The city centre streets will be filled with the delicious smell of chocolate this weekend as York Chocolate Festival opens its doors.
The festival – which runs from Friday, April 18 to Monday, April 21 – has established itself as a welcome addition to York’s venerable confectionery and chocolate industry. Back in 1781 the city boasted eight confectioners for its 17,000 inhabitants.
Thousands have worked for the sweet dynasties of Rowntree’s, Terry’s and Craven’s, and even today Nestlé York still produces six million KitKats a day.
Plenty to celebrate then – so what’s on at this year’s festival? Every sweet treat is listed in our What’s On guide. And here are a few highlights.
The sweet city
The Chocolate Market on Parliament Street houses a variety of chocolate-related stalls from hand-made designer chocolate shoes, chocolate vodka, fudge, truffles and many more mouth-watering (and cavity-creating) products. Open Friday – Monday, 10am – 5.30pm.
Also on Parliament Street, the Little Chocolate Factory provides the opportunity to create your own chocolate Easter Egg along with the chocolate team fromYork Cocoa House. This is available for the duration of the festival, 11am – 4.30pm.
Chocolate Information and Demonstration Centre, St Sampson’s Square
This is the hub of the festival, offering a wide range of child-friendly and informative chocolate demonstrations and workshops.
Take up the Smartie Challenge – put your dexterity to the test and attempt to smash the world record for the fastest time to sort 30 coloured Smarties using only chopsticks.
The current Guinness World Record stands at an incredible 31.5 seconds and is held by Yinger Guan of China.
The attraction in King’s Square is an entertaining and informative guided tour through York’s most famous chocolate-making families and their finest creations.
Visit York’s Chocolate Story and begin to discover the important role which York has played in how we enjoy chocolate in the UK today.
Open throughout the festival it is £7.95 – £9.95 per person or £29.50 for a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children), 10am – 6.30pm (last tour 5pm).
Enjoy an afternoon chocolate cream tea at the Dean Court Hotel in the company of the Rowntree factory “Sweethearts”.
Hear about their lives and the unique era, during which they produced the city’s iconic brands of chocolates and sweets. Monday April 21, from 2.30pm.
Join the Lord Mayor in this festive city-wide Easter Egg Hunt, starting at the Mansion House Saturday April 19, 10am – 1pm.
Experience an Easter with a twist this spring with the Castle Museum, so bring the whole family along to discover what Easter traditions still exist today – and perhaps find a certain cottontail bunny to help you along the way. Running until Monday April 21, from 10am – 4pm.
The new food trend for 2014 is chocolate and cheese. Seriously.
Some of York’s chocolate lovers have been combining chocolate with surprising flavours for a long time.
They might not be quite as crazy at you think when you consider that chocolate (or cocoa) is not naturally sweet or creamy at all.
Make sure you try something different this year and sample a chocolate cheese or indulge in a special menu with the chefs at Meltons Too.
It has a full on chocolate menu from Friday, April 18 until Monday, April 21 (non-chocolate alternatives are available).