From cocoa beans to a wide variety of different chocolates, we found Zotter Chocloate Factory Tour to be Heaven on Earth. At one point we considered barricading ourselves in and just gorging on chocolate. But we not only ate to our hearts content, we also had a chance to learn about the whole process and appreciate what it takes to make a great bar.
I love chocolate
Awhile back as I was sitting on a bench in the local park, an acquaintance mentioned Zotter Chocolate Factory Tour and how great it was. I stopped listening after she said chocolate, because I was already convinced.
I Googled it and did my share of research, getting more and more excited. This looked like a place the whole family would enjoy.
Zotter Chocolate Factory
Near Graz, that is South East Austria, you can find the chocolate factory called Zotter. According to an international chocolate test, it’s owner Josef Zotter is one of the best chocolatiers in the world.
And at this factory you can take a tour, where they show you how their chocolate is made from bean to bar.
Zotter Chocolate Factory Tour
The tour started off with a short film about the family Zotter, their humble beginnings and their dedication to produce chocolate from fair trade organic beans.
Towards the end of it, I was already thinking about the chocolate, anxiously awaiting to try more than 300 types of chocolate.
After the film we got spoons and phones and we headed for a self-guided tour. All my Slovenian readers will be excited to hear that they can listen to a Slovenian guide. These phones explain everything that you see through the glass – production area and everything that is in front of you. All the chocolate you can try.
The tour takes about an hour and a half, even longer if you go slowly. You bet we did.
Our favorite parts of the tour:
- Learning how it starts and tasting freshly roasted cocoa beans from different countries of origin. We realized beans do taste differently – some we liked better than others.
- Springing chocolate fountains. This is the place where we wanted to stay forever. The tour guide on the phone warned us not to gorge ourselves and expect more chocolate along the way, but we were like: ‘This is good enough. We could stay here indefinitely.’
- Conching Time Machine. Here we tried little pieces of heaven that were worth popping open the first two buttons on my jeans.
- Drinking Chocolate online. Where the smallest cable car in the world serves you drinking chocolate. You pick a taste you’d like and they make you delicious hot chocolate. I chose coffee and cardamom.
- Running Chocolate. Hand-scooped chocolates wind themselves around a glass panorama. Even though by the time we reached it, this is namely the last thing on the tour, we were full. We still had a few and then we promised ourselves we’d swear off chocolate. We didn’t. Because we bought some bars at the shop – for the next day ?.
After you are done with the factory there’s a zoo with farm animals and playgrounds at the back. We walked a little bit, to try and burn a calorie or two before driving back home.
My favorite was a small graveyard of failed ideas. There are gravestones with flavors that they’ve tried at the factory but didn’t work. It shows the humor and playfulness that is behind the work they do.
Adult ticket is 16,90 euros. For all other prices check the official website.
The ticket includes both the tour and the visit to the zoo.
How to get here?
It’s located in Riegersburg, in the eastern part of Styria, southeast of Graz. The easiest way to reach it is by car. Just type this into your navigational system:
Zotter Schokoladen Manufaktur GmbH, Bergl 56, 8333 Riegersburg, AUSTRIA
There’s free parking next to the factory.
Go after lunch so you aren’t hungry, but are craving something sweet. Pace yourself. Actually you know what, don’t. Enjoy yourself.
Try everything you are interested in, because when are you going to get another chance.
And let kids do the same. We gave them free reign. Of course, by the end, they started complaining that they had too much. Maybe now they’ll understand why we say no to too much chocolate.
But when you are at the chocolate factory, you should all act like little kids and have too much.
The kids say?
‘Thank you, Mum and Dad. You are the best!’
‘This is the best day of my life.’ – I am thinking, yeah, mine too.