You’re about as much use as a chocolate teapot!” I was once told as a young labourer on a building site, trying to earn a bit of cash after finishing school.

I must admit, I was a bit offended at the time and have, until now, always considered it to be an insult – albeit a fairly mild one by construction industry standards.

Turns out, I was wrong, as I discovered on a trip to the home of all things chocolate-related Cadbury World.

During a Willy Wonka-style tour of the chocolate palace in Bourneville on the edge of Birmingham, I had the chance to not only watch chocolate teapots being made, but to choose the decoration and lettering for the side. And, having already eaten a good half of the spout, I can tell you it’s a very useful thing indeed!

Cadbury World is a strange kind of place. There can be nowhere else in the world where a former factory has been turned over to so comprehensively celebrating every detail of the product for which it is famous.

Within the towering Victorian block, a family attraction has been created which pays tribute to the sweet stuff which has been made in England’s second city since the early 1800s.

A curious mix of industrial education, history, fantasy and fun, it celebrates every aspect of the iconic cocoa bean product and its history in the city. After a couple of hours, chocoholics emerge not only with new found respect for the product begun by the Cadbury family to supplement their tea and coffee business, but an expert knowledge in the history of cocoa, the processes involved in turning it into confectionary and the firm’s long history of marketing and advertising.

My kids are genuinely obsessed by the place – one having visited four times in as many years... and, having made a repeat visit last weekend, professing he would happily go again tomorrow.

So what’s there? Well one starts, promisingly enough outside the world’s biggest Cadbury shop, to be presented with a couple of free samples (Dairy Milk and Crunchie, in case you’re interested) before being transported into the steamy depths of the Mexican jungle, where the Aztec Montezuma is about to lose his kingdom – and the secret of chocolate – to the conquistador Hernando Cortés.

Oxford Mail:

The walk through diorama is well done with lifelike models and plenty of foliage and pools of water. From there we walk into 19th century Brum and with the help of a 3D projection learn about the Cadbury family and the Quaker ethics which guided their business and their groundbreaking commitment to corporate social responsibility.

After that, it’s onto the chocs themselves as we are guided through the process from cocoa pod to bar – physically shaken up, blown about and roasted courtesy of some nifty 4D cinema effects.

While not a factory tour, you do get to see the chocolatiers at work – and can order your own chocolate teapot (or high-heeled shoe or, topically, Easter egg), and try your hand at spreading chocolate on a work surface and writing with the stuff. All great fun.

Then there’s more eating as you are invited to make your own treat by adding toppings to a mix (warning: they are very generous with the popping candy!).

The tour continues with a daft, but great fun tour in little cars of an imaginary chocolate world populated only by cheery choco-beings called Chuckle Beans. This could well be the highlight if you are visiting with younger kids.

A section on iconic Cadbury packaging and TV adverts is nostalgic – and includes an animatronic gorilla drumming its way through the Phil Collins track In The Air Tonight (or perhaps the erstwhile Genesis drummer is once again in the gorilla suit himself. Has anyone seen him lately?).

Oxford Mail:

The tour ends with a kids activity zone and another daft, but also amusing 4D cinema screening revolving around a roller coaster ride and featuring the disturbingly sensuous rabbit from the Caramel adverts, Freddo the frog and an out of control parrot. Or maybe that was all a weird chocolate dream?

I’d better go back and find out.

The essentials

VISIT: Cadbury World, Linden Road, Bournville, Birmingham. Booking is essential.

EASTER: Until April 28, Cadbury World is inviting families to enjoy a brand new live stage show, Mr Cadbury’s Parrot and the Missing Mini Eggs. On Bank Holiday Weekend, the Easter Bunny will lay out an Easter egg trail through its chocolate zones with a special prize.