See, hear, touch, smell and taste – all five senses will be in chocolate heaven this Easter when the UK’s ‘home of chocolate’ celebrates the fourth annual York Chocolate Festival at a host of chocolate-themed venues around the city from 3 – 6 April 2015.
“This year, our Chocolate Festival is more hands-on than ever before, with a focus not simply on the delicious treats available to buy, but actually exploring chocolate and meeting the local chocolatiers, confectioners and bakers who make a living out of this wonderful ingredient,” comments Festival director, Sophie Jewett. “Visitors will be able to watch chocolate being made, taste some unusual treats, and create their own chocolate souvenir of their visit with live workshops at the Chocolate Fair, before wandering off to explore how cocoa-based confections shaped the city as a whole, from the birthplace of the Terry’s Chocolate Orange, to the continuing development of sweet treats by today’s artisan chocolate makers.”
Highlights of this year’s festival will include:
• The Chocolate Cookery School – a chance to learn from York’s chocolate masters how to work with chocolate to create your own sweet treat to take away. Running daily in Parliament Street, with experts from many York chocolate businesses hosting hour-long workshops for adults and children. £5 per adult, £3 per child.
• Becoming a Professional Chocolate Taster – York is one of few places left in the country where there are several companies that employ their own expert chocolate tasters. Learn about colour, texture, smell and the smooth glossy finish that make the finest chocolates… and learn to taste chocolate like a professional! Ongoing in Parliament Street.
• Make Good Friday (3 April) Great Friday with a chocolate model workshop at York Cocoa House (Blake Street). Discover chocolate as a medium for sculpture and design, and take away your own creation in an hour-long workshop, priced at £17.50 per person. Also repeated on Easter Sunday (5 April).
• Join the Lord Mayor of York on his annual Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Sunday (4 April) from 10.00am to 3.00pm. Collect a trail sheet from the JORVIK Viking Centre and join a city-wide quest for chocolate, with a special prize for everyone completing the trail! £2.50 per entry.
• Hear the story of the holy grail of Easter eggs – the solid chocolate egg – and discover how the expert chocolatiers create ornate Easter eggs up to three feet tall at York’s Chocolate Story, the visitor attraction dedicated to telling the story of York’s chocolate past and present. Prebooking strongly recommended atwww.yorkschocolatestory.com, with tours priced at £10.50 for adults, £9.50 for concessions and £8.50 for children.
• Explore York’s chocolate heritage on foot with the York Walk Choccy & Sweetie Tour, Friday 3 and Sunday 5 April at 10.30am, starting from Museums Gardens Gates on Museum Street. This 90-120 minute walking tour takes in many of York’s confectionary highlights, priced at £6.00 for adults and £5.00 for concessions.
More details on the full York Chocolate Festival 2015 programme, including how to book individual events, are available online at www.yorkchocolatefestival.co.uk
Top five calorie-free ways of enjoying the York Chocolate Festival 2015
• Smell it! The smell of chocolate emanating from the Nestlé chocolate factory is well known in York, but now you can track the fragrant cloud of sweetness daily on Twitter @YorkChocAroma, with maps highlighting likely coverage based on wind speed and direction
• Walk it! Join the Choccie & Sweetie Tour by York Walk on Friday 3 and Sunday 5 April, exploring the locations in York best known for their links to the likes of the Rowntree, Craven and Terry families. Leaves at 10.30am from Museum Gardens Gates.
• Bathe with it! Handmade on site, the Yorkshire Soap Company on Blake Street makes chocolate-scented soap bars (£3.00) and chocolate scented soap cupcakes (£5.00) to leave you smelling good enough to eat!
• Watch it! In 2013, Pilot Theatre created a unique theatrical experience telling the story of the Quakers and World War I; Blood & Chocolate was performed as a promenade performance around the city streets, and received rave reviews. Now available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DgqP6TqHSo), you can watch the performance on your phone or tablet device in the places it was performed, thanks to free city-wide wifi!
• Apply it! Or rather, have a therapist apply it! York-based massage therapist, Ana Guerrero, offers an indulgent full body dark chocolate massage for £80 (60 minutes) or an ultra-indulgent four-hand massage for £120. For details, please visit www.solaristherapeuticmassage.co.uk