The Zotter Chocolate Factory is a family-run business and farm located in the small town of Riegersburg, Austria. The whimsical father is chocolatier Josef Zotter, famous for selling hand-made organic and fair trade chocolate with care and consideration.
The chocolate tour called ”Zotter Experience World” makes this factory amazing. The tour is an elaborately designed and entertaining activity where you can sample an unlimited amount of Zotter’s chocolates and products. There are over 15 different stations to taste and indulge in the factory’s organic and fair-trade delicacies. Each station has 3-6 products to try.
However, I warn you that despite the initial excitement upon beginning the tour – where the temptation of eating large quantities of their chocolates is strong – I suggest using your willpower and starting slow and small.
The more you walk through the tour, the more variety of products to taste awaits you. The worst thing that can happen is becoming too full of chocolate halfway through the tour – where you can’t possibly enjoy more!
How To Get to the Zotter Chocolate Factory
Before you arrive at the Zotter Chocolate Factory, do yourself a favor and first reserve a ticket to avoid waiting in the registration line and wait an hour for the next tour.
There are two ways to get to the chocolate factory:
- With a car, it’s a two-hour drive from Vienna
- By train, it’s a one-hour train ride from Graz to the town of Feldbach. From Feldbach, you will need to use a bus (only available during the school season) or taxi, which you may have to call ahead of time to pick you up.
What to Expect on the Zotter Experience World Tour
The first activity you’ll experience at the Zotter Experience World chocolate factory tour is watching a short film. You’ll learn about Joseph Zotter, his passion for the cocoa delicacy, and the fair-trade process. He is one of the few independent bean-to-bar producers in Europe, offering organic and fair-trade quality chocolate.
Once the film is over, you can now enter a tasting expedition with chocolate! Here are some features you will experience:
- Bean-to-Bar-Manufacture & Cocoa Roasting Facility – Here, you get to taste all the steps to making chocolate, from the roasting to the fine milling and refining the chocolate
- Nougat-Spoon Fountain – Try liquid nougat creations from fountains along a hallway, and play the “guess the aroma” game
- Lollypop-Stairway to Heaven – Chocolate lollipops lined along a stairway for tasting
- Drinking Chocolate – The smallest cable car in the world serves you liquid chocolate drinks. The cinnamon honey drink is delicious!
- Mitzi-Blue Turntables – Sample a variety of Zotter’s MitziBlue chocolates on spinning record players
- Balleros Roulette – Nibble on chocolate Balleros balls placed in copper kettles
- Running Chocolate – hand-scooped chocolates present themselves moving along a conveyor belt.
Special and Creative Chocolates
Many of Zotter’s chocolate bars are hand-scooped and filled. Each bar is formed by hand, with six different layers of chocolate. The final result is a rectangular, smooth product without the typical dents and carvings you’d generally see on a chocolate bar.
In addition, the Zotter chocolate factory provides the most creative flavors I’ve ever heard of, like:
- Balsamic Orange, Basmati Rice with Saffron, Cheese-Walnut-Grapes, Bacon-Bits, Pink Coconut, Fish Marshmallow, Tequila with Salt and Lemon, Spiced Marzipan and Cinnamon, Muscat Wine and Grapes, Cinnamon Apple, and Honey, Pear Cardamom, Chili ”Birds Eye,” Plum Brandy, Pistachio, Nougat, Cashew, Pineapple, Toasted Nuts, and Lavender
Plus, you can personalize your chocolate bar at their gift shop.
Edible Farm and Restaurant
Don’t forget to visit Zotter’s ”Edible Zoo!” Walkthrough the organic farmland, where you can “look food in the eyes:”
Animals and plants are creatures and no products. Therefore we intend to treat them with love and respect. Being self-sufficient and autonomous had always been Josef Zotter’s dream. With the Edible Zoo, he has made his dream come true. Now he asks all visitors to take their places to enjoy what is thriving in the Edible Zoo. Species-appropriate animal husbandry on 68 hectares (27 hectares are directly behind the manufacture), with numerous farm animals threatened by extinction, energy-autonomous, and a closed ecological cycle. –Zotter Website
The Edible Zoo places emphasis on transparency, sustainability, and innovation. Therefore, their restaurant Essbar allows you to enjoy food directly from their meadows and gardens.
Walking around the farm is quite an enjoyable and entertaining experience. Included is a chocolate cemetery where unsuccessful flavors like ”Banana Curry” and ”Red Cabbage and Caramel” lay to rest.