Sunday, 6 March 2016

Thorntons Factory Tour - March 2016.

In the run up to Easter, you can't escape chocolate.


Last week, I was lucky enough to be allowed to tag along to a day of fun and frolics at a real life chocolate factory.
The Thorntons Factory in Alfreton, Derbyshire is pretty much just down the road from where I live so wasn't far for me to travel at all which was an added bonus.

I've been to Cadbury World before in Birmingham which is very much aimed at a younger audience and although very informative, is all about the experience and highly interactive. 
The factory tour here at Thorntons is very much down to earth. You get to see real life people doing real life work, many of which have worked here their whole life and have no plans to budge. 

The day began at 10am, the first stop being an in depth tour of the factory. Just because you don't work there doesn't mean you get to escape the rather unflattering yet amusing workwear, oh no.


  



We were able to see the journey the chocolate takes all the way from the ingredients being weighed by hand to packaging and despatch.
A lot of the processes are mesmerising and it was hard to not feel hungry.
As you walk around the factory, you're able to notice the different scents depending on what is happening in that specific room.
There were rooms of chocolate, fudge, toffee, rock and so many more. That was a journey in itself. 



At the moment, the factory is very Easter mad with all sorts of products being made such as these Chocolate Bunnies, Easter Eggs as well as all of their usual products too.
This machine here was really interesting to watch. It twists and spins the chocolate within the moulds in all different directions, then shakes so ensure that the chocolate slides into all of the little nooks and crannies. 

Not everything is made by machine though, in peak times there are over 2000 staff who work at Thorntons, many of which create and decorate chocolates by hand.





Personalised chocolates are very popular, especially around holidays such as Easter. Thorntons have been personalising their Eggs since 1922 and still going strong. It's really lovely to see that things like this are all done by hand. It creates a special touch which you wouldn't get elsewhere.

Following our tour and a chance to grab some lunch, we had a go at personalising some Easter Eggs ourselves. Personalisation expert Nathan came along to show us how it's done and gave us his top tips.




Here's my attempt which to be fair wasn't too bad if I say so myself! It's so hard to master. Even the staff have to pass a little test before they're allowed to ice the real things. I can tell it takes a lot of practice. 

Afterwards, we went to meet Jayne over in the product development kitchen. Here we had the opportunity to make a Chocolate Lace Basket along with some choccies and truffles to fill it with.






The process involved swirling melted chocolate over a balloon. Once dried, you can peel the basket away and you're left with the shell. A really simple yet great idea which can be recreated at home too.
We had a range of chocolates to chose from as well as fillings and decorations. It was really fun to take part in and I was able to get creative. I used a lot of White Chocolate as that's my favourite.

Here's my end result:


Something like this would make a great gift for someone. I really liked it.

Shortly after our session in the kitchen it was time to head home.
I have to say, I really enjoyed my day at Thorntons. It was so interesting to learn about how their chocolates are made and be able to follow their journeys throughout the factory.
It was a great mid-week treat and I'd like to say thank you for letting me visit and for the goodies I took home with me afterwards.

Unfortunately, members of the public can not take part in a tour. However, you are able to visit the virtual factory here








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2 comments

  1. Hey Monet, thanks so much for coming along last week! I think that personalised Easter egg is a great first attempt (much better than mine!).

    Glad you enjoyed the day, factory and chocolate creation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John. Was lovely to meet you and Mike.
      Was a fantastic day!

      Delete

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