Our self guided tour started with a member of the Cadbury team welcoming us to Cadbury World and giving each of us a very generous collection of delicious Cadbury chocolate bars. We just about managed to resist the urge to sit down and eat them all and instead went through the velvet curtains to start learning about chocolate.
As we passed through the curtains we found ourselves in the heart of the Amazon basin in the time of Maya Indians and Aztec civilisations who first discovered the power of chocolate. Both as an ingredient (to drink) and a commodity to trade. As we strolled through the village we came across the arrival of the Conquistadors who recognised the value in chocolate and began trading with the locals and shipping chocolate back to Europe to promote and sell.
We then jumped through time to see how chocolate was establishing itself in Europe. We learned that it first hit England around 1650 after starting off in Spain and moving across Europe. Just like in the Amazon it was used mainly in a hot drink and there was still no sign of our beloved Cadbury chocolate bar.
This part of the tour was told with the use of video holograms and the kids really enjoyed racing from area to area to hit the play button. The holograms themeselves were good quality and presented the story of chocolate in Europe very clearly and concisely, so you were never stood around in one place for too long giving the kids a chance to get bored.
The next phase of the tour was all about the development of confectionary and the invention of the chocolate bar by Fry & Sons around 1847. At the same time John Cadbury was growing his business that started as a conveniance store and by the time the first chocolate bar appeared had moved into manufacturing with a focus on cocoa products. We then learned about a series of innvoations in the Cadbury factory that eventually led to the production of the first Cadbury Milk Chocolate bar in 1975. This was all told with interesting displays and even a sit down interactive cinema experience that took us through the chocolate bar production process.
Next we moved on to the modern factory, Cadbury product development and some of their memorable advertising campaigns.