A Chocolate Failure

Don’t let the sign fool you.  Welcomed, I was not.

Cadbury

It all started while on a walk with Helen on the Trans-Canada Trail east of Toronto.

Helen will stop and read every memorial plaque we encounter on our travels – without exception – and on this particular day we found one honouring the maker of the machinery that puts the caramel in the Caramilk bar.

 

Cadbury?  Did someone mention my favourite purveyor of chocolatey delights?

The only online references I could find to Mr Lester were to his 2016 obituary which appeared to now be closed to access.  I did however discover that Cadbury had a chocolate factory here in Toronto.  How could I have not known this earlier?!!

When it comes to chocolate, I tend to move swiftly and decisively, so without delay I embarked on the journey to an area of the city known as Dufferin Grove.

I found a very large, nondescript box of a building … and a large, imposing security guard.

“No, there aren’t any public tours except for school groups.”

“No, there is no public access to the factory museum except for school groups.”

“Please, I must insist you stop taking photos … especially of the signage.”

So I skulked away quietly.

Sometimes adventures end in disappointment.

129 comments

  1. Joanne my suggestion is to inquire by saying you are media and want to do a story of the factory or sweets in Toronto. when I Google it there have been articles written. Find a unique take on the story and pitch it to them. Of course you will need a tour to be part of your research. 🙂

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  2. Cadbury’s is rubbish anyways. It’s only recently they actually started putting proper chocolate in their goods because the EU said they couldn’t call it chocolate unless chocolate was in the recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s sad that the only way to get companies to do the *right* thing is to legislate it.

      Cadbury chocolate in Canada is quite good. It really is my favourite … but I don’t know what it’s like any where else. I understand that formulations are different from country to country to conform with the standards of that area.

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  3. Cadbury chocolates are delicious, but sound like they need to re-visit their no photo policy. In an age of social media, their rudeness will be noticed. As you’ve so graciously pointed out.

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  4. Hahaha Joanne you will just have to volunteer your services as organizer of school field trips!!! Accompany that field trip and any others that pique your interest, tolerate a bunch of noisy school kids in a bus and then quit with your belly full of chocolate!

    Peta

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    • Oh Peta – I can’t imagine anything that I want to do so badly that I would volunteer as a chaperone with a group of school children. We’re talking the stuff of nightmares now!! {shudder} 😉

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  5. Well! Only let school children in for tours. I think they’re missing the boat on that score. Maybe a call to the PR dept. and ask to have a tour and get some historical information for your blog?

    I hope you got some chocolate somewhere after that at least. I know I’d be craving some.

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  6. Cadbury is near the top of my list of totally-sold-out-wouldn’t-buy-if-you-paid me brands.
    It’s so sad that the company has gone from a socially forward-thinking family firm that built a whole village for its workers, to just another multi-national food conglomerate. They totally lost me when they started putting palm oil in the chocolate, which is a shame because I had no boycotting power left when they decided to close their (profitable) factory in NZ with the loss of 350 jobs — in a town where those jobs had a huge economic impact. There was a huge crowd-funded attempt to buy the factory and keep some of the products being made here, but I think that has fallen apart.
    Luckily, we have an excellent NZ owned and run chocolate manufacturer (Whittakers) which not only produces much better chocolate than Cadburys (including caramel-filled bars), but seems to manage to do so both profitably and ethically.
    Major relief, since I’m not sure my desire to be an ethical consumer could survive a total loss of chocolate.

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    • {gasp!} A life without chocolate is unthinkable!!

      What you describe is how I feel about Nestle. Fortunately I’m not a huge fan of their various brands, but the sadness is that the ‘soul’ of a company changes as it grows. By the time they become major conglomerates, their soul has become an artificial marketing mask. For all the good they do, and claim to do, there is also the inevitable damage … artificial ingredients, declining product quality, ‘right-sizing’ through automation and off-shoring, etc.

      Like you, I’m cheering for the small local startups.
      However, out of curiosity, I took a look at the chocolate I have in the house – Lindt (my husband’s preference) and Cadbury (mine). Neither of them have palm oil – or any oil – in them.

      As an aside, I learned recently that product formulations are different from country to country. In Canada, chocolate cannot be marketed as “chocolate” if it contains oil – commonly used in products with chocolate coatings. If it does, it has to be advertised/packaged as only chocolate-flavoured.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I feel that way about Nestle too!
        Cadbury here eventually bowed to local pressure about the palm oil, and apparently removed most of it (from the “local” chocolate), but a lot of damage was already done to the brand. And it came at a time when Whittakers was expanding and heavily promoting itself as truly local, fair-trade and as “proper” chocolate.
        I guess it makes sense that formulations would have to change to meet local food standards. Our standards must be lower than yours 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Good for you for following the signs (literally) Joanne, even though it ended in disappointment.
    The best plaque I ever saw was on an old house in downtown Toronto. Expecting it to be one of those historic plaques, I walked closer only to read, “On this place in 1867, absolutely nothing happened.”

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  8. Joanne, That’s terrible…I’d say that I’d join you in a boycott but I don’t think that I could follow through without an intervention to cure my chocolate addiction! Judy

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  9. I’m supposed to be getting ready for work but how can I resist a post about chocolate?? It’s always disappointing when chocolate factories don’t live up to our Roald Dahl fantasies. What you need to do is find yourself some friends with school aged friends and offer your services as a volunteer on excursions. Personally, I’d probably be desperate enough to get in that place to start calling schools and asking if they’re going to the chocolate factory this year and can I come please?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. HOW can you be more dangerous or unwieldy than a group of schoolchildren?!? Good gravy!
    There are two local places I want to get info about possible tours — Hostess and IMI building materials. I hope they do give tours and I hope they allow photos. If not, I will share my bummer moments as well.

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  11. Ha ha. There is a Cadbury factory here in Hobart. They have a shop and video info for the public but they stopped actual tours of the factory several years ago.

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    • Maybe I should be happy that my chocolate isn’t at risk of contamination from any old riff-raff off the street.
      … but no photos outdoors?! I mean, really … it wasn’t all that interesting to begin with 😉

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  12. One of my favorite photos (wish I could find it!), was a picture of a beautiful, rustic door that said “No photographers – deliveries only.”

    Great story – I hope your next adventure ends with some sweet and chocolate 🙂

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  13. I do not understand why someone is not allowed to take a photo of a sign. And when did a sign become “signage”? Is that supposed to make it more important? If you want to take a picture of a band, does the road manager ask that you not take a photo of the “bandage”? I give up.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. wow that is rude- I would email the CEO- but that’s just me 🙂 to let him know how poorly you were treated. And no photos? They should be glad for the free advertising!! You just might get some free samples and a personal tour if you let them know what happened!

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    • I know! As Dan said, only a meanie would turn away a chocolate fan … especially an über chocolate fan. I’m sure that I alone could bring their annual Cadbury Creme Egg sales to its knees. I should be legend 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • hmmm – this got me thinking.

      According to my research, Cadbury has a facility in Trinidad/Tobago that has tours 3 days a week.
      Perhaps I should go THERE for a Cadbury tour … say, in February.

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  15. Oh boo; I think you need to leak your post with a note that it is viewed worldwide. I don’t eat much candy and Cadbury is not on my shopping list now or in the future. Guess they also don’t realize that it’s the parents and mostly the grandparents that buy candies for the (school)children and P.O. a consumer is not good customer service.
    Come visit CA and see the Ghiradelli chocolates or the Jelly Belly Factory (they welcome everyone of all ages).

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  16. I visited the Cadbury factory in Bournville many years ago to look at their new Xerox colour copier ! (when Cadbury’s were still a British company, it’s owned by a large food corporation now) They loaded us up with chocolates to take home 🙂 Now I buy Thorntons chocolates (Italian) love their chocolate gingers, or Fairtrade. Think of the calories you saved 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • In fairness to him, the security guard was actually very polite and *almost* apologetic.
      I’m going to cut him some slack and not shoot the messenger.
      But seriously, Mr Cadbury! What are you thinking?!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! I was thinking the same thing and resisted the temptation to play the discrimination card. Is it my fault I’m old?!!
      Besides, it’s us old-timers who never outgrew our love of chocolate who deserve the greatest kindness! 😉

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    • The Hershey tours are legendary and perhaps one day I will finally make my way to Pennsylvania to see for myself.
      Sadly, I don’t particularly like Hershey chocolate, but one must pay homage to the delightfully addictive confection 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Glad you got that picture of the signage. That’ll show ’em. But I can understand why they don’t have public tours. I read in a book how many people come up missing in chocolate factory tours. They dive into vats of chocolate, try to swim in chocolate rivers, and get cut to pieces trying to grab bars as they pass through chopping equipment. Insurance companies refuse to cover public tours anymore.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Ahhh, what a bummer. To make you feel better, I don’t know what Caramilk is and have never tasted it. Imagine the pain! You could try telling them what we told to the guy at the Savica waterfall: We are four kids. He gave us students’ discount.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. They made that more embarrassing than it needed to be 😲😲😲 You should have just shouted that discontinuing the Wispa was the worst mistake they have *ever* made! That’d show ’em.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to go research a Wispa bar … they never made it to Canada. It sounds like it should have been a winner. Personally I think Cadbury chocolate is superior to Nestle chocolate, so while I’m not a fan of the Aerobar, I might have been of the Wispa.

      Liked by 1 person

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