Zotter Chocolate Manufactory: A different sin for every day
Chocolate is known to make you happy; if it’s also organic and fair trade, there’s even more reason to smile! Just like the small, brazenly designed gourmet chocolate bars from Zotter. Whether spicy chilli pepper, nutty nougat or sweet strawberry: there is at least one flavour for everyone’s liking. The quality and production of his award-winning works of art were honed over decades of devotion: chocolatier and nonconformist Josef Zotter was not likely born on the sweet and chocolaty side of life…
Marketing strategy or simple temptation? The Zotter family currently sells 365 different types of chocolate and is very successful indeed…
Don’t let it fool you, though, since their path to success was anything but easy: in 1987, Ulrike and Josef Zotter opened up their own pastry shop under the same name. In no time at all, their homemade sweets were selling like hotcakes. While the Sachertorte and Prinzregententorte were flying off the shelves in the front of the shop, the creative cook and pastry chef couldn’t get away and began conching his first chocolates in the next room. The result will captivate your senses: cinnamon poppy seed, hemp, champagne – each a unique piece of ingenuity and homemade artistry densely packed in 70 gram bars. The first handmade chocolate quickly became the secret of true connoisseurs.
Almost ten years later in 1996, things took a turn for the worse for the Zotter family: they had no choice but to close three of their four pastry shops and file for bankruptcy. Joseph still believed in his sweet dream and opened the Zotter Chocolate Manufactory in the former stable on his parent’s farm.
Direct contact in the production countries
The organic farmer travelled to the production countries of Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and India where he sought and received direct contact with the farmers to improve the quality of raw materials and make the switch to fair trade. The creative chocolate workshop was booming! Within a few years, it developed into the most modern, model manufacturing company that was capable of producing its entire product range organically. As a matter of fact, Joseph would have been able to sit back and enjoy the sweet side of life but the maverick had other plans. „Bean-to-bar“ is the name of his newest company recipe; it’s also the concept he invested 18 million euros toward in 2007 to process chocolate directly from the cocoa bean. Since his creativity knew no bounds, he created and refined many new varieties of chocolate. The manufacturer opened its so-called Choco Shop Theatre where visitors can watch their favourite chocolate being made live. The company also won numerous awards for eco-quality, management, innovation and design.
Today, Zotter is a company with 160 employees at its Bergl, Styria location in Austria and 50 employees at its subsidiary in Shanghai, China. The Styrian farmer’s son was selected among the best chocolate manufacturers in the world in 2012 and was the recipient of the International Chocolate Award in the filled chocolate category as of 2014. But the icing on the cake came from the quiet entrepreneur himself: his daughter Julia entered the creative workshop and presented her own bold creations such as Hokkaido lime, balsam orange and R.I.P. (rice in paradise), the last being an example of a lactose-free chocolate concoction corresponding to the vegan nutritional trend.
An organic adventure farm and food culture: the Edible Zoo invites young and old to take part in animal fun and relaxation where old domestic animal breeds live and regional fruits and vegetables thrive. In the ecological eatery, enjoy meals right from the company’s own fields and gardens surrounded by nature. An open-air experience with many animals and crazy Zotter ideas. It’s an „organic“ approach you can truly grasp. Zotter based the Edible Zoo on transparency, sustainability and innovation.
The Zotter Chocolate Manufactory in Riegersburg, Austria. The manufactory is open to visitors. There are special tasting tours available through the Choco Shop Theatre. The price of admission for adults is 14.90 euros which includes entrance to the Edible Zoo. Children under three years of age enter for free.
In the future, we can also plan our daily chocolate debauchery and allow ourselves to feel giddy about which new taste sensations will soon spoil our taste buds.
Zotter handmade chocolates with unique artistic designs are especially well liked. Above: amaretto marzipan. Tempting layers of filling are piled up, covered with a homemade chocolate couverture and fused into an ever striking taste experience. In a special in-house process, fruit and nut couvertures are created to add even more flavour and colour to a life of chocolate. What remains is mainly elaborate packaging made by Andreas h. Gratze. These chocolates are very popular even as gifts with a suitable bar for nearly every occasion…