Vision Impaired Heritage Group Gets Real Taster Of City’s Chocolate-Making Heritage

A group of 20 vision impaired history lovers were given a special hands-on introduction to Norwich’s chocolate-making heritage when they received a special sensory experience at the Bridewell Museum of Norwich.

Sight loss charity Vision Norfolk’s Heritage Group were invited to a special session where they were able to use touch, smell and taste to learn about the history of chocolate-making, the ingredients involved – and the finished product.

From handling an ancient Mexican metate (a large stone base and roller used to grind cocoa beans) and a wooden molinillo stick used for whisking hot chocolate, to smelling cocoa beans and spices and flavourings used to make chocolate, the session ended with a guided tasting of a variety of chocolate styles, right up to a very bitter 100% cocoa bar.

The group also heard about how chocolate came to Britain in the 16th century, and how it started to be manufactured by Albert Caley in Norwich in 1886 – culminating in the city centre factory which operated under various guises right up until 1996 when the then owner Nestle decided to shut up shop.

The visit was the latest in a series by the Heritage Group to the Bridewell Museum, and followed a special hands-on session earlier in the year exploring the city’s shoe-making history.

“We are really grateful to the team at the Bridewell Museum for once again going the extra mile to create a very special session designed for our vision impaired members,” said Mark Smith, leisure activities co-ordinator at Vision Norfolk.

“The fascinating presentation, combined with the opportunity to handle some of the museum’s exhibits – and taste some chocolate, of course – was much appreciated by the whole group.”

Vision Norfolk’s Heritage Group is one of a number of social and leisure activities organised by Vision Norfolk for vision impaired people across the county.  For more details of all the activities organised by the charity, visit, or phone 01603 573000, extension 341.

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