England’s World Cup campaign may have been a bit of a disappointment this year, but at least York’s CHOCOLATE Story has brought the trophy home! To celebrate the final of the competition and Germany’s success this weekend, our chocolatiers created a life-sized solid chocolate sculpture of the trophy, which we donated to York City Football Club.

The expert chocolatiers at York’s CHOCOLATE Story created the Cup using real Belgian modelling chocolate, decorated with edible gold lustre. We’re sure you’ll agree that the stunningly realistic results have made three whole days invested by our chocolatiers in perfecting the intricacies of the Cup wholly worthwhile. The replica, which weighs approximately 5kg, is completely edible!

We awarded the trophy to York City’s first team on Friday morning, meaning that although Roy Hodgson’s men may have crashed out of the competition at the group stages, an English team has had the opportunity to lift the trophy. And after all, who wants gold when you can have chocolate?

At the Club’s first pre-season fixture against Sheffield Wednesday this Saturday (12th July), the sculpture was awarded to Charlotte Frary and her son during the half-time 50/50 cash draw. All profits from the draw are invested in the club so fans can be assured that their efforts are benefitting the team and – fingers crossed – help their drive for promotion next season.DSC01024

As shown by the yards of bunting and yellow bikes adorning the city, there is great excitement in York about the coming of the Tour de France. Here at York’s CHOCOLATE Story, we’re no different!

Our master chocolatiers have created some exquisite cycling-themed chocolates to celebrate Le Grand Départ. Inspired by the cyclists’ jerseys, our ‘Le Choc’ collection includes ‘le caramel’, ‘biscuit crunch’ and ‘ganache au citron’. In celebration of the British twist to the 2014 Tour, we also have a white chocolate creation sporting a Union Jack design. Just like the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the iconic sporting event in Yorkshire, our hand-crafted chocolates are limited edition so head to York’s CHOCOLATE Story to catch them before they’re gone. We would like to say the chocolates offer a perfect memento to commemorate the occasion, but they’re so delicious we doubt they will last very long…

If you’re visiting York to catch the race, be sure to make us your first choice refreshment station. We have a wide variety of beverages, all available to take out, whether you opt for a creamy milkshake in flavours including rocky road and caramel honeycomb, an indulgent hot chocolate – made using only the finest hot chocolate – or simply a ‘pick me up’ coffee to keep you revitalised during the wait.

We are all crossing our fingers and toes for good weather for the race, but if the clouds open, in true Yorkshire style, a visit to York’s CHOCOLATE Story provides an ideal alternative to a drenching. Join us this weekend to celebrate York’s chocolate tradition!York's CHOCOLATE Story Le Chocs (6)

WW1: A Taste of Home

Don’t miss our brand new fascinating exhibition commemorating the centenary of World War 1. Showcasing previously unseen artefacts and letters, which provide a fascinating and unique perspective on the conflict, the exhibition will run throughout 2014.

Throughout history cocoa has proved a valuable resource in times of war, dating back to the warrior Aztecs who drank bitter cocoa to gain strength and energy. Our ground-breaking exhibition tells an uplifting story from the Great War through a series of artefacts, exhibits and footage. Explore how the gift of chocolate helped to keep wartime spirits high – both at home and on the frontline. You can also investigate how the city’s famous Quaker chocolate companies offered their support to the war effort and how chocolate manufacturing changed forever after 1918.

Enjoy a taste of the exhibition with an extract from a touching letter from soldier Gunner Henry Bailey from Holgate, York, 11 January 1915, below:

“I feel that I ought to send my very best thanks for the nice box of chocolate I received so unexpectedly […] I am proud to be able to say that I am a York lad and am looking forward to a speedy termination of this Cruel War. I shall prize the box as long as God spares me.”

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What’s on for 2014

We’ve got a fantastic range of family activities to be enjoyed this year, here at York’s CHOCOLATE Story; from educational and enthralling exhibitions, to creating your own chocolate. Get acquainted with York’s chocolate heritage, learn about the important role of chocolate throughout the Great War, and get spooked this Halloween…if you dare!

A taste of what’s to come in 2014…

WW1: A Taste of Home exhibition

Monday 12 May – Wednesday 31 December

A new exhibition commemorating the centenary of World War I will showcase previously unseen artefacts and letters, providing a fascinating and unique perspective on the conflict. Explore how the gift of chocolate helped to keep wartime spirits high, both at home and on the frontline.

Through a series of artefacts, exhibits and footage, the ground-breaking exhibition tells an uplifting story from the Great War. Discover how the city’s famous Quaker chocolate companies offered their support to the war effort and how chocolate manufacturing changed forever after 1918.

Summer Holidays: Chocolate Summer Sensation

Saturday 19 July – Sunday 31 August

There’s a whole host of special summer events here at York’s CHOCOLATE Story this year, including themed trails, chocolate making and seasonal surprises. It’s the place to be for family fun with an educational twist. Get creative and make your own chocolate treat to take home, discover York’s chocolate past and learn how to taste chocolate like an expert.

Chocolate and the People of York exhibition

Monday 15 September – Thursday 23October

A new exhibition will look into the lives and stories of the characters who created York’s chocolate legacy and those who keep it alive today. Uncover the stories of world famous confectioners who created York’s chocolate heritage, including Joseph Rowntree, Sir Joseph Terry and Mary Craven. Plus, find out more about those who keep York’s chocolate industry thriving in the modern city.

Halloween: Shock-olate

Saturday 25 October – Sunday 2 November

Join us at York’s CHOCOLATE Story and test your nerve this Halloween by taking part in the tastiest trick or treat challenge ever. We will be holding spook-tacular SHOCK-olate tasting sessions. Test your luck and spin the specially created ‘wheel of fortune’ to receive either a delightfully tasty treat or a revolting rotten trick chocolate!

See you here!

Father’s go FREE this Father’s Day

York’s CHOCOLATE Story has got the perfect Father’s Day treat for Dads this year! We’re celebrating with free entry for all fathers*. We’ll be hosting an extra special ‘retro revival’ day, as our expert chocolatiers recreate some of Dad’s favourite sweet treats from days-gone-by, for one day only. Join us and watch our impressive team of chocolatiers in action as they recreate vintage favourites no longer on the shelves, including the beloved coffee creams from Quality Street and Pyramints. You can even get involved and create your own chocolate bar to take home – sharing optional!

*Free entry will be provided to all Fathers when accompanied by their son or daughter. Available on walk up tickets only.

Virtual Chocolate Factory

The Smart Decision

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Smarties topped our exciting sweetie poll this summer as the public’s favourite York sweetie. Originally introduced by Rowntree’s of York in 1882 as “Chocolate Beans” and rebranded as “Smarties” in 1937 – the sweets have been a popular favourite for over a century and are now sold across the globe. Second place in the poll –  Fruit Pastilles, are again steeped in York heritage and Nestlé Rowntree’s oldest product, launched 132 years ago in 1881.

 

In fact, both sweets that top the poll were created by Frenchman August Claude Gadget, who was hired by Rowntree’s in 1879 to create a new range of sweets for the York company. Using experience of popular confectionery from the continent, Gadget developed Rowntree’s Pastilles and Rowntree’s Clear Gums. These later became Fruit Pastilles and Fruit Gums and fast became popular favourites with the public, helping to turn around the fortunes of the company, which was struggling at the time. Gadget continued his success developing Smarties shortly after. Third place Jelly Tots are one of the newest sweets in the poll, launched in 1967, and are a popular with children of all ages.

 

Check out some of our top sweetie facts!

  • The music for the famous “Smartie people” advert was composed by Mike Batt, who later composed the Wombles theme tune.
  • The first Smarties TV ad was shown in 1956 with the slogan “Sweetest, treatest, best to eatest, made by Rowntree.”
  • Polos were first created in York in 1948, having had the launch postponed because of World War II.

Sweet success for Smarties

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York is a city built on the confectionery industry, with many of the world’s most iconic sweetie brands having been created within the city’s walls. As you may have seen, this summer we set ourselves the tough task of uncovering the public’s favourite sweet to have come out of York.

After a closely fought competition, we can now reveal Smarties as the winner and the public’s favourite York sweetie. The colourful treat came out top in the survey which took in the opinions of over 5,000 people. In a close run competition, Smarties just edged victory with 21% of the vote followed by Fruit Pastilles on 18% and Jelly Tots in third at 16%.

The survey, which took place across a two-month period at the attraction and online, formed part of celebrations of the 120th anniversary of Fruit Gums and the 50th anniversary of Tootty Frooties, both of which were created in the city of York. People were asked to vote for their favourite sweet out of the many famous brands that have come out of the city, including; Fruit Pastilles, Fruit Gums, Jelly Tots, Smarties, Tooty Frooties, Polos and Rowntree’s Randoms.   

Minted!

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This week we’d like to spend some time contemplating the fascinating subject of that delicious aromatic herb – mint! Native to Europe, Asia and Africa, if you were to poll everyone across the world, you would struggle to find a scent or taste as well-known as mint.

Mint was brought to Britain by the Romans and has been used for a wide range of purposes for millennia. Early uses of the herb include a Greek air-freshener used at banquets, a medieval tooth whitener and even a wreath worn by Roman students in order to stimulate and exhilarate their minds! However, the most ubiquitous use of mint today is arguably as flavouring in many popular confectionery products.

POLO is still Britain’s best-selling mint brand with approximately 20 million mints produced every day and more than 150 POLOs eaten every second. The famous mint with the hole was created in York at the Rowntree’s factory and was due for launch in 1939, but delayed by the onset of WWII. Finally launched in 1948, POLOs have been a firm favourite ever since – with children, adults and we are reliably informed – horses!

POLO is just one of the great many British confectionery brands to come out of York that have really stood the test of time. Still made here today, if all the POLO presses at Nestlé’s York factory were running at optimum speed, they could produce an incredible 32,400 POLOs a minute!

This Father’s Day weekend (15 – 16 June) York’s CHOCOLATE Story is celebrating the POLO mint’s 65th anniversary. Visitors to the attraction will be able to uncover the history behind the world famous mint, as well as a wealth of fascinating and ‘holesome’ facts!

To find out more and book your ticket click here.

Shake it baby!

To whet your appetite in time for our upcoming Choctail Masterclass, as part of our Connoisseur Club programme of events, here’s a Classic Choctail recipe to get you started!

Choctail Masterclass

Choctail Masterclass

Classic Choctail Recipe

Ingredients:
35ml Dark chocolate liqueur
35ml Spiced rum
1 scoop vanilla ice cream

Method:
Melt down some dark chocolate and gently dip a martini glass into it to leave a rim. Charge
full of ice and set in the fridge for two minutes.
Add all the components into a blender and blend for 24 seconds.
Remove the glass from the fridge and discard the ice.
Transfer the ingredients into a Boston tin and single strain into the glass through a hawthorn
strainer.
Garnish with chocolate shavings and straws.

The Choctail Masterclass Connoisseur Club event will take place from 7pm on Tuesday 4th June. Tickets are £10 each. To book your place please call 0845 498 9411.

Find out more  about York’s CHOCOLATE Story on our website.