We love variety. Nature shows us how beautiful and surprising variety is. 365 different chocolates are produced in our chocolate manufacture in Riegersburg (Styria, Austria). One chocolate for each day of the year. From way-out to classic. We celebrate individual taste with extravagant varieties such as ”Artificial Fertiliser“, ”Wine Duo - right and left“ and hit creations such as ”Coffee Toffee“ and ”Black & White“.
According to an international chocolate test, Zotter ranks amongst the best chocolatiers in the world. Our small manufacture, which was once provisionally set up in my parents' stable, has grown into a centre of competence for chocolate. We create our chocolates in-house, bean-to-bar, and employ a team of 160 dedicated employees.
By now, our hand-scooped chocolates enjoy cult status. At Zotter, everything is possible: cheese chocolate, fish chocolate, mass wine and incense chocolate and now the refreshing ”Verjuice - Green Grapes” creation. Each year, lots of new varieties are added to our product range. But what would our chocolates be without the fascinating illustrations of Andreas h. Gratze, a.k.a. AHG? With his art design he turns a simple wrapper into art.
We produce everything in organic and fair-trade quality because we care about what happens to the people and the environment. We deliberately work with small farmers, visit our cocoa farmers and also invite them to our manufacture. Because quality begins with the raw material and cultivation on-site and depends on good cooperation. Aside from organic and fair-trade, we are now also EMAS certified. This certification specifically focuses on the environmental protection of the entire company, which has been rated as exemplary.
We have opened a second Choco Shop Theatre in Shanghai and export our chocolates, together with the ”environmental idea”, to China, to get the 23 million inhabitants of the booming metropolis excited about organic and fairly traded chocolates from Austria. Our daughter Julia (27) runs the ”world of experience”, that is by now a very popular place.
Josef Zotter, born on February 21, 1961, in Feldbach (Styria).
Chocolatier, organic farmer and different-doer.
Josef Zotter is a trained chef and waiter, pastry chef, and, for longer periods of time, worked as chef and head chef in various luxury hotels, even in New York, among other places. Josef Zotter is married to Ulrike Zotter and father of three children.
1987 Founding of the Zotter family business: Together with his wife Ulrike Zotter, the 26-year-old Josef Zotter opens up the Zotter confectionary shop in Glacisstraße in Graz. The unusual creations such as "hemp slice", "the funny pie" and "scarlet runner bean roll with coriander" earn regional fame. Josef Zotter expands and opens up three more branches.
In 1992, Josef Zotter begins to produce chocolates in the back office of the confectionary shop in Graz and invents the hand-scooped chocolate, a mixture of inventiveness and handwork, filled in layers and plies. Also new are the 70 g format and the chocolate coating instead of the cubed breaking pattern. The varieties of the first hour: poppyseed-cinnamon, pumpkin brittle with marzipan, hemp, crudités, champagne and grilled walnuts with marzipan.
In 1994, chocolate and art blend together. Art designer Andreas h. Gratze turns the packaging into little works of art.
In 1999, the Zotters decide to bank entirely on chocolate. In the former stable of the parental farm, the z o t t e r chocolate manufacture is opened.
2007 Expansion of the manufacture to bean-to-bar production and to the Choco Shop Theatre.
Bean-to-bar: Zotter invests 18 million to process chocolate directly from the cocoa bean onwards. The fairly traded organic cocoa is purchased directly, roasted, ground, milled and conched. With this, Zotter lays the foundation for the development of the manufacture into a centre of competence for chocolate. Many new chocolates are created. Insourcing instead of outsourcing: Josef Zotter is now one of the few independent bean-to-bar producers in Europe and the only one to produce solely in organic and fair-trade quality. (In general, only three global players produce a large part (about 80%) of the overall world-wide chocolate demand.)
Choco Shop Theatre: Visitors can observe the production live, experience how chocolate is made from the bean onwards and try, at various tasting stations, intermediate products such as milling powder and of course also the finished bars.
In 2011, Zotter opens up the Edible Zoo as open-air part of the Choco Shop Theatre. 27 hectares of adventure farming (a total of 72 hectares of organically cultivated farming, 27 hectares of which are accessible to visitors), where Zotter serves the visitors organic meals, directly from his own pastures and gardens.