Whether you are a teenager or a pensioner, York’s Chocolate Story is a must visit for every chocolate lover!
York is the home of chocolate in the UK and glory and tales over the years are brought to life very elegantly in the heart of the historic city by York’s Chocolate Story! Ever since the first cocoa beans flowed down the River Ouse in the 18th century, York has built itself on the sweet confectionery.
This story is recited in a much exciting way with interesting facts by an interactive tour at the Chocolate Story which takes you back to the very origins of chocolate in the Aztec Empire, through the growth of the chocolate industry with Rowntree’s and Terry’s in the city. The tour finishes with a demo of chocolate making by trained chocolatiers. And best of all, you get to make your own chocolate lolly and get free giveaways to taste throughout the tour! In the run up to Christmas you can also book chocolate making classes with Santa!
York’s Chocolate Story Guided Tour
After having our tickets checked and taking a lift up to the top floor, we step out into a 19th century street and are met by our guide for the tour, who hands us our first goodie bag of chocolates!
The tour starts with a round of “name your favourite chocolate” (just don’t mention Cadbury’s! ), before we enter a room which resembles the Amazon rainforest and take a seat on a wooden log in front of a huge cinema screen!
Once everyone is settled, we’re transported back to the Aztec Empire and learn about the history of the cocoa beans… thought to be a gift from the God’s, valued higher than gold, and the cause of wars between rival tribes. The Emperor Moctezuma was said to drink over 50 cups of cocoa a day (that’s a serious hot chocolate addiction!) Here’s a short teaser of the movie…
Once the short movie is finished, we move into the next room and this time we’re transported to 19th century England, entering a plush living room with a chandelier and gold framed paintings on the walls. Only, hold on, they aren’t paintings… they’re alive!
The paintings come to life and start to talk to us… the families of Craven, Rowntree and Terry, telling their story of how they set up their factories and made their names selling the sweets they became so famous for.
In the opening game of ‘name your favourite chocolate’, Paul’s answer was Terry’s chocolate orange, so he’s fascinated to discover that orange was not the original flavour… a Chocolate Apple was the first to be made, and other flavours include a Chocolate Lemon and a Chocolate Raspberry, the Raspberry still being available to buy in Canada (can any of our Canadian members confirm this??)
The Rowntree history is next and we find out that Smarties were developed from an earlier sweet called Rowntree Rabbit Droppings (I can see why that name didn’t catch on!), the American’s copied Smarties to come up with M&M’s, and just how popular Kit-Kats are!
Over 4 million Kit-Kats are still made every day in York, with Japan being the biggest eaters of them.. did you know they have more than 200 different flavours! And as you might expect, some of these are pretty unique… cheesecake (yum), soy sauce (hmm), and sushi (yuk!)
The Chocolate Exhibition
The next part of the tour takes us downstairs, and as we start walking down, we’re hit by the sweet (and very strong) smell of chocolate drifting up from the floor below.
This floor is more of an exhibition room… we start with a demo of how the cocoa beans are converted into chocolate, with the guide asking for helpers to perform each step of the process. Mainly kids will be selected for the demo… but Sneha being such a big chocolate lover was probably more thrilled to be volunteering for the demo than the kids!
When the demo is over we wander around the Kit-Kat exhibition and we must say… we didn’t realise just how popular they are!
We learn that Kit-Kats are actually one of the most iconic chocolate bars in the world and a universally recognized symbol of York’s sweet ingenuity and pride! We explore Kit-Kats origins and see some of the different flavours on offer around the world, before we find out where the smell of chocolate is coming from…
Making our own chocolate!
After the interesting tour of fact finding… now it is time for the more fun part… yipppee… we get to make our own chocolate lollies!
We all take our place in a kitchen area around a big table… we are given our own lolly bags to write our names on it and are given a variety of ingredients like the crushed kit-kat wafers, chocolate flakes and butter crunches to top our lolly with.
Our guide explains the process and then pours the melted chocolate onto our plate and we are given the liberty to add all the sprinkles we want and the way we want! And then as the lollies dry, we’re treated to a chocolate making masterclass by a trained chocolatier (and of course we get to taste the result!) That’s definitely a good amount of chocolate for Paul to eat as he is not much of a sweet tooth… but Sneha definitely relished all the chocolates!
Unfortunately that’s the end of the tour, but it’s not the end of our chocolate adventure… we have the gift shop to explore yet!
The Gift Shop
And for a chocolate lover like Sneha the choices all look too good to choose between! After scouring the whole shop, she finally settles on the classic pick… Java Callets.
You can also get your very own Chocolate Story booklet from the shop that covers a lot more interesting facts and also offers a surprise deal on chocolates.
The hot chocolates made fresh in front of you look too good to resist too, so we get ourselves an Ecuador hot chocolate which is like a premium dark chocolate with some chilli to give it an extra kick… and it is absolutely delicious!!! Check out the video for the different flavour options available. And we must say… its definitely a perfect way to warm us up as we step outside on a cold day like today.
York’s Chocolate Story is a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours and have some fun with friends and family. The staff are very welcoming and friendly, and explain everything you want to know. So next time you’re in York, don’t miss the chance to add the Chocolate Story to your top things to see list! Here is the booking link… https://bookings.yorkschocolatestory.com/book
- A very enjoyable tour with fun facts on the history of chocolate making and the story of Kit-Kat
- Making your own Lolly the way you want
- Don't forget head to the Chocolate Story and to pick your fav hot chocolate anytime you are in York… its definitely a must try! The Ecuador hot chocolate with chilli was just amazing and we will surely go back to try the rest of the flavours.
How Long Does The Tour Last At York’s Chocolate Story?
The tour lasts for about 1 and a half hours. But don’t forget about the time you’ll spend in the gift shop too!
How much are tickets to York’s Chocolate Story?
Adults are £15, children £12.50. Or a family ticket (2 + 2) costs £50. Book your tour here… https://bookings.yorkschocolatestory.com/book
Where is York’s Chocolate Story?
In the city centre at 3-4 Kings Square, York YO1 7LD
What Makes York’s Chocolate Story So Special?
The friendliness of the staff… they were all great and very knowledgeable, making the whole experience a lot of fun as well as informative. Special thanks to our tour guide Jess and Sintija, who made us the best hot chocolate ever!
What Events are on at York’s Chocolate Story
1. Chocolate Making with Santa
2. Family Christmas Workshop
3. Christmas Chocolate Masterclass
There’s something to keep chocolate lovers of all ages happy this Christmas! Follow this link to find out more and make your booking before all available slots get filled… https://www.yorkschocolatestory.com/events/chocolate-covered-christmas/
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