, I jumped at the chance to go get an edible education about cocoa in the city.
It’s a while since Emily (now four) and I had spent some time alone, so a half-term trip into town whilst visiting my parents felt like the perfect excuse to have a little breather from the double-trouble baby chaos and have a few sweet treats together.
York’s Chocolate Story is located in Kings Square, smack bang in the middle of the city, so easy to add a trip into a day of shopping or seeing the sights. As you walk through the doors, the smell of chocolate hit our nostrils and had Emily jumping for joy knowing that sweet milky goodness was only moments away from her lips.
Our tongues were tested throughout the hour-long low-down on chocolate history. We sampled a cacao drink that mixed the bean with water and chilli (apparently drank by Aztec emperors when it was first discovered), through to roasted nibs before they are processed, pure chocolate (without any milk or sugar) through to your good old classic Quality Street. It’s safe to say you need to like the taste of chocolate to enjoy the full experience.
York’s Chocolate Story has perfectly captured the city’s history, relaying it in an engaging and educating way. Hands down my favourite part of the experience was the Harry Potter-style picture wall of all the famous York chocolatiers, who jumped to life and bicker with one another about who made the best chocolate. It was interesting to see the black and white photos going back in time, and how the different factories looked when they were first built.
The majority of the history went over Emily’s head, but with a little ad-libbing and a couple of chocolates dropped into her lap, it kept her engaged and happy. Although I was slightly peeved when I had to swop my perfectly good chocolate for the toffee penny she picked from the Quality Street jar.
Emily’s eyes lit up when we entered the interactive floor, which was full of things for her to get her hands on. With buttons and handles to explain how chocolate is made, it was ideal for the younger audience. The opportunity to decorate her own chocolate lolly clearly ticked all the boxes of a small child (and everyone else for that matter), dolloping on as many chocolate balls and buttons as she could. With it setting within two minutes, even the least patient person could probably endure the wait.
For a one-hour whirlwind tour, you get a lot of chocolate and stats (Did you know that three million KitKats are produced A DAY in York?!) that gives for an engaging and interesting insight into one of the many reasons that York is so unique.
Although I don’t think there is any need to book your trip too far in advance, you might not be able to rock up and go straight in, so it’s worth popping by earlier in the day to get your tickets sorted. In all honesty, Emily was a little young to make the most of it, but she really enjoyed getting the little sweet treats along the way and has talked fondly about it since.
So if you have a sweet-tooth definitely add this to your to-do list when you are next in York, or if you don’t fancy the full tour the café makes the most incredible looking hot chocolates and so would be worth a try if you are nearby.
Thanks York’s Chocolate Story – we had a blast!
First tour 10am, last tour 4pm
Adult ticket £12.95, child ticket (age 4-16) £10.50
York residents get a third-off on Sundays
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I’m a primary school teacher and I’m a mum to a beautiful, bright and bubbly six-year-old. I witness the ups and downs of wellbeing in children every day. Every parent faces the same dilemma – how to ensure the wellbeing of our children – particularly from a mental health perspective in a world that is more pressured than ever in more ways than one.
A year to the day and myself, my husband and our two children were midway through our 10th Wedding Anniversary trip of a lifetime to Sri Lanka and now this incredibly beautiful and captivating little country is in mourning.
Emma Stirk is a Business Success Coach and Legal strategist for small businesses, she left her corporate career as a high flying solicitor to set up her own business and has never looked back! Emma is passionate about empowering women to identify their purpose and goals, plan and strategise their next career or business move and create a positive, strong and confident mindset with high performance strategies to increase productivity and efficiency so you can work less, achieve more, and make burnout and overwhelm a thing of the past!
Jo Swann has 15 solid years of experience in Public Relations and runs award-winning Leeds-based PR Company – Chocolate PR after working in media, marketing and PR agencies. She has worked with companies of all sizes including the likes of Whistles, NSPCC, Marriot Hotels, Yo! Sushi to name just a few and won many awards along the way but her mission now is to help small businesses, and particularly female entrepreneurs harness the power of PR.