BUMPER crowds took advantage of the glorious sunshine today to enjoy the York Chocolate Festival.

There was just one problem on Saturday: it was almost TOO sunny.

Chocolate and sunshine don't really mix. There's that tendency to melt...

Thankfully, it didn't quite come to that, even in the full 20 degree heat of the afternoon.

"It has been a bit hot today," admitted Max Scotford, founder of Sheffield-based Bullion Chocolates. "But luckily the chocolate hasn't melted."

Max set up his businesss making handcrafted chocolates in Sheffield's Kelham Island, once famous for its steel production.

But he admitted there was nowhere better for a chocolate festival than York.

York Press:

'Luckily the chocolate hasn't melted' - Max Scotford, founder of Sheffield-based Bullion Chocolates

"This is the home of chocolate," he said. "As a fellow Yorkshireman, it's great to be here." He'd been blown was blown away by the number of overseas visitors, he added - something he didn't get in Sheffield. "I've had people from all over - the United States, China, Japan..."

The chocolate festival - organised by the team behind the York Food Festival, with the support of Make It York - has returned this year after a two-year Covid-enforced absence.

It is running throughout the long bank holiday weekend, from Thursday April 14 to Bank Holiday Monday, April 18.

Parliament Street is lined with dozens of tented stalls - with, at the street's south end, a large festival tent selling beer - and, of course, hot choolate.

York Press:

Crowds in Parliament Street at the chocolate festival this afternoon

As well as stalls selling hand-made cholates of all shapes and sizes, there is a demonstration tent where chocolatiers have been showing off the art of chocolate making, and a workshop tent run by the York Cocoa Works where you can learn how to make your own Easter Eggs and chocolate bunnies.

Buskers bring an added festival feeling - on Saturday afternoon the 'Hyde Family Jam' were delivering a robust version of the Dolly Parton country classic Jolene as the crowds bustled past.

That's all part of the attraction of York, admitted Josh and Amelia, who were selling beautifully-presented Easter Eggs from the York Cocoa Works stall.

"There are some great bands playing!" Josh said.

York Press:

Amelia and Josh at the York Cocoa Works stall

A bit further along, Graham Rutter was busy selling some of his wife Nenette Scrivener's hand-crafted Easter eggs. Nenette's business is based in Market Harborough, but this was the second time she'd had a stall at the York Chocolate Festival.

"It's been really good!" Graham said."York is lovely, and there have been lots of people buying."

And the weather? "If it gets too hot we're knackered!" he admitted. "But it has been just right."

York Press:

Graham Rutter at the Nenette's Chocolates stall

Down in the festival tent, four friends were enoying some kind of hot chocolate drink served out what looked like real Easter eggs.

"They're really cool!" admitted Sophie, who with boyfriend Callum was visiting friends Chris and Genevieve, who had just moved to York from Guernsey.

So what did they make of the festival?

"The stalls are great!" Chris said. "There's a lot of variety."

York Press:

It's really cool!" - friends Callum, Chris, Genevieve and Sophie enjoying a chocolate drink in the festival tent

The beer tent could have been a bit bigger though, Chris said. It was OK in the sunshine. "But if it had been raining, you'd have wanted somewhere to sit."

Raining? In York on a bank holiday weekend? Never...

The York Chocolate Festival runs until Bank Holiday Monday