Chocolate making is coming back to York city centre.
Sophie Jewett, who has made such a success of York Cocoa House, is about to open a chocolate production centre on Castlegate.
And from today (Friday, July 28) you can be a part of it. The brand new York Cocoa Works has launched a crowd investing scheme on CrowdCube here.
There’s also an open day at the new cocoa works next week. More details in the panel.
Castlegate is the perfect spot for York Cocoa Works.
Not only is it next door to the Quaker Meeting House – and so much of York’s chocolate heritage is bound up with Quaker families – it is also where Henry Isaac Rowntree undertook his apprenticeship and learned how to make cocoa.
Sophie showed us around the building that will soon become York Cocoa Works.
Sophie started York Cocoa House in 2011, and began her quest to bring chocolate making back to the city three years ago.
Since then, “we’ve been working to learn as much as we can about chocolate making, manufacturing, cocoa and so much more,” she said.
With the £750,000 production facility in the 3,000 sq ft Castlegate premises that was once a Job Centre Plus, that work is about to pay off.
York Cocoa Works will be a chocolate production, chocolate academy and chocolate development centre. The move will create 15 jobs.
Sourcing the raw materials direct from the cacao producers in countries including Colombia, the factory will use bespoke manufacturing equipment to make York chocolate.
Work to fit out the new production centre should start in September, with the first chocolate due to be made in the New Year.
It will be the first time York city centre has had a plant roasting and grinding cocoa beans since the closure of Craven’s Ebor Confectionery works in Coppergate in the Sixties.
Discover more – and invest
Sophie said: “We want to create a community facility in the heart of York where we can demonstrate to visitors how our chocolate is created, from the raw cocoa ingredients to our finished products.
10 Castlegate, York YO1 9RP
Tue Aug 8 @ 10am-7pm
“The centre will provide an environment in which we can showcase our chocolate making skills to new generations of chocolate makers who share our passion for chocolate and its York heritage.”
You can find out more about the new cocoa works by having a look around it yourself.
There’s an open day at 10 Castlegate on Tuesday, August 8 and everyone is welcome. Meanwhile you can pitch in with anything from £10 upwards in the crowd investing page.
This is attempting to raise £250K, and more than £80K has already been raised, with “one lovely customer” putting in £20,000.
Investors can be part of the tasting and development panel, and pitch in with ideas and recipes.
“I’m really excited. I’m just really pleased to share it with people,” Sophie said.
“We started saying what we wanted to do three years ago. It’s been a very exciting, and very challenging, time since then.
“There’s been so much to learn. But so many people have come forward and shared their stories and expertise, it’s been phenomenal.
“Now we can’t wait to share that with other people.”