Thorntons Factory Tour

Posted by in Features on March 12 2010 | Leave A Comment

One of the things I like best about Thorntons is that they just ‘get’ social media. Even if we don’t give them an overly positive review on a particular product, they keep talking to us (and other bloggers). They listen to feedback, take criticism in a constructive manner, and are always willing to meet and interact in person.

So it was that I and three other food bloggers got invited up to the Thorntons factory in Derbyshire yesterday. In the morning, we had a full factory tour. This was followed by a delicious pub lunch with Thorntons’ master chocolatier Keith Hurdman and marketing director Peter Wright. After lunch, we spent some time with Keith in his development kitchen, tasting some incredibly exciting chocolate he has in development, including some wonderful new blocks and a range to celebrate Thorntons centenary next year.

Most interesting for me was the fact that they are considering a limited edition block of chocolate as it would have been 100 years ago. A coarsely ground, crumbly bar not unlike the DeAngelis modican chocolate we tasted last year. There is apparently still some debate as to whether this will make it to the shelves, but I would love to see it on sale. Not just as a piece of history, but because it was an exciting chocolate with a texture that I think people will love.

There’s so much else that I could talk about, but I wouldn’t know where to start and I think the video and pictures say more anyway. Suffice to say, the thing that makes Thorntons special for me isn’t the fabulous machines dripping with melted chocolate, it’s the people. Everyone we spoke to were friendly, helpful and happy, despite the fact we were clearly getting in the way at times.

So thank you to everyone at Thorntons for an interesting, informative and fun day out. We’re coming back next week, right..?

Comments On This Post

  1. Love it! I love enrobers best, the unending curtain of chocolate – I could stare at it for days.

    It’d be great if you did some titles for the photos, so we can get more info about what we’re looking at. So cool that they let you take photos behind the scenes.

  2. Irena

    Great, great :) wonderful…

  3. Dom (Chocablog Staff)

    Have added titles to the photos, Cybele.

  4. The machine that makes the chocolate eggs is hypnotic to watch! I would be interested to try the limited edition chocolate.

  5. Mariangela

    …..wow!
    (GREAT!!!!)
    Thank you Chocablog for sharing this with all of us… the music added to the video just makes it all an exciting experience!!!
    The chocolates on the conveyor belt look like small toy soldiers of a wonderful immense platoon…. I want one too!!! ;-)))
    Thanks again!!!

  6. Fantastic stuff! We’ve just started a chocolate company and can only dream of growing to a fraction of this size!

  7. Dom (Chocablog Staff)

    Jules: It’s even more hypnotic when the occasional giant bunny goes past!

    Mariangela: The music is just a GarageBand loop. It’s the kind of factory where you need to wear earplugs, so the natural soundtrack wouldn’t have been very good. :)

    Helsham: Everyone has to start somewhere – I’ll email you!

  8. Paul Vincent

    The promise of a Centenary Box from Thorntons is exciting news. I’m fairly sure they once did something similar – probably for their 75th Anniversary, 24 years ago. I can’t remember details, but the chocolates were fabulously exotic to my eyes (and tastebuds) back then; I’d developed an addiction to their Continental Assortment, which was at the time the most sophisticated selection readily available on the High Street, but this super-sophisticated selection knocked their Continentals for six. If you have contacts now, with Thorntons, you might ask if they have any photos of that selection. The reason I think it must have been for their 75th Anniversary, or similar, is that the selection was only available from their shops for a short period of time.

  9. Amy

    I am so jealous! I always used to imagine visiting a chocolate factory a la Charlie and it looks just as much fun at Thorntons! I visited Ethels out in Las Vegas a year or so ago and I have to say it was not nearly as amazing as Thorntons looks…although it is about 1/1,0000th the size lol

  10. Wow, very interesting!

    If it wasn’t for Chocablog I probably would have never tried any of their chocs, the shops look so old-fashioned to me. So good on them on keeping in contact with you!

  11. chocolics

    Hi,

    Wowww… I have been to the cadbury world(Birmingham) but this seems to be even better…I work with chocolates too but after looking at these pictures and the video all I can say is its simply amazing to learn how one can create such lovely pieces of smooth tasting heavenly looking (all the decoration specially the new collection to be launched next year)pieces of delicacies.

    I await for more :)
    Thanks a lot!

  12. ff

    THIS IS IN RIPLEY, RIGHT?! I live in Ripley. It kinda sucks.

  13. ff

    Oh and I know too of those “oompa loompas”.

  14. This is a fantastic post! I LOVED the video! Can you just imagine working in a Chocolate factory??? I wonder if I’d still love Chocolate as much as I do now? hahahha!!!

  15. Catherine

    Awesome video thank you for showing it to me my friend ….from across the pond :0

  16. Dear Sir or Madam. My self and my wife are visiting the peak district on the week ending 6 july. I myself was the visitors manager at Seabrook crisps in Bradford West Yorks For over 13 years I am a lover of your products I would be most gratefull if you wood grant me n my wife a visit of your factory This would be most appreciated if you could do this. Yours Sincerly in anticipation Philip Jenkins.

  17. As posted Philip Jenkins