I recently met up with three of my friends from university (we all went to St John’s in York) for a reunion/big birthday celebration. We started the day with lunch at The Star in the City, before heading over to The York Cocoa Works to try a couple of their chocolate workshops.
We started out with a Manufactory Tasting Journey, followed by Chocolate Bar Making. You can book either of these sessions separately and don’t need to do both at the same time but they complemented each other well.
Incidentally the Manufactory Tasting Tour is included in the York Pass, so if you are considering buying one then this may help sway you.
Our tour guide on the Manufactory Tasting Journey (lovely lad, friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable – with the patience of a saint to put up with us) took us outside the building where we could look into large windows of the Manufactory itself. Here we were told about the origins of the cocoa beans and how they began to be processed. We could see a member of staff stood separating the beans manually (it put me in mind of the squirrels checking for bad nuts in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!).
From there, we saw the other processes from separating the cocoa nibs from the beans to roasting them, and all the processes of making chocolate.
The tour continued inside at a table where we were invited to try and assess different chocolates. The chocolates varied depending on origin of the cocoa beans and percentage of cocoa beans to other ingredients (like milk and sugar).
We were encouraged to ask questions throughout the tour and it was both educational and entertaining.
Chocolate Bar Making Experience
After the Manufactory Tour we then moved into another room for our Chocolate Bar Making Experience. Again, the class leader was friendly and encouraging.
If you have kids then this is a good one for them. Tables were set out with chairs and an apron each.
There was also a platter of white, milk and dark chocolate per table.
We were advised how to use all our senses to to smell, listen, feel and taste the different types of chocolate.
After this process we were allowed to choose what type of chocolate we would make our bars from. I planned to take mine home for the kids so went for the white chocolate. We were each given a huge bowl of chocolate, that we melted with (yes!) hairdryers.
Once melted we could add a drop of flavouring (I chose raspberry).
Then the chocolate was poured into a mold, and we were given pretty things to decorate it with.
Ending with a finished product like this!
You will need to allow 15 minutes or so at the end of the session for your chocolate to set, but there is a lovely shop area to wander round as well as a café selling hot drinks such as an indulgent hot chocolate!
I’d recommend the Manufactory Tour for adults and the Chocolate Bar Making for adults or adults with kids.
We were invited to visit and try out the workshops – as always, all opinions expressed are my own.