In 2012, York, England, is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rowntrees and the sweet history of the city by claiming the title of Britain’s Home of Chocolate in 2012.
Following the city’s first successful Chocolate Festival in April this year, and the launch of Visit York’s new self-guided Chocolate Trail, as well as the opening of brand new visitor attraction Chocolate: York’s Sweet Story and also the opening of York Cocoa House the city is firmly establishing itself as Britain’s Home of Chocolate.
York produces 80,000 tons of confectionery each year at one of the largest chocolate factories in the world, including production of the world’s most successful chocolate bar, Kit Kat. A surge in the number of independent chocolatiers opening in the city and a global research center dedicated to confectionery innovation makes it a chocolate Mecca for the nation.
The world’s most successful chocolate bar is made in York to this day. Six million Kit Kats are produced in the city every day – over 1 billion each year. The number of Kit Kats made in just five minutes would make a stack higher than the Eiffel Tower. Dubai Airport sells one ton of Kit Kats every day and 17 billion fingers of Kit Kat are eaten every year worldwide.
The famous Terry’s of York chocolate Orange created in the 1930s was pre-dated by a Chocolate Apple.
Top chocolate brands such as Aero, Smarties, After Eight, Yorkie, Chocolate Orange, All Gold and Black Magic were all created in York.
Research reveals that a Terry’s Chocolate Orange makes its way into one in ten of Britain’s Christmas stockings.
Joseph Rowntree and Joseph Terry are York’s most famous sons, but did you know that George Cadbury Junior and Lewis Fry were both apprentices alongside Joseph Rowntree at the family grocery shop in York? It’s likely that the budding chocolate magnates were room-mates.
The competitive rivalry between Cadbury and Rowntrees is thought to have inspired Roald Dahl to create Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Years later, 1000s of chocolate bars were produced in York for the Hollywood blockbuster starring Johnny Depp.
A tin of Rowntree’s cocoa taken to the Antarctic by Shackleton in 1908 was discovered completely intact 50 years later. On its return to the UK it was pronounced by scientists to be in excellent condition. The tin was donated to the Rowntree factory and will go on display in the city’s new visitor attraction.
A robot automaton called Mr York was the pin-up of the advertising world in 1920. He starred in one of the first moving picture advertisements for chocolate and became an instant celebrity. Mr York will take centre-stage at the city’s new attraction CHOCOLATE – York’s Sweet Story alongside many other items recently discovered in the city’s archives.
The Queen, when she was Princess Elizabeth, was the first person ever to receive a bar of chocolate made entirely with ingredients grown in York. It was made from cocoa, Yorkshire sugar beet and vanilla grown in the hot house at the York Rowntree factory.
(Image courtesy of Chocolate: York’s Sweet Story)