York Stakes its Claim as Britain's Home of Chocolate
12:00am 22nd February 2012
On the day millions pledge to give up chocolate for lent, York is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rowntree's and the sweet history of the city by claiming the title of Britain's Home of Chocolate.
The city's chocolate heritage culminates in a series of new chocolate events and attractions beginning this month to mark its proud confectionery past. The first of these, launching this week, is a new Chocolate Trail around the city which maps the story of chocolate in York.
Also planned is the opening of a new visitor attraction in April - CHOCOLATE - York's Sweet Story, which will celebrate the past and future of the confectionery industry, and York's first ever Chocolate Festival (April 6 - 9), organised by chocolatier, Sophie Jewett from York Cocoa House.
Chocolate maker and philanthropist Joseph Rowntree, York's most famous son, developed the family's chocolate firm to become an international success that lives on today.
His great, great grandson, and York Nestlé Confectionery employee Giles Naish, comments on York's chocolate crown:
"It is fantastic York is celebrating being a chocolate city. Confectionery has been integral in shaping the city for generations. Not only a proud heritage but a bright future as York continues to be a confectionery centre of excellence globally."
Tourism chiefs in York believe there has never been a better time to celebrate the city's sweet past: "The city is claiming its rightful status as Home of Chocolate," said Chief Executive of Visit York, Gillian Cruddas MBE.
"Throughout its history, York has been awarded many different titles from the Romans, who chose Eboracum, meaning 'place of the yew trees', to the Vikings who named it Jorvik, meaning 'horse bay', and now we are claiming the city's rightful association with chocolate. For centuries, the confectionery industry has shaped the city and it continues to satisfy the nation's undiminished appetite for one of our favourite indulgencies. Now is the right time to tell York's chocolate story to the world."
York produces 80,000 tonnes 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 centre dedicated to confectionery innovation makes it a chocolate Mecca for the nation.
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