Good oneBy Mark Keane

When you think of Christmas time, you think of Santa, reindeer, roast turkey, presents, and of course chocolate, lots of chocolate. The original purveyors of happiness, Butlers Chocolate, have all your chocolate needs covered this Christmas. It’s easy to get lost in dreams of cocoa beans, Bailey’s flavoured truffles, and salted caramel fillings while eating Butlers chocolates, but you may not be familiar with how this Irish institution started out.

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The history of Butlers, and of chocolate itself, is so interesting, that they offer people a chance to see what really goes on behind the doors of Ireland’s world renowned chocolate factory. The Butlers Chocolate Experience is the perfect Christmas day out for all the family. The history lover of the family, usually Dad, will get to learn about xocolatl, a drink made from ground cocoa, water and spices that started the craze for all things chocolate in the 16th century. He can amaze his friends with nuggets of information about how the cocoa tree is called Theobroma, and that it bears cacao pods after 3 or 4 years.

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For those who want to get straight to the good stuff, there are many opportunities to try different chocolates while watching the Butlers Chocolate Movie or exploring the Chocolate Museum. You will see how Marion Butler fulfilled her dreams by setting up Chez Nous in 1932, which would ultimately be bought in 1959 and renamed as Butlers.

When you think of chocolate, the taste is what you usually remember. However, when you enter the factory, you will be blown away by rich, indulgent chocolate and cocoa aromas, unlike anything you’ve smelled before. The factory is huge, producing so much chocolate it would put Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory  to shame. Butlers Chocolate sells in 40 countries around the world, they have franchises in places such as New Zealand and Pakistan, and even have a cafe in Dubai, meaning you will always be able to get your Butlers chocolate fix. As a result, they need to be well prepared to deal with demand. Christmas treats are started in July/August, while Easter Eggs and bunnies are already done!

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For those chocolate loving parents, who promised to bring their kids to meet Santa this Christmas, there will be a free Santa’s grotto held on the weekends at the Butlers factory! You can pick up some chocolate there at a 10% discount, sneakily eat a few when your family aren’t looking, and have your children happily pose for pictures with Santa. Grab some Butlers hot chocolate for the road and everybody is happy!

The final part of the Butler’s experience is perfect for any young aspiring pastry chefs. You will get a demonstration on how the chocolates are created and filled from their master chocolatier. You will learn the tricks of the trade, see the equipment that they need to use to ensure consistently perfect chocolates, and get a chance to decorate your own chocolate novelty piece.

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Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a few surprises, and Butlers have done that by capturing a bit of Christmas happiness and putting it into their Festive Menu chocolate boxes. They have really got some big flavours going on with their pomegranate panna cotta, hazelnut brownie, Christmas pudding truffle, orange bombe, spice berry parfait, and lovely coffee crème brulee chocolates.

The Butlers Chocolate Experience is the perfect way to spend a weekend with the family this Christmas. More details about it and how to make a booking can be found here.

 

Photos by Manon Gustave

 

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