Zotter Schokoladen Manufaktur GmbH
I’ve been doing some random browsing on the internet the other day and I came across this interesting offer – a visit to a chocolate factory with a chance to try all the different kinds of chocolate they produce. All-you-can-eat of course! Like every other chocoholic, I didn’t have to think twice before I bought the tickets.
Zotter is known for two things: its chocolate being organic and fair trade. The inventor Josef Zotter has constantly invested in his products. He has been involved in fair trade since 2004, in 2005 his company converted to organic and in 2006 he opened his own Chocolate Factory. For this reason he is throughout Europe the only manufacturer who produces chocolates starting from the bean (bean-to-bar) exclusively in organic and fair quality. You can read more about Zotter on their official website.
Fair trade has just recently become a hot topic, talked about all around the world. Fair trade is an organized social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainability. Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as higher social and environmental standards.
Due to their fair trade policy, Zotter offers chocolates at a price, slightly higher than most chocolates. But I believe it’s a price worth paying, not only because of its social aspect but also because their chocolates taste amazing. A trip to their chocolate factory gives you the opportunity to try unlimited amounts of chocolates in all forms and the opportunity to taste the difference from the other chocolates.
Your trip starts at the Cocoa Cinema where you can see where Mr. Zotter gets the cocoa and understand what “fair trade” means. Your trip then continues through the so-called Bean-to-Bar-Manufacture where you get to know all the production steps from the roasting, via the fine milling up to the conching. Next stop is Cocoa Roasting Facility where you can taste freshly roasted cocoa beans from many different countries of origin.
One of the best parts for me was the Nougat-Spoon Fountain – where liquid nougat jumps from spoon to spoon and you get to taste as much of it as you want. I personally preferred the hazelnut version. Conching Time Machine is next– you get to taste dark chocolates with an increasing cocoa content, up to 100%! The later is a bit to bitter for my taste, but you should have a try yourself. Springing chocolate fountains are next – all amazing but the coffee flavored one was a winner for me. Labooko Cracker or as I like to call it “Chocolate Slot Machine” is by far the best part of the visit since you get to taste high-percentage cocoa blends and colourful fruit chocolates by cutting the chocolate bars by pulling on a slot machine like handle. Beware, this was already the point at which I was too full to have any more chocolate!
A Lollytop-Stairway to Heaven leads you to the drinking Chocolate online – the smallest cable car of the world which serves you drinking chocolate. You have to try all the different flavors before deciding which one you like the most and getting a full size serving of it. At this point, I really suggest you have a short break and have some water if you wish to continue with the tasting. Your trip is far from over at this point!
Mitzi-Blue Turntables are next – record players present the round chocolate bars in the mix. The trip continues with a Sake Bar for Creative Ones, nougsus-Paternoster – the exceptional nougat variations and balleros Roulette – nibbling wonders are rolling in copper kettles. Last but not least comes the Running Chocolate – hand-scooped chocolates wind themselves around a glass panorama.
You will end up at a chocolate store. You might feel really sick from all the chocolate and, like me, not even think about buying or eating any chocolate for at least a year. Big mistake! You should buy all the chocolates that you loved during tasting, otherwise you will regret it the next day! Like I did! But at least I have an excuse to go back again soon.