A CITY centre chocolatier is visiting Ghana in a bid to enrich his understanding of one York’s most famous products.

Andrew Thwaite, head chocolatier at York’s CHOCOLATE Story, will next week travel to the African country, which is the second largest exporter of cocoa in the world, behind the Ivory Coast.

The trip, arranged by chocolate producer Barry Callebaut, will enable Mr Thwaite to understand more about the connection York has had with the chocolate growing regions since the 18th century.

Mr Thwaite will visit growing plantations, discover the production process as well as visit schools and community projects which are supported by Barry Callebaut.

He said: “During the 18th century, the city of York began building its economy and trade around the chocolate industry.

“Over the next few hundred years, and right up to the modern day, chocolate production here (in York) has flourished and the city is steeped in a rich chocolate heritage.

“It is important York works to keep this heritage alive as well as developing its links with cocoa producers.

“I’ve worked with chocolate for more than 20 years now and am really excited about this fantastic opportunity to see the source production areas, discover how we can work further with suppliers to create a sustainable future and develop first-hand links with chocolate suppliers and the city of York.”

Mr Thwaite trained initially as a chef specialising in pastry, before moving into the chocolate industry.

He joined York’s CHOCOLATE Story as head chocolatier when the attraction, operated by York-based Continuum Group, opened in March 2012.

Born and bred in the Yorkshire Dales, Mr Thwaite creates a range of original chocolates at CHOCOLATE Story, in Kings Square, York, on a daily basis, as well as running chocolate-making demonstrations and workshops.

The CHOCOLATE Story attraction is based around giving tours through the history of York’s famous chocolate-making families.

The business is part of the Continuum Group, based in Margaret Street, York, which employs 400 people nationally, and has a portfolio of attractions throughout the UK, including The Canterbury Tales in Canterbury, The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, Oxford Castle Unlocked in Oxford, and the new Coronation Street Tours in Manchester.