Some places just feel like returning home, and for me I think York will always be one of those places. As the city where I spent my student days, and some time afterwards, I got to know it very well and have some fantastic memories of my time there. Even though I feel completely comfortable in York, it still felt slightly odd returning after a little while and seeing the things that had changed. Whilst I had limited time to spend in the actual city (I was primarily there for a dance competition) I still managed to fit in some of my old haunts.
York Cocoa House is one of my favourite places in York and is somewhere I feel very content. Throughout my time at university it saw me through essay crises, much needed catch-ups with friends, and was the perfect place to take visitors. It has a cosy atmosphere and all of the staff are really friendly and welcoming. There is a “chocolate library” so that you can read books on chocolate or look for a new recipe, chocolate themed jigsaws which are framed on the wall, and old artefacts related to York’s chocolate history. There’s plenty to look at!
The cafe is connected to the shop, so you can easily admire the rows of truffles and other chocolate-y treats whilst you wait for your food and drink. You can also sometimes see the chocolates being made, or get jealous watching the groups of people taking part in a tasting afternoon!
If all that isn’t quite enough to interest you, then if you like chocolate the menu certainly should! There is a very extensive list of hot chocolates, covering different types of chocolate, different flavourings, different areas of origin… the list just keeps going on. I’m a fan of dark chocolate and tend to opt for the moderately dark hot chocolate. I once tried “quite dark” and it was just a bit too rich as a drink! I usually ask for a glass of tap water to go with my hot chocolate as otherwise I find myself feeling slightly dehydrated afterwards. Each drink comes with a free truffle which will leave you tempted to buy something from the shop afterwards.
The cakes are also fantastic. When I first started visiting the Cocoa House there used to be an extensive range of brownies which were great. Unfortunately the brownie range seems to have disappeared, but there are plenty of other options in their place. The Salted Caramel Truffle cake is particularly good, but I’ve never managed to complete a full slice as it is incredibly rich. Luckily the staff are happy to provide you with a box to take the rest home! If you are looking for a really chocolate-y experience then the sharing platter is great, a bit like a mini chocolate fondue. I’ve once even had the chocolate afternoon tea which was certainly an experience! It was delicious, and somehow everything was slightly chocolatey, but even for a chocoholic like myself it was just a bit too much and I felt a bit ill afterwards.
York Cocoa House is certainly somewhere I would recommend visiting if you are planning on going to York. It is popular with tourists and locals (and isn’t the biggest of cafes) so depending on when you go it might be difficult to get a table. During the week it is quieter, but at a weekend try the morning or late afternoon to get a table. It was great getting to go back to The Cocoa House (and filling in another stamp on my membership card) – it was certainly as good as I remembered!