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While writing this story I have the best inspiration and motivation possible. CHOCOLATE. Hey, it’s a crucial part of the story, so I don’t feel quilty having a bite at all.
We were planning this trip for about 3 years. It wasn’t our priority, but it was always at the back of our minds, a quiet reminder, that we have to make the time and visit the Zotter chocolate factory one day. Until we finally did. We try not to have any expectations, because you never know if you don’t know anything about something. The only feeling present was the excitement, we were after all going to visit a CHOCOLATE FACTORY. We bought the tickets online and the journey began.
While writing this story I have the best inspiration and motivation possible. CHOCOLATE
There are two chocolate factories. One is located in Shanghai, China and the other one in Bergl, Austria. This is the one we visited. The factory is placed in a stunning, rural environment in the South East of Austria. The surroundings are spectacular with a lot of places to visit and a lot to do. Such as rock climbing on a near by castle or go to a concert on a lake. Also there are a lot of local farmers in the area. It’s place of tranquility and a perfect energy recharger.
The factory is placed in a stunning, rural environment in the South East of Austria.
The Chocolate factory visit started with a kind greet from the chocolate factory team and a short video presentation in which Mr. Zotter explained his family’s philosophy. His family’s story and point of view is also the main reason why I am writing this story. Because it is pretty amazing. Mr. Zotter seems like a pretty artistic type of a person, which is probably a charateristic every pastry chef has in his soul. The family is a big believer in knowing their farmers and knowing the ingredients they buy, use in their products and the ingredients we eventually buy and eat. Which I think is beyond amazing and the way things should be. We were ready to roll and try all the goodies waiting for us, they have a lot of chocolate products, and I really mean A LOT.
Everyone got their own audio (available in around 10 languages) + their own spoon, for the tasting. The first stop was trying out different cacao beans, from all around the world, like Nicaraqua, Africa, Belize, Dominican Republic, Ecuador etc.
Chocolate tasting tip: We learnt that the right way to try out different kinds of chocolates is to put a small piece of it on the tongue, so that it slowly melts in your mouth and that every tastings bud can react to it. It is also important to make small sips of water in between, to clear any taste from your taste buds.
The discovery after trying out all of those cocoa beans was life changing. I realized I prefer light, nutty cacao beans, from Africa and Dominican Republic. Jernej on the other side loved the more strong flavour, full of character cocoa beans, from Ecuador. That was pretty amazing to me, since usually I don’t pay attention to where the cocoa comes from, which was foolish, since that is the most important thing about chocolate.
The discovery after trying out all of those cocoa beans was life changing.
We continued our way to the actual factory, where we could see through the huge glass windows the process of cleaning the cocoa beans, that come directly from the organic farms from around the world. The next process is roasting the cocoa beans. This is the part where the flavour comes to life, similar to coffee. Here we were tasting the cocoa nibs from different countries, that were already roasted, as opposed to the cocoa beans we tried at the beginning, that were raw. The difference was masmerizing and this happened only with roasting.
Zotter chocolate factory was not an unknown place for us, we previously bought different kinds of treats for hot chocolate, but nothing convienced us, because there was always something added to the mix, like different fruits or other spices, yet both me and Jernej prefer the raw chocolate with a higher % of cocoa beans.
At this point of the Chocolate factory visit we were blown away, because first, we didn’t expect that the love and care of the cocoa was so deep for this family and on the other hand, we didn’t know, that they produce some of the most delightful, tasteful covertues from all those cocoa beans we got to know at the beginning but also from all kinds of organic nuts.
Our taste buds were the happiest at this stop. We were trying out different chocolate and nut covertures. The chocolate palete is so fascinating, since you can try everything from vegan white chocolate, white rice chocolate, milk chocolate or even raw 90% cacao chocolate coverture.
The next thing was the paradise for another one of our senses, the nose. There was a long corridor in front of us that offered a wide variety of spices and condiments that are later added to different chocolates. Finding the right spice is equally important as finding the right cacao and the right combination of both is probably the ticket to heaven on Earth. This was the last segment of the basic learning process of what the final product actually consisits of.
What came after was a tasting paradise. On this point of the visit we already ate too much, so please, don’t make the same mistake. There is so much more to come, because what follows is a one in a life time opportunity to try out ALL the products Zotter factory holds and makes in the factory. We are talking delectable hot chocolates, corn flakes covered in chocolate and nut covertures, pralines with various fillings, chocolates with fruity, nutty, florally and even meat filling and so on. The possibilities are almost endless.
After our tummies couldn’t handle it anymore and we bought all the chocolate that was the most mind blowing for us, we were so incredibly happy, that what came next was a walk around the Zotter farm. We thought this is going to be a half an hour walk, but at the end we spent 4 hours on the farm. It was a sunny day and even though there were a lot of visitors everyone could find a place to chat and have a good, leisure time.
For the cherry on top, we said goodbye with a perfect lesson. At the end of the day, it’s not only about the delicious, mouthwatering chocolate or the gorgeous farm. It’s so much more. It’s about respecting the nature, appreciating, respecting and helping the farmers around the globe, to be treated well for their hard work and to basically learn more about where our food comes from and how many people are involved in the process. You can find more information HERE.
Other amazing things to visit in the area:
- Castle Riegersburg. We went and loved it here. They have a few museums, also great for rock climbers.
- We didn't visit these one, because we were too late, but it it on your way to the castle. For those who love cheese. Fromagerie zu Riegersburg.
- The biggest carpet exhibition in Europe. Rohani Teppiche, located in a gorgeous castle.
The story is not sponsored. We find it important, since it really touched us on so many different levels and our vision for sustainable foods and surroundings is similiar. For some a cute family trip with kids, for others a learning process. Whatever it is, the decision is yours, but it is worth paying a visit and having fun.