I think if I had to choose between sweet or savoury foods, I’d go with savoury every time; give me garlic bread, crisps and some sausage rolls and I’ll be the first to bite your hand off at the beige goodness.
However, I do have a particular penchant for chocolate, especially if it’s orange flavoured. So when the lovely team at York’s Chocolate Story invited me along to experience their York attraction, I couldn’t wait to see what it was all about.
Despite the attraction being open for a number of years now, I’d never actually paid it a visit, until last Friday when Matt and I both had the day off work and we decided to pop down and take a tour. Here’s what you can expect from York’s Chocolate Story.
The tour begins with an elevator ride up to the second floor where you’re joined by around 20 other people and your dedicated tour guide. Our tour guide was called Nick and he was so unbelievably knowledgeable about everything chocolate related, you’d be hard pressed to find something he didn’t know!
I really don’t want to give too much away about the contents of the tour but the first room that you’re taken to is all about where York’s chocolate story actually began; with the Rowntree family.
We were also able to sample a number of chocolates that were recreated just how they would have been back at the beginning of York’s chocolate journey (I have to be honest, they weren’t my favourite). There was also some drinking cocoa that we were able to try but it was cold, lumpy and honestly, not very nice at all! It was so interesting to see how chocolate was originally consumed, though.
We were then taken to another room where we discovered all about where the cocoa beans originated from, how chocolate first came into fruition and who brought it over to England where it was then relocated to York. It was incredible to hear all about how popular chocolate is all over the world; Japan has the largest market for KitKats and they produce over 200 flavours including hot dog, sushi and squid ink – can you even imagine?!
After learning more about York’s involvement in the history of chocolate and how the Rowntree family played a huge part in reforming the social aspects of York, we were then led downstairs to the chocolate making floor.
Naturally, I was most excited for this part of the tour as it meant we got to try out even more chocolate and even have a go at making our own!
We all gathered around the ‘tasting wheel’ where Nick explained the different properties of chocolate and exactly how it is made, all the way from collecting the cocoa beans to combining the different flavours to produce the many chocolate bars we all know and love today.
Another round of chocolate samples were passed around the group and we were shown how to bring the flavours of the chocolate to life and I couldn’t believe it; it was so awesome to feel the flavours come to life in my mouth!
At this point our tour guide left us to explore the floor on our own and we read all the various anecdotes and stories dotted around. There were some interactive devices where you could learn more about specific types of chocolate including KitKat, Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles plus so many more!
After a little browse around, we were taken to the chocolate making station where we were introduced to Daniel and Alfie who assisted in helping us to make our own chocolate lollies. We were able to decorate them however we wished and of course, take them home and indulge in our delicious creations!
The final stop of our tour involved watching Sam create some chocolate ganaches which were infused with lychee; it was so cool to watch him make them, pour them into moulds and then see them form into the typical ganache shape!
Once the tour had concluded, Matt and I headed downstairs to the cafe where we indulged in the York’s Chocolate Story award-winning orange hot chocolate. It was clear to see why it had won awards; it was one of the best orange hot chocolates I’ve ever tasted!
Our time at York’s Chocolate Story was so much fun and so interesting to learn about how York played such a huge role in the chocolate industry; something which makes me incredibly proud to live in this wonderful, vibrant city!
Thank you ever so much to the team at York’s Chocolate Story for hosting us for the afternoon and providing us with a detailed insight into the history of York’s confectionery industry!
Have you ever been to York’s Chocolate Story? If you ever go, make sure you let me know in the comments or on Twitter @imjustagirl_16.