It would be difficult to visit Ireland and not see boxes of Butler’s chocolates. There are cafes scattered around the country and boxes of their chocolates can be found in train stations, airports, and gift shops. Our first exposure to Butler’s, though, was in New Zealand way back in 2006. A new cafe opened in our local mall that specialized in chocolates and hot drinks. The flavours were intriguing and they had the best mocha. Getting a box of Butler’s became a special treat for us and we said that if we ever visited Dublin, we would go to the factory. A box of Butler’s became my birthday present. We bought a box on Madeline’s first outing after she came home from the hospital. I would have a chocolate when I was up in the middle of the night with a screaming baby. When Scott and I were finally in Dublin together, we took a sentimental visit to Butler’s Chocolate Factory.
Butler’s Chocolate Factory is located in an industrial park and isn’t near any of the standard tourist stops. You’ll need to drive or take a taxi (we took a taxi). The factory has a cafe and small gift shop in the front.
Our tour group had no more than ten people and our guide was friendly and kept the chocolates rolling. The tour is very kid friendly and there are kid specific worksheets and activities for them to do.
The tour starts with a movie that takes you through the history of Butler’s. You then go through the interactive museum where everything you’ve ever wanted to know about making chocolate is laid out for you. There’s almost an overload of information (but it’s about chocolate, so who can complain??).
My favourite part of the tour is the actual factory tour, but unfortunately photos aren’t allowed. We were taken along an enclosed walkway above the factory floor and could see everything in action from start to finish. It blew my mind that this one factory produces every piece of Butler’s that you will see anywhere in the world. We watched expert chocolatiers make perfect truffles. I loved watching one woman package up boxes of chocolates at the speed of light. Each time I thought she would fall behind, she just didn’t. I wish I had photos to share because it’s something I would love to be able to relive.
The final part of the tour was to decorate a chocolate elephant. I’ll be honest–I was disappointed in this. I was hoping that we would get to do something with the actual Butler’s chocolates that we love. The table was laid out with the name of the person who booked your tour and each person had an already made chocolate elephant, a bowl of chocolate flakes, and some white chocolate. You could “decorate” your elephant with the white chocolate and chocolate flakes and that was the end of it. While I’m sure kids would love it, it was on the disappointing side for me.
Despite not being able to take photos of the actual factory portion of the tour, I would absolutely recommend visiting Butler’s Chocolate Experience. It’s a unique tour off the beaten track and you will leave stuffed with chocolate. Decorating the chocolate elephant is a bonus if you’re there with kids, but watching Butler’s chocolatiers make their magic is a memory that will stay with me.