When I was younger this was the home of chocolate.
It was our Willy Wonka factory. We lived just a few miles away so we would often drive past it’s industrial-looking factory and wonder at the magic going on inside.
These days, of course, you can pay to go in and see what magic is going on inside at Cadbury World.
Except it’s not like the old days. It’s a much more sanitized, modern version of chocolate making. Robot arms do the lion’s share of the work which isn’t nearly as exciting as watching people in white coats and hairnets!
So what’s there? What happens at Cadbury World? Does it smell of chocolate? It so does. Do they give out free chocolate? Yes they do. Do you get the opportunity to dive into a vat of chocolate? I’m afraid you don’t.
I was sent a family ticket to the attraction to review . . .
SO, JOIN US ON A TOUR OF CADBURY WORLD:
The first thing to note is that you have to book a time slot to visit (which means it’s not going to be heaving with people once you start the tour) but if you arrive early you can visit the large playground at the back of the building. You can also visit the Essence Emporium, a mini show about how the ‘glass and a half’ phrase came about, and at the end you get a free molten chocolate pot. There is also a mini museum ‘the Bournville Experience’.
Next you move inside for the tour.
Say hello to the Cadbury gorilla. Don’t try to lick it as Mia appears to be doing (it’s not made of chocolate).
And then you move through the story of chocolate, starting with the Aztecs, moving onto an interactive story of how Cadbury was born (no mention whatsoever that they are now owned by Kraft!). There’s a little cocoa pod ride, the factory, the famous adverts, the music, some fun interactive games – even a spot where you can have a green-screen photo of yourself superimposed in a Flake bath, or popping out of an Easter egg, or weight lifting Creme Eggs. The prints aren’t horrendously expensive either.
In parts the tour is a little boring, truth be told.
However you do get glimpses of what it once was like at the Bournville factory. My very favourite section of the Cadbury World experience is where you meet chocolatiers showing your how it used to be done.
The photos below are a demonstration of how they used to make filled chocolates – using molten chocolate, a marble slab and a giant mould.
We also discovered little nuggets of information like that fact that Flake was invented by accident when, after this process, the workers would scrape the valuable chocolate off the marble slab with a wide knife, leaving flakes of chocolate at the foot of the blade. And that the idea for Curly Wurly was also born from this process when the excess chocolate is scraped from the top of the moulds.
Finally you are spat out into the shop. Which is apparently the World’s Biggest Cadbury Shop! And where the kids go crazy and WANT EVERYTHING!
You don’t actually have to go on the tour to visit the shop, it is open to the public.
Mia came home with this giant bar and that smile on her face for the whole week.
THINGS WE LOVED
Seeing workers in action. As in hand decorating chocolate, giving demonstrations of how things used to be made; just actual people. Personally I think the people make the tour far more interesting.
The music and adverts. Cadbury is an iconic brand and becomes part of your childhood. I was watching adverts on the tour and doing the ‘oh my god I SO remember that from when I was a kid’. The music and the jingles bring back so many memories – sadly it’s a very small section of the tour.
The free chocolate. As you walk in the door you’re handed two bars of chocolate each. You get handed more half way around. Sure you’re paying for it in the entrance price, but it still feels great!
There is the feint whiff of chocolate all the way around.
And did I mention the people? Really friendly, helpful and giving out chocolate!
THINGS WE WOULD CHANGE
The tour. Parts of it are quite boring. The section which shows how chocolate is made is OK, but it’s a bit dry in parts and a human presence could really lift it. It needs someone telling you interesting stories, because just looking through a window at a robot arm doing the packing isn’t all that mind-blowing. There are a wealth of interesting stories ingrained in those walls, pressing buttons on an information booth just isn’t the same I’m afraid.
In the interactive story of how the Cadbury brothers started the company, you are moved from one room to the next. But in the second room you could quite clearly hear the previous room’s story as a noisy background accompaniment to the one we were in. Annoying more than distracting.
Essence. At the end of the Essence mini tour, there is the chance to ‘create your own bar’. Which means you choose an ingredient from the optics hung on the wall, it’s put in a small pot and molten chocolate is poured on to it. However, when I’ve visited in the past there have been at least 10 choices of ingredient and the experience was all the poorer for having just four to choose from. Just felt less of you creating a taste sensation and more of a here’s four we’ve pre-approved for you.
The shop. It just didn’t feel special enough. There wasn’t really anything you couldn’t buy at the supermarket (sometimes cheaper). There are a few novelty gifts – Cadbury branded magnets, pens etc – and a few cuddly toys and hampers. There was also the ‘factory shop’ which isn’t earth shatteringly cheap. Nothing shouted I”VE BEEN TO CADBURY WORLD!
So there you go. We came, we devoured, we felt sick as pigs afterwards!
Of course, one of the best things about bring all that chocolate home is the chance to cook with it.
Cadbury has a new product out now called Pebbles (think Mini Eggs but bigger) and they’re perfect for decorating a birthday cake with as we did here. Only thing is everyone picks them off as you’re trying to cut the cake so be warned!