Does what it says on the tin! As created by yours truly at York's Chocolate Story
A lot of nostalgia: I lived there as a child, and was surprised how much I remembered about the geography and some of the shops (toyshops plus the famous Bettys, mainly), and some landmarks (I did my old walk to school and remembered the ‘scary haunted houses’ on the way – turns out they’re churches, but I still maintain they look pretty spooky).
But somehow I hadn’t realised when I lived there that York is a city of chocolate. My favourite chocolate shop from back then, Maxwell & Kennedy, is sadly gone, and I didn’t have a chance to check whether the York Minster shop still sells chocolates in the shape of the famous Rose Window. But I counted a lot of chocolate shops, and a lot of ice cream shops – far too many for one weekend! Monk Bar Chocolatiers was recommended, and I saw a number of others (here’s a guide to York and chocolate).
York’s reputation as a city of chocolate is of course a lot older, dating from centuries ago with Cravens (and what a woman Mary Ann Craven was, successfully running two businesses – her own, inherited from her father, and her husband’s - alongside raising three children as a widow). More recently, there were Terry’s and Rowntree’s (creator of the Kit Kat, but taken over by Nestle in the 1980s).
We visited York’s Chocolate Story, which is a guided tour of chocolate in York through the ages – with samples. I’d definitely recommend it: they not only give you chocolate (including a wonderful drink, the closest equivalent to what they think the Aztecs would have made) but also tell you how to taste it like a professional. Don’t think I haven’t considered a career change… I also learned (and as a classicist I really should have twigged this before) that the name of the main stimulant in chocolate, theobromine, means ‘food of the gods’. I agree!
I think York is a place to visit for all chocolate-lovers and addicts – perhaps we can entice Luba Lesychyn, author of Theft By Chocolate, over here?