Arriving in York over 20 years ago the whole city smelled of chocolate and the sickly burnt sweet aroma of the Sugar Beet works, all still fully operational in the city.
I gradually met more and more people who had played pivotal roles in York's leading industry, similarly saddened as it was melting away. Inspired by all of these stories of so many great chocolate makers in York I started my own chocolate making business - Little Pretty Things in 2009, making chocolates in my own home and teaching in people’s kitchens.
Michelle and I opened the original York Cocoa House in 2011, a tribute to York's decadent chocolate houses of Georgian York and the Cocoa Houses of the Temperance movement. We welcomed thousands of chocolate lovers from around the world, and many who had once crafted the beautiful chocolates in York.
As each story, flavour and memory continued to inspire we started to imagine. What if we harnessed this knowledge before it became lost? What if we shared the chocolate making process instead of hiding it away? What if we knew where our products came from and how they were made? What if we made chocolate again back in York?
What followed has been a crazy journey into the world of chocolate making over the last 10 years, we have been joined by an ever-growing team of chocolate enthusiasts, who have shared with us their own appreciation of chocolate as they become part of the Cocoa House family, from staff, suppliers and customers. We have learned so much about chocolates history, its production process, and we believe its future, their ideas, passion and creativity have enabled us to create our very own Chocolate Manufactory York Cocoa Works that we opened in March 2018 allowing us to finally, fully become proud chocolate makers of York.
The opening of our Cocoa Academy late in 2018 brought our journey full circle, to finally be able to have a working, learning chocolate factory where our visitors can see and craft their own fabulous creations.
I am often asked if I ever get bored of chocolate, and the answer is truly never - I'm more inspired now than I imagined I could be, there is always more to learn, share and people to meet through cocoa and chocolate.
While still fascinated and mystified by it chocolate has taught me many things:
* We need to care where our foods come from
* We need to care how our foods are made
* And we need to continually invest in learning, sharing and discovering more from each other.
Our cocoa, our chocolate, our mission is focused on addressing these issues, by learning more about how the things we enjoy are created, we can help to better understand how they can more effective for our future.
We look forward to welcoming you to our Chocolate Manufactory, there are no golden tickets needed, everyone is very much invited!
In the meantime feel free to browse and have our products sent directly to you or make a booking to come and learn more about chocolate with us in our chocolate workshops.