29 December 2014

Inside Thorntons Chocolate Factory

 


I thought I'd start by showing you my favourite Thorntons chocolate before I tell you about my visit to the factory. You know, just in case you ever needed to know. They are Continental Sicilian Lemon Mousse. Forget the rest of the selection, I'll have a box of these please, although I'd settle for one of the bars.


Stuart and I started our journey with an overnight stay in a hotel at Edinburgh airport, followed by a ridiculously early start. We flew down to the East Midlands, then travelled on to Nottingham where we explored the Christmas market and enjoyed breakfast at Delilah Fine Foods, a rather wonderful deli and cafe. 

Stuart and I both ordered pan fried field mushrooms on sourdough toast with Manchego cheese, a fried egg & truffle oil. Oh it was good! Well worth waiting for. After our visit to Nottingham we travelled on to Alfreton where we met up with Becca, Janice and Rachel before travelling on to the Thorntons Factory.


photo: Cakeyboi
We were met by Thornton's digital search manager John Rowley who took us up to the board room for some lunch and a look at some of the many products Thorntons create in their factory.

We then moved onto our tour of the factory, but first we had to get togged up and scrubbed.

As you can see it was a bonnie outfit. Stuart even had to wear a beard cap.




The first thing that hit you was the smell. It was amazing!

Vats of melted chocolate were being piped in everywhere you looked. It was so interesting watching the different processes and we were surprised to see they were working on Easter eggs. The chocolate was poured into moulds then spun round by long robotic arms for even coverage.

We even had a chance to do some chocolate work ourselves. We had a try at piping chocolate onto nougat caskets, before they were chilled and then we filled them with individual chocolates. We didn't do too bad, but we'd need a lot more experience to match the skills and speed of the Thornton's staff.


We all agreed that the toffee pouring was the most exciting part of the tour. The toffee was melted and then hand poured from a vat on runners that was pulled along a long table, filling buttered trays. The smell was glorious.

The toffee was cooled before it was smashed into chunks, then tossed through a barrel to remove all the pieces that were too big or small. These would be re-melted into the next batch. The toffee was then boxed up, ready to be sealed and shipped off to the shops.


Before we finished out tour we stopped at the tasting station to try of some freshly made chocolates.  I only had four chocolates and one jelly, which showed considerable restraint. We all agreed the dulce de leche truffle was out of this world. It was slightly warm, very creamy and oh the flavour!


We finally headed back to the board room where we had a short session on icing. As you can see I iced a chocolate slab for Cooper, which I gave to him on Christmas day.

Sadly our day was at an end, but we all left laden with chocolate including a huge personalised box.

A short taxi ride took us to our rather luxurious hotel, The Derbyshire Hotel, where we had a great meal and breakfast the next morning.


I left with a real respect for Thorntons as a company. It was such an interesting trip and it was fun spending time with some of my favourite bloggers. A big thank you to Thorntons for inviting us.

Read more:

Rachel Cotterill -  Rachel and the Chocolate Factory
 
 
Disclosure: Thorntons paid for the whole trip, but I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own. We were not allowed to take our cameras into the factory for health and safety reasons, so some of the photos were kindly provided by Thorntons

dulce de leche truffle
dulce de leche truffle
dulce de leche truffle
dulce de leche truffle
dulce de leche truffle

14 comments:

  1. Wow, what a great experience - I would love to visit the factory, Thorntons are my favourite.

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    1. It was a great tour, really interesting to see how it was all done.

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  2. Touring a large chocolate production would be pretty cool Jacqueline. They would need to tie my hands back to prevent me from sneaking a wee nibble.

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    1. You'd be in big trouble Val. Health and safety just wouldn't allow it.

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  3. Lovely write up Jac. It was a fun trip and I have been remembering it as we are in the process of demolishing our nougat casket full of lovely chocs.

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    1. I am giving mine away, although it was tempting to break into it.

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  4. I visited a few years ago, not long after I started blogging, and had such an interesting experience, wasn't at all what I expected and I really enjoyed it! Looks like you had a blast too!

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  5. What a great trip for you, would love to do this one day :)

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  6. Wow I think that I have put on a couple of pounds just reading this post!! I loved reading about Thorntons though.

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  7. Kid in a sweet shop springs to mind! I loved seeing your behind the scenes trip, wish you could have video'd it as you went round :)
    Janie x

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  8. You have me at Sicilian Lemon! Great round up, I would love to visit Thorntons factory, their chocolate is just awesome!

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  9. Now that sounds like a super fun trip Jac. Not only a day spent in a chocolate factory which has to be epic, but in the company of other lovely bloggers too AND a fabulous sounding breakfast. I'm trying hard not to be envious. Wishing you and yours the very best for 2015 - hope it's a good one :)

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  10. Wow, I didn't realise the factory is so close to me. Will have to try to visit at some point - looks amazing.

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  11. I really enjoyed reading about your experience. Thorntons are one of my favourite chocolate makers and I can't believe I didn't know they were near Nottingham. Delilah's is lovely isn't it?

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I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x