One is a new attraction in York, freshly unwrapped with a crackle of anticipation like a Quality Street soft centre. (But not the long yellow hard toffee one). The other is much longer in the sweet tooth.
Both Chocolate: York’s Sweet Story and Cadbury World in Birmingham look truly scrumptious. But which is better? Only one way to find out… by sending our family panel to try them both, scoff all they could and then compare notes.
They visited York’s Sweet Story on April 11 and Cadbury World on April 14, 2012.
Chocolate: York’s Sweet Story In a former shop on King’s Square
Cadbury World Next to the factory in Bourneville, Birmingham, this is much the bigger of the two
York Adults £10, senior citizens/students £9, children (aged 5-15 years) £8, under-fives free
Cadbury Adults £14.75, senior citizens/students £11.10, children (aged 4-15 years) £10.75, family (2 Adults + 2 Children) £45, under-fours free
Time spent at attraction
York 40 mins
Cadbury 2½ hours
York An odd way of doing things. We came into the entrance and were asked to wait a couple of metres away from the shop. A few minutes later we got inside and bought tickets, to be told that we were booked on a tour 40 minutes later. No real problem with this, but it might have been explained better.
Cadbury Luckily we’d pre-booked. We joined a queue to get onto our tour. Those who had turned up without tickets were waiting two to three hours for the next tour.
York A tour guide led us to a lift and into the first room. Here we learned how to taste chocolate with your ears! (Listen to the snap when you break a piece off). The next room was all about the origins of chocolate, with the Aztecs getting a good plug. We also tasted chocolatl, a version of the drink the Aztecs liked with supposedly hallucinatory qualities. It tasted like bitter water, or as one child put it “minging!” Moving on we were introduced to the founding fathers and mother of York confectionery, before trying interactive displays where you can stir virtual chocolate on a table console. A chef demonstrated truffle making (these tasted much nicer than the chocolatl) and we met Mr York (pictured right) and saw other old adverts from the golden age of York sweets.
Cadbury It wasn’t long before we heard about the Aztecs again, this time meeting them in the form of waxwork models. Then there were videos about the Cadbury founders. A trip down a Kirkgate-style old street (although much smaller than the Castle Museum version) boasted old fashioned sweet shops. Because Cadbury is a London 2012 sponsor, you could play video games with vaguely Olympic themes. Visitors could have their picture taken in front of a green screen on which were superimposed various backgrounds like a bath with a Flake, or a cracked Easter egg. We went for a ride around Beanville – a world of animatronic cacao beans who skied and fished.
York One Quality Street, one dark chocolate square, one of the chocolate truffles made by the chef (although these were removed before one of our party had had theirs)
Cadbury One Crunchie, one Curly Wurly, one Dairy Milk. Lots of chocolate tasting on the way round
York Friendly, talkative and interesting, apart from the chef (see Lowlights, below)
Cadbury Staff didn’t do much more than open doors for us – all the talking was on film
York The interactive display where you could stir melted chocolate. Hearing a chocolate whisper “eat me”
Cadbury The women demonstrating the craft, making wonderful decorative shoes of chocolate. The chance to write your name in chocolate
York The silent chef – he didn’t explain what he was doing while creating his truffles
Cadbury Too many films (especially about the founders) and no one to answer questions
Recommend to a friend?
York Yes, for a local attraction
Cadbury Yes, for a day out
Marks: Chocolate – York’s Sweet Story 7/10
Marks: Cadbury World 8/10
Thanks to our testers: Jack, 13, Mia, eight, Jo, Ray and Fran