York stages its annual Chocolate Festival later this month.

The popular event returns for a tenth year with new and bigger attractions, many of them free.

The five-day celebration of all-things chocolate runs from Wednesday March 27 to Sunday March 31.

The event features a marketplace in in Parliament Street from 10am to 5pm, offering a range of local chocolatiers and confectioners.


In the Activity Marquee from 10am to 5pm is the free Chocolate Sculpture Gallery.

‘Extreme Chocolatier’ Ashley McCarthy will be showing his skills by making a large Chocolate House to add to the nearby Festival Sculpture Gallery.

The Chocolate Food Factory at St Crux will offer hands-on chocolate treat-making. The event is free but those taking part can donate to help support the festival.

A Chocolate Café Bar in Parliament Street will offer sweet and savoury snacks, plus a chocolate stout and Fairfax Distillery’s Chocolate Gin. Other products, including Brew York’s beers will also have a chocolate twist.

York Press:

Ticketed activities include a Taste Trail around the city, where people can sample the best of the city’s food scene at selected shops.

There is an Easter Egg Hunt, where you can explore the city, solve clues and collect mini-eggs. The adventure concludes with the chance to decorate a chocolate egg bar with York Cocoa Works.

York Cocoa Works is also hosting Chocolate Egg Decorating as well as a whole range of daily chocolate experiences, masterclasses, and workshops, inviting participants to immerse themselves in the world of chocolate.

In addition, there will be Easter-themed face painting with Fantastic Faces next to the activity area on Parliament Street from 10 am to 5 pm.

And for adults only, Chocolate Beer and Gin tastings with York Gin, Brew York and Fairfax Distillery.

York restaurateur Michael Hjort, who is one of the event organisers, says the festival is bigger this year with more hands-on activities.

York Press:

“There’s a real opportunity to spend an entire day at the festival. If you want, your kids can take part in the trail or Easter Egg Hunt, There’s free hands-on experiences for children or for keen amateurs who want to be more involved.

“The café bar in Parliament Street is very much expanded.”

Seeing the chocolate creations from Ashley McCarthy is also a popular attraction.

Michael added: “There’s a great day out in York for anyone with a sweet tooth.”

The event is  organised as a subsidiary to the York Food Festival, which runs in September.

York Food Festival is an independent organisation that runs events throughout the year celebrating local and regional food and drink. Any money generated from stand fees and ticket sales goes back in to the festival to improve it year after year.

Further details and tickets are now available online through the Festival website. www.yorkfoodfestival.com