When I was a child I thought that visiting a real chocolate factory would be a dream come true. Many years later formally an adult but still very childish in manner occasionally, especially when it comes to food according to my loving husband, I did visit an actual chocolate factory. In November 2013 my husband and I visited Zotter chocolate factory in Riegersburg, Austria. Firstly, we wandered around nearby town of Graz and then in the afternoon we went on our visit of the Zotter chocolate factory. The visit costs 14.90€ for an adult but it also includes the all important tasting of chocolate.
Our visit started with a short viewing of the company’s history in a small cinema-like room.The film also explained briefly the origins of chocolate and its production. Then we were given audio-guides and a pretty ceramic spoon for the tasting. We weren’t supposed to keep the spoon but we did 🙂 You can taste everything you see and at the end of the visit you find yourself in a cafe-like room where you can make yourself one hot chocolate. There are clear signs stating only one hot chocolate per person ( we did comply to that rule). Of course, you left the factory via the gift shop but after a lot of hard thinking I didn’t buy anything. You are probably asking yourself: she left a chocolate factory without a single bar of chocolate? Yes, I did. Frankly, by the end of the visit I was almost sick with the mere thought of seeing another chocolate let alone eating one.
So, let’s go back to the beginning of the tasting. Warning! Don’t eat the first chocolate you see because that one is 100% pure cocoa and it’s completely disgusting. As you move along the corridors you try different percentage of chocolate and you can also try milk chocolate and white chocolate which isn’t actually chocolate. After that you come to the section of flavoured chocolate and there you can find all imaginable and impossible combinations (my favourite ones were with hazelnuts and with caramel 🙂 I know a classical choice). Some of the chocolate you try is in the liquid form and some is in the form of small chocolate pieces. At each chocolate fountain/container there’s a sign stating how much you can taste (no take away is allowed ). It’s usually one spoon of chocolate pieces or one spoon of liquid chocolate (hence the spoon in your hands).
There were a lot of people and we all moved slowly from one chocolate room to another. I tasted so much chocolate!! I have to say that I’m not a big fan of the more pure chocolate, anything above 50 % for me is rarely good. I like the old-fashioned milk chocolate with hazelnuts for example. I mixed a pretty good hot chocolate for myself at the end though. All the chocolate I ate tasted like nothing I tried before. Probably because this chocolate brand uses a bit different chocolate than all the usual big chocolate brands that can be found in any supermarket. Theirs chocolate is organic and fair-trade which is very commendable.They also work with small farmers and take care of the environment which has earned them an EMAS certificate. They are also ˝the only company in the whole of Europe that produces chocolate from bean to bar˝!
So, did I enjoy my visit to Zotter chocolate factory? Yes, I did. It was very informative and fun. But did I like their chocolate? Not really, honestly. It was probably down to the sheer amount of chocolate that I had or maybe the crazy mixes I ate such as fish chocolate. All in all, Milka or Lindt chocolates are still my favourite chocolates for daily use 🙂
To find out more about Zotter chocolate factory click here
P.s. I’ve done the chocolate museum in Prague but not the one in Brussels. However, I bought some excellent chocolate pralines in Bruges though