THE doors have opened at York's new £750,000 Cocoa Works marking the return of chocolate making to the city centre.

York Cocoa Works has opened on the site of the former Job Centre in Castlegate after the transformation of the building at the hands of the business's owner Sophie Jewett.

Ms Jewett, who runs York Cocoa House in Blake Street, first revealed plans to create a new chocolate factory in the city in 2015.

She since raised £311,000 for the project via a crowd funding site, and went on to secure planning permission to create her vision at the 3,000sq ft site.

Last week the factory's equipment arrived from Brazil, complete with Brazilian technicians to teach the York team how to operate it, and just yesterday the site took delivery of its first batch of cocoa beans from its partner farm in Columbia.

Speaking about the opening of York Cocoa Works, which also features a cafe, shop and education facility alongside the factory, Ms Jewett said: "The team are doing a star job on the production side of it.

"We finally received our first shipment from the cocoa business that we have been working with yesterday, and the farm is now producing the next batch.

"It has been a pleasure to meet and develop a fabulous relationship with farmers on the other side of the world..

"It has been a long time in the planning, and so many people in the city have helped.

"York Cocoa Works is a culmination of so many people's hard work and share enthusiasm. It has been magical working with a team that has been so supportive. I feel very very blessed, and excited about the future here."

The York Cocoa Works site will supply chocolate for operations at York Cocoa House, as well as other chocolatiers across the city and beyond.

The opening of the production facility marks the return of traditional chocolate making to the city centre, which has not had its own cocoa bean roasting and grinding processes since the closure of Craven’s Ebor Confectionery works in Coppergate in the 1960s. The fit out of the site was completed by York-based Evora Construction.