We were ready to break away from the big city, Birmingham being England’s second largest city with a population of over one million people. I went online to make reservations for Cadbury World and also to pre-purchase tickets for the train to Bournville, which is the long time home of Cadbury only fifteen minutes from Birmingham by train.
All the ad posters on the train were the Cadbury corporate purple. Florence asked me how we were going to find the place once we got to the Bournville stop. I replied, “Don’t worry. It will be no different than going to Anaheim and trying to find Disneyland.” And of course the signs to the factory were right before our eyes as we stepped off the train.
The first thing our greeter did as we stepped through the turnstile was give each of us two full-size Cadbury candy bars. As the smell of milk chocolate wafted through the factory and permeated our senses, the urge to taste some chocolate became overwhelming. We went through the compulsory learning stations, which were done in a fun and effective way of moving masses of people through the tour.
When we finally got to the actual factory viewing area, we were almost out of our minds for a taste of chocolate. We need not have worried. There were more sample Dairy Milk chocolate bars handed out to each guest, and we tore into one right on the spot. As we backtracked to some more exhibits I informed a couple of people heading to where we had just been, “There are chocolate samples being handed out just ahead.” They all smiled with the same look of relief we experienced when we reached the sample station.
You might think that would have been enough chocolate for the tour. Oh no! There was the Cadbury Shoppe as we came through the last set of doors, and everything was priced to sell. Not since I had visited the Liberty Orchards Aplets and Cotlets plant in Cashmere, Washington, had I gone on such a candy binge! And this time Florence was there as my partner in crime. This was the classic ‘kids turned loose in a candy store’ scenario.
And that would have been the end of our tour, except…there was the Chocolate Essence exhibit. We had paid our admission so onward we went through another historical presentation, a back through time visit to the 19th century chocolate laboratory of the Cadbury brothers laboring to perfect their formula. As we exited the presentation, what do you suppose awaited us? Yes, more chocolate! The warm, creamy milk chocolate was poured over our choice of candies: rice crispies, gummy candies, white chocolate bits, raisins, yogurt coated crunchies, etc.
By the time we were ready to return to the train station our blood sugar level had peaked and then crashed. It was a simple case of chocolate overload. Plus, we were packing more candy with us than the last time I went Trick or Treating. It remains a bit of a blur. However, the massive stash of candy bars we are now packing with us is a reminder of a delightful visit to Cadbury World. I did not envy the parents who were there with young children. Those kids were on a chocolate buzz they will likely forget sooner than will their parents.