Located by the side of York racecourse stands a home with a chocolate heritage. The house is the former home of Noel Goddard Terry the grandson of Sir Joseph Terry the founder of the famous chocolate factory Terry’s of York. How many of you have had the pleasure of tapping open a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, especially at Christmas?
The family home was built in the Arts and Crafts style in 1927 surrounded by four acres of gardens. Goddards House is now owned by the National Trust and between 1982 and 2012 was used as their Yorkshire regional offices. It’s now been opened up to the public and visitors can explore this beautiful home for themselves. We started our tour in the Drawing Room where visitors are welcome to sit and relax on one of the comfortable sofas and browse archive copies of the chocolate factory in-house newspaper ‘Terry Times’.
Upstairs we viewed several of the bedrooms and Noel Terry’s office with his Underwood’s manual typewriter, his office window overlooking the gardens and his factory beyond. One of the former bedrooms now houses an exhibition on ‘The Terry Women’ featuring photos and memorabilia of the factory workers. Displayed on mantelpieces and small tables are collections of Terry’s chocolate boxes over the years. I recognised some of them as my mother and grandmother used to save the attractive boxes they had been given for Christmas or their birthdays and after all the chocolates had been eaten they would cherish them and use the boxes to store small items such as handkerchiefs and letters.
The company opened its Art Deco style factory in 1926 known as ‘The Chocolate Works’ and the Chocolate Orange was first produced in 1931. Since 2005, after the closure of the chocolate factory in York, Chocolate Oranges have been produced near Jankowice, Poland but surprisingly they are not actually sold in that country! In case you might not have had the pleasure of eating one of these chocolate delicacies I’ll describe it for you. The Terry’s Chocolate Orange comprises an orange shaped ball divided into twenty segments similar to an actual orange. Each ‘orange’ is then wrapped in orange foil and before eating a gentle tap on the foil is needed to separate the segments.
Stepping outdoors into the warm sunshine we strolled through the gardens which comprise yew hedged ‘garden rooms’ and a grass tennis court where visitors can borrow racquets and balls and enjoy a game as the Terry family once did.
The gardens were designed to complement the house, in addition to formal bedding displays there are water features and hidden pathways. The original glass house is still used today by the Goddard’s gardeners. At the far end of the garden lies the York racecourse and just beyond the former Terry’s chocolate factory.
We then settled down on the elegant rattan chairs out on the Lavender Terrace and ordered slices of Terry’s signature chocolate orange cake with our morning coffees. The cake was delicious, combining the flavours the Terry family made famous, together with the trademark chocolate orange segment sitting on top. When the weather is not so favourable, refreshments can be enjoyed in the 1930’s style Terry’s Dining Room.
Have you eaten any Terry’s of York products such as Terry’s All Gold, Terry’s York Fruits or the Chocolate Orange? Do let me know and it would be interesting to find out in which countries you have bought them. My all time favourite Terry’s product was Terry’s Neapolitans (small chocolate squares in various flavours) but sadly these ceased production when the factory closed in 2005 so I now buy the similar Lindt ones instead.