Monday, 9 August 2010
I make no bones about it, I'm a big chocolate fan. The second day of the weekend jaunt to Birmingham saw the Sat Nav pointing our car to my spiritual home - Cadbury World at Bournville. It's a wacky place. Only in England can you tour a fully-operational manufacturing conglomerate factory complex and pay for the privilege. The welcome is American and Disney-esque in application with cordoned and barricaded queuing areas with happy, smiling greeters. Best of all, the greeters give out free samples of chocolate. The tour starts with a history of Mr Cadbury opening his chocolate shop in Birmingham and moves on to the choccy making process, production and packaging processes. And then horror of horrors, we found ourselves in the cadabra area where we had to sit in a toy car and pootle along a track to be entertained by singing, animatronic cocoa beans. When you're from Blackpool and cut your teeth on the rides at the Pleasure Beach, you tend to get used to more hard core rides so sitting in a kids car and listening to day-glo cocoa beans singing in helium-pitched madness is a little vexing to one's street cred.
And so we continued in our journey through the factory where we were given 3-D shows telling us how the fab philanthropic Cadburys were to their workforce and just how marvellous the Cadburys brand is. Pity then, those damn Yanks did a Glazer takeover earlier this year and Cadburys is now part of the Kraft food group. Seriously though, the tour was really rather good. The tour guides were genuinely pleased to help and very friendly. For the ultimate chocoholic experience, visit 'The Essence' area where you receive a cup of melted milk chocolate poured over a filling of your choice - in my case marshmallows. It's just sheer hedonism and I was genuinely upset when my cup was licked dry and there was no more left. Ah well, there's always the Cadburys gift shop which is chocolate heaven and saw my bending my plastic just a little.
Just to complete the tour, take a small diversion to the little town of Bournville for a glimpse on the Cadbury workers homes, churches, school and hospital. It is truly glorious and it gladdens the heart to see it. Well down Mr Cadbury, you did a good job with your chocolate. You made the lives of your workers a little better. You also gave women a mighty damn fine alternative to sex and dentists the opportunity to buy top of the range Porsche Boxsters. I salute you sir!