Butlers Chocolate Factory Experience

butlers chocolates

Until today, i’d never been inside a chocolate factory but i’d seen Willy Wonkas chocolate factory in the movies, so i knew the processes & people involved :smile: As our friendly guide said (think she was ‘Grace’ but not 100% sure!), Butlers *have* umpa loompahs, they’re just called ‘employees’…

Having failed to squeeze this tour in a couple of weeks ago on our trip to Cork (it only runs Monday-Friday and was booked out when we rang), we said we’d have to do it again at some stage. Today we finally got to see it… my first ever chocolate factory tour. Here’s the factory from the outside on a typical Irish summer’s day :mrgreen:

Butlers Chocolate Factory Experience

The Tour

The tour starts off with a 10 minute video introduction in to how chocolate is made and the history of it. Free samples of Butlers milk, white and dark chocolates are passed around as you pretend to watch the video :smile:

After that, you then move out to a glass walkway which overlooks the factory floor. As soon as you step out on to the walkway, you can smell the chocolate. Apparently they produce about 2.5m chocolates per week here but it’s not a 24/7 production line (we were told the staff actually have lives!). Another stat i picked up on is that 7% of stuff produced is waste, but the staff actually get to eat the waste. At the end of all production lines is a big bucket and any waste goes in there. Staff can just help themselves if they’re feeling peckish.

Interactive mini factory

After the factory tour, you’re taken to the mini factory. This is a room where you get to sample more chocolates, decorate and take home your very own chocolate bear!

Butlers Chocolate Factory Experience

Kitted out in a hair net & white coat, you’ll get to see close up how chocolate is made (mainly consists of pouring mixture in to moulds, vibrating the feck out of it to get rid of bubbles and then refrigerating it). We also got more samples of various different types of chocolates (lost track at this stage what type).

Butlers Chocolate Factory Experience
Butlers Chocolate Factory Experience

After that, you get to sit down at table and decorate your very own chocolate bear. You’re provided with paint brushes, cocoa powder, chocolate flakes and let work away.

Butlers Chocolate Factory Experience
Butlers Chocolate Factory Experience

Here’s my masterpiece…

Butlers Chocolate Factory Experience
Butlers Chocolate Factory Experience

Strictly No Photography

I tried searching for photos of this tour and the factory online but couldn’t find any so i had a sneaking suspicion they didn’t allow any cameras. Sure enough they don’t but that’s only inside the factory (floor) itself. I forgot to get photos of the cafe & the video room but i did get plenty of photos in the ‘lab’ as you can see above. More on my flickr too.

The tour itself is €12.50 but for that you get a chocolate bear which costs €6.50 in the shop. You also get plenty of chocolate samples along the way so any chocolate lover will think it’s value for money. There were plenty of kids in our group and they all seemed to love it, so it’s definitely something different and worth doing with children in particular. For adult children, it’s worth seeing and doing all right but probably not worth travelling a great distance for. However if you’re in Dublin or have some time to kill around the airport, it’s worth doing. You have to book in advance and it can only be done over the phone so that’s a bit 90’s. They have a website though, along with a facebook & twitter, so if they were to introduce online booking i’m sure they’d would see a rise in bookings but from what i gather they’re pretty busy as it is…

Road Rage

Firstly, the weather was awful. Raining non stop the entire way up there and the entire way back. A few mental notes i took today on the roads… idiot in a 04, meath, Blue C- Class Mercedes heading northbound on the M1, hogging the right lane. Several cars lost patience and just undertook him, having sat behind him for ages. I was watching all this from afar but saying to myself can this guy not see he’s causing a tailback? I’ve noticed an increase in right lane hoggers over the summer months… THIS is how they should be dealth with…

I was then unlucky enough to have been stuck behind him in one of the toll bridge lanes. He pulled up to the ‘no change given’ lanes (with the automated baskets) and casually put on the handbrake and then looked at the coin basket as if he was looking at it for the first time. I was pissed off with this guy long before he drove up to the toll bridge so you can only imagine how i felt when this happened…

He looked at his passenger and then without even looking behind, put his car in to reverse, edging back slightly as if to say “come on, move… i need to get out of this lane”. Not look back, no acknowledgement he was an idiot and had made a mistake. I didn’t move, not until he’d acknowledged i was there and looked behind, demanding sympathy. The world doesn’t revolve around drivers like that. These guys are killers on the road, just as dangerous as any boy racer because they contribute to a lot of frustration (i.e. undertaking, tailgating etc..).

I reluctantly reversed the entire way back out of the lane i was in just to cater for this clown. Middle aged, looked Irish but obviously a stranger to motorways & toll bridges, or else doesn’t give a **** about anyone else. No lights on either in heavy, misty rain. I had my rear fog lights on at times it was that bad, as had other courteous & responsible drivers…

Driving

On the way home i also noticed some heavy mist starting to appear in the distance, or at least i thought it was mist because it was raining heavy on and off. Turns out it was a people carrier up ahead billowing out black smoke from underneath the bonnet. By the time i passed it, the car was just pulling in to the hard shoulder and engulfed in black smoke. Would hate to be that guy because he’d have no choice but to get out of his smoking car in heavy rain. Nothing i could do though as i’d passed him by the time i’d realised what was wrong.

 

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