As we had enjoyed many artsy landscapes and had had a lot of fun, we decided it was high time for something delicious. Apart from that, we had burnt many calories so Bianca decided that she wanted “chocolate for breakfast”, Schnapps for lunch and a bite of delicious ham in the afternoon.
Zotter Chocolate Factory – Bean to Bar
It took us 2 minutes to book the 9 AM tour at the Zotter Chocolate Factory in South East Styria, near the Riegersburg. Already before the tour actually started, we started trying the delicious chocolates. They really make sure their guests are not starving. After a 15-minute video illustrating the history of Josef Zotter’s ascent from a semi-successful chocolatier to the chocolate kingpin of Austria and one of the eight best chocolate producers in the world, the tour started. Having learnt that the production is highly sustainable and all ingredients are organic and totally bio – sourced by the Zotter family in Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua and India, we were ready to get stuffed with the brown gold and its calories.
The first stop tastes interesting but not really delicious. You can taste cocoa beans … before they get processed and turned into chocolate and, most importantly, before any sugar is added. And this is what you can taste … sugar to come soon but not yet added. So it tastes very bitter and even a little sour … really like a sip of bad wine. The next station will still not satisfy the real “sweet like chocolate bars”-chocolate lovers, the chocolate is warm and liquid but still … no sugar added. After you survived that and provided you don’t show any sign of bad conscious, the rest of the tour will be a true chocolate indulgence. Every product can be tried … and will be tried. After the first stations enjoying the taste of many different sorts of chocolate and sweets, it is time for a drink … hot chocolate. From the smallest chocolate gondola in the world, we picked two hot chocolate bars and continued our journey through chocolate paradise. After a few more stations, we had made it until the running chocolate, Zotter’s interpretation of running sushi. Bianca tried fish coconut chocolate and found out it tastes like coconut. After that we decided that our gluttony got to somehow find an abrupt end, we headed out towards the edible zoo – Zotter’s newest project. We walked through the nice area and watched all the animals, enjoyed a glass of homemade lemonade (Tom tried the chocolate coke as if he had not gotten enough chocolate before).
Gölles – Fruit to Schnapps and Vinegar
Our next stop was Gölles, a high-class Schnapps and Vinegar production. They offer a walking tour through the plant, where you can walk through by yourself and learn everything about the production of vinegar, schnapps and fine liqueurs. It also includes 4 Schnapps that you get to enjoy at the end of the tour. All products can be tried at the end … and of course bought for home.
Vulcano – Pig to Ham
After we had tried all vinegars and some of the schnapps, we continued our tour to Vulcano – one of Styria’s finest ham manufacturers. The tour there lasts around 30 minutes and provides an insight into their animal farming as well as the production of the finest ham. The tour ends with a tasting – a little plate with bread and a selection of five different types of ham.