As a blogger, you can certainly be invited to a shed load of cool stuff. This week I would say that despite being one of the more unusual invites I’ve received, the visit to the Thorntons Factory in Derby was possibly one of the most exciting. I mean…. Chocolate. Factory. Is there anything which can make a young persons dreams come true more? Unlike Cadburys World, which is tailored for the ‘experience’ and has a load of elaborate things on show, the Thorntons Factory was literally a working factory, where the actual workings on the place spoke for itself. We got to experience the process of how their delicious chocolate was made in the working environment, which in itself was exciting enough.
Despite having to wear an pretty unflattering get-up to look around the factory, this didn’t detract from the awe and joy we saw when we were walking around. Each room within the factory served a different purpose and as you walked through each, the smells changed to suit whichever product they were making. We went from Easter Eggs to the Fudge/Toffee room, to sweets and beyond, with the Thorntons staff each playing their part in creating the wonderful confectionery you can find on the supermarket shelves and in their stores.
Two of the processes which really intrigued me were the way the Easter Eggs were made, with the big whirly twirly machine (technical name, I know) and they way they hand finish the triple chocolates, found within many of the Thorntons chocolate selections (see both images below). It seemed that a vast majority of the chocolate had a human element to it, reinforcing a handmade message within each product. It’s always nice to know that not everything you eat it mass produced with just machines!
After the tour of the factory and a pit-stop for lunch, we had a masterclass in decorating our own eggs. I was surprised that I managed to pick up the skill pretty easily, but apparently with icing it is easier than trying with chocolate. I didn’t really know what to write so just went for my own name – keeping it simple is my thing. Of course, we got to keep our egg after too, always a bonus.
Then, as if we hadn’t had enough chocolate filled fun, we got to go to the Thorntons New Product Development kitchen and had a lesson in making our own chocolates with their head chocolatier! Within the class we made a simple lace chocolate basket, which you can do by swirling melted chocolate over a balloon (sounds simple, but it was actually a little tricky to perfect!) and then filling our own chocolates with a range of exciting fillings like salted caramel, blueberry caramel and ginger.. So many options. These were to go in to our lace baskets when set.
All in all, the Thorntons Factory was a pretty fun way to spend a Thursday! Thanks for having me!
Unfortunately, the factory tours aren’t open to the public, but I hope this is something they will introduce in the future, as it was a really fun day out.