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Chocoholics get their own 'Willy Wonka' experience

Chocolate lovers will be able to visit a new 'Willy Wonka'-style factory which opens its doors today.

The Irish-owned Butlers company has opened its new 'Chocolate Experience' at its headquarters at Clonshaugh near Coolock in north Dublin.

And with a range of smooth, delicious chocolate to whet the appetite, organisers are hoping it will appeal to the same audience that has made the Guinness Storehouse the country's leading tourist attraction.

Chairwoman Mairead Sorensen said: "We have wanted to do something like this for many years.

"The tour guides you through the history of chocolate and documents the differences between dark, white and milk chocolate.

"People can view how we make our chocolate in the tanks and sample different types along the way," she said.

"They will be able to see the traditional way of making fudge and how Easter Eggs are spun into shape."

The company, which is owned by the Sorensen family, was established in Dublin in 1932 and opened its first Butlers Chocolate Cafe in Dublin in 1998.

There are 14 Butlers Cafes across Dublin, Cork, and Galway and the company has an annual turnover of €28m.

The new centre offers group tours and will give chocolate lovers nationwide the chance to learn and experience the work and passion that goes into making one of Ireland's most famous chocolate brands.

The tour costs €12.50 per person and is open from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Irish Independent