Unwrapping the Chocolate City

October 1st, 2013
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Time passes, the weather is getting colder, the sky greyer but fortunately Christmas is (just) around the corner making all of us look forward to buying the first Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, those seductive little chocolaty things, that are thoroughly wrapped and then tapped severely on a hard surface in order to fall into 20 delicious chocolate segments. You then have to make your decision, either you are going to eat the whole “orange” before anyone else notices or you share it generously with your family, either way celebrating the tradition that Terry’s confectionery has given to us.

It was recently discovered, however, that the Chocolate Orange did not always use to be an orange but a chocolate apple. The oranges replaced the apples in 1954, after 28 years of selling Terry’s Chocolate Apples successfully. Oranges were considered more exotic and precious; generally, chocolate was a luxury good, something, that not everyone was able to afford.  Indeed, Terry’s Chocolate Apple was called “Dessert Chocolate Apple” and it is said that it was served at the tables of wealthy families. This moreover emphasises the great difference between today’s and the former approach to chocolate, showing the importance of researching York’s Chocolate history to get insights into the conventions of the past.

As part of the York Food and Drink Festival, a joint project between Borthwick Institute for Archives, York Cocoa House and Mansion House, offered anyone interested the chance to visit the exhibition “Unwrapping the Chocolate City – Re-imagining the Chocolate Apple”.

Apart from Mansion House having close links to Terry’s, visitors participated in an interactive exhibition, being demanded to find the original recipe of the Chocolate Apples or delve in originally rebuilt advertising brochures. Additionally, a period table was displayed and vintage packaging and materials made it possible to get lost in this long-forgotten part of York’s chocolate history. We were also encouraged to taste different sorts of chocolate, involving white, milk and dark chocolate flavoured with apple as well as ordinary dark chocolate. Interestingly, the Chocolate Apple did not have any particular flavour other than chocolate, whilst the Chocolate Orange is flavoured with orange oil, as the name makes assume.

Sophie Jewett, proprietor of York Cocoa House, later on demonstrated how the chocolate apple was actually made, showing us silicon forms and giving us an introduction into how to melt chocolate appropriately. We were then allowed to create our own chocolate bars, inspired by Terry’s use of oils to flavour his and our chocolate.

We are happy to hear about this most interesting secret to be unveiled and are looking forward to hearing the latest news about our chocolate city!





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