York’s Chocolate Story, a museum, café and shop combined, can be found on Kings Square at the mouth of the Shambles. There are two entrances to the building: one that leads directly into the shop with as many variations and brands of chocolate as one could imagine, and another that leads you on a guided tour of three floors of York’s chocolate history.
While the city of York may be famous for its age, its preserved medieval walls and the Minster, it is also the home of chocolate thanks to the many family businesses in the region. While other northern cities have been built on industry, York’s income has relied on the production of chocolate for around three centuries. One section of the museum is designated to the People of York who have worked in York’s many chocolate factories where their stories can be read. The interactive tour also reveals the secrets of chocolate-making and allows you to learn the art of chocolate-making yourself. Terry’s, when the brand first began, was based in York until the name of the factory changed to The Chocolate Works factory after the business was taken over by Kraft foods in 1993 and the Craven’s Sweets factory was demolished in 1974 in order to make way for a new shopping centre. However, all through the city-centre of York, echoes of this city’s history in chocolate can be found; a hint of Nestlé can be smelt on the air when the wind blows the right way and Betty’s Tea Rooms, a famous name in York, has been handcrafting chocolates for almost one hundred years.
York’s Chocolate Story holds events throughout the year, coinciding with Christmas and Easter, along with others such as Chocolate Week (from the 10th to the 16th of October). The shop and the café are accessible without having to experience the guided tour, but the museum is certainly worth seeing to learn more about York’s unique history.