CADBURY WORLD, DUNEDIN
Mmmm...chocolate. And lots of it. About 3,500 tonnes of the stuff piled from floor to ceiling on hundreds of palettes.
A chocoholics daydream? No, just the warehouse at the Cadbury factory in Dunedin. And one stop on the official Cadbury World tour of that factory.
Cadbury World is the visitor experience attached to the confectionery factory located on Cumberland Street, about halfway between two of Dunedin's most famous locations: the Octagon and the railway station.
The experience begins with a display on the origins of chocolate and the associated industry, with lots of fascinating insights into human sacrifices among the historic cultures of south America, chocolate as a medicine and favored drink of the nobility, and much more. Don't miss the chance to try a cocoa bean in its raw form.
Once you've finished browsing, the tour proper starts. First off is a DVD presentation of the history of Cadbury and the Dunedin location in particular, as well as a short safety message.
Once bags and jewellery are safely stowed away in a secure locker (note: cameras must also be left behind), a guide takes you through various parts of the factory, where you can see many of the production processes that turn cocoa beans into those tasty snacks.
As a special fashion bonus, you get to wear a rather fetching paper hat. It keeps hairs out of the chocolate.
The factory produces chocolates of all shapes and sizes, from individual chocolate buttons to massive 12.5kg chocolate bricks for trade use. The guide's talks are supplemented by regular video presentations and posters. And you'll be pleased to hear you get to eat plenty of samples of what you see being made.
The tour highlight is to witness a tonne of melted chocolate fall through a deep silo before your very eyes. If you're unlucky (lucky?), some of it might splash on you, so take care.
Outside of the tour proper, though only accessible to tour participants, is a shop selling pretty much every Cadbury product imaginable at discount prices, as well as themed gift items like a DIY chocolate kit, postcards and similar.
Prebooking is recommended, but you may be able to tag onto a tour the same day. As it's a working factory, there is no guarantee that all or any of the machinery will be in operation when you visit. But the tour is worth doing anyway for the guide and video presentations (and free chocolate).
Our guides were friendly, helpful and knowledgable. The insides of a factory are fascinating, even if industrial architecture isn't your thing. And it's surprising what you can learn about something as commonplace as chocolate. For example...
- although Cadbury is a world brand, some of the chocolate bars produced in Dunedin are for local consumption only, with chocolate flavors found nowhere else in the world.
- Dunedin's "Curly Wurly" bars are also exported to the UK...the original home of Cadbury.
- Some of the machines pump out chocolate bars at a rate of 700 bars a minute. That's an awful lot of chocolate.
- The Dunedin factory produces particularly tasty chocolate thanks to the rich nature of the local Otago milk.
- A staggering forty million Easter eggs disappear into New Zealand stomachs in the week after Easter. Staggering because there are only around four million people in the country.
Chocolate fan or not, Cadbury World is definitely worth a visit.