A CATERER from York believes he may have uncovered an original recipe for a teatime classic.

Roger Lee, of Time And Place catering at Bedern Hall, has discovered an original recipe book from 1911 that belonged to his great grandfather George Thomas Lee, who was a departmental manager at the Rowntree factory in York.

The Whipped Cream Whirls recipe is one of several artefacts given to Roger by his cousin who found the recipe among old family personal belongings.

The find also included two pages from George Thomas Lee’s passport, stamped November 15, 1922, by the Foreign Office. It shows his date of birth as February 28, 1864.

Mr Lee said: “This is a timely find as we have been involved in York’s Festival Of Chocolate at Easter. It was only when I mentioned this to my cousin that he remembered the items and sent them to me. We believe that the recipe is the original concept for what became the Walnut Whip and will now seek to verify this.”

The find also comes only days after Chocolate York’s Sweet Story opened its doors for the first time on March 31.

Walnut Whips are a whirl-shaped cone of milk chocolate with a whipped vanilla fondant filling, topped with a half-walnut.

According to Rowntree’s successor Nestlé, who now make walnut whips, the chocolate treat was launched in 1910. It is currently the firm’s oldest brand and was previously made by Duncan’s of Edinburgh.

July 1 marks the 150th anniversary of Henry Isaac Rowntree’s purchase of Wm Tuke’s cocoa business and the start of the Rowntree’s empire.

Alex Hutchinson, Nestlé’s heritage assistant, said: “Mr Lee’s find is the first evidence we have seen that Rowntree was making their Walnut Whip product as early as 1911. It is a really exciting find for us and confirms the date of a photograph we have in our archives of men before the First World War making the product.”

Bedern Hall was originally the 14th Century Dining Hall of the Vicars Choral of York Minster and Mr Lee operates Bedern Hall for the Guilds of York.


Proportions in ounces for 40 sweets.

• Chocolate for bottoms 4½
• Walnut ½
• Cream 2¼
• Piping Chocolate 7¼.