York celebrates National Chocolate Week

October 14th, 2013
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This week is National Chocolate Week and with York’s unrivaled 150 years of chocolate history there is plenty of chocolate indulgence over the next seven days.

Here’s our top picks from the week’s events, exhibitions and activities…



Chocolate favourites that have long been in ‘sweetie heaven’ will be brought back to life exclusively for Chocolate Week in York.
Take your taste buds on a trip down memory lane at York’s CHOCOLATE Story as chocolatiers re-create some of the nation’s favourite flavours. Long lost retro sweets such as 80s favourite, Texan Bar, the mint fondant centred Pyramint with its distinct pyramid shape, chewy Toffos and Quality Street’s coffee cream have all provided inspiration for a unique tasting event at one of the city’s newest attractions throughout the week.



Researchers at the Borthwick Institute of Archives at York University, Kerstin Doble and Francesca Taylor, have found the original recipe for Terry’s Dessert Chocolate Apple. The famous recipe has remained hidden for more than 80 years. Terry’s Chocolate Apple predated the iconic Terry’s Chocolate Orange, which is still produced in the city today. The secret recipe has remained hidden since the chocolate apple was first produced in 1926 and will at last be unveiled in time for Chocolate Week. Chocolatiers at the visitor attraction, York’s CHOCOLATE Story, will use the recipe to inspire the long forgotten flavours exclusively for chocolate week. The Borthwick archives are one of the biggest repositories for archives outside of London, and include the archives of Rowntrees and Terry’s, the famous York confectionery companies.



Researchers from the University of York’s Borthwick Archives are calling upon the public to help them solve a mystery – who are the women featured in a recently unveiled collection of 1950s portraits known as the Aero Girls? Originally commissioned by Rowntree for use in Aero chocolate advertising from 1951-1957, the figurative paintings are called Anna, Alice, Wendy, The Country Girl, The Art Student – but are these fictitious characters or real women?

To help unravel the Aero Girls mystery and unearth new information about these little-known paintings, the researchers are holding an exhibition at York’s Mansion House during Chocolate Week.



Nearly 200 actors and community volunteers from three of region’s most dynamic theatre companies, Pilot Theatre, Slung Low and York Theatre Royal, are staging an epic journey through the streets of York as they present an ambitious and visually exciting promenade theatre production, Blood & Chocolate (3-20 October). The production tells the inspiring stories of workers and owners of York’s chocolate factories during the First World War alongside those of the young men involved in the conflict. Bringing the war-time chocolate history of York alive, audiences will follow the story through the city’s streets as well as listen in via headphones to the characters’ intimate conversations.



Take a tour and see behind the scenes at the family home of Noel Goddard Terry, of York’s famous Terry’s of York chocolate firm.



Learn to taste the sweet stuff like a professional, watch chocolatiers at work in captivating chocolate-making demonstrations, taste some of their delicious creations and explore how chocolate is made from bean to bar. Tours and tastings throughout chocolate week at the city’s visitor attractions and chocolate shops. For example, join the Curator of History and one of the York Castle Museum’s costumed interpreters for a guided tour featuring the origins of chocolate in York. This is followed by a visit to some of York’s many chocolate shops (17 October). York’s CHOCOLATE Story will host a Choctail Masterclass on 18 October.



If you haven’t seen it already, now would be the perfect time to watch One&Other TV’s short film about Joe Dickinson, who worked at Rowntrees for forty years and has since transformed his home in a museum of the company’s memorabilia. It’s a remarkable story.


  • Alex Hutchinson

    Eh hem… Only 150 years? Records show that Tuke & sons (who sold up to Rowntree’s 150 years ago last year) were selling cocoa as early as 1785. We’re even more chocolatey than you thought!

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