Zotter ranks among the best chocolatiers in the world
"Zotter is and will remain at the top of the world-best chocolate manufacturers and by far the most innovative chocolatier of all."
(Chocolate – the reference standard 2015)
Zotter focuses on innovation. It’s important for us to offer a wide and varied range of products – from classics like Butter Caramel and Raspberry to eccentric creations like Bread Break, created with bread schnapps made from organic bread leftovers. We offer more than 400 different chocolate varieties, and at our Mixing Bar, customers can create their own individual chocolates from a number of ingredients, shapes and fillings. The new season will bring 21 new, hand-scooped chocolates. We typically introduce between 30 and 70 new products per year. And who comes up with all those amazing ideas? Josef Zotter of course, although lately he’s had quite a bit of help from his daughter Julia, the other creative mind in the family business.
Experiments are our passion and we use our own in-house bean-to-bar manufactory to develop new ideas and products. Like those bright, fruity chocolates – their stunning colours and flavours derived entirely naturally from fruit alone – or those sweet little chocolate lightbulbs in all different flavours and colours. Or the Basic Choco Nougat, which you can turn into your own, home-made bonbons in no-time.
Since the very beginning, our great artist friend Andreas H. Gratze has created a unique, individual design for each of our chocolate bars and those little pieces of art turn each choc into a first-rate gift.
A wide range instead of the same old stuff – we do it like Mother Nature, our products focus on variety and lots of surprises. We offer everything from our hand-scooped chocolate cult hits to pure single origin chocolates, drinking chocolates, nougats, couvertures up to hand-made Biofekt organic bonbons.
At our Riegersburg-based chocolate manufactory, we produce our own chocolates, bean-to-bar. It’s all made in-house, from the fragrant cocoa bean to the finished chocolate bar. We roast, grind, mill and conch in small batches, all individually fine-tuned to each cocoa variety. The Riegersburg location employs 185 people who produce fresh chocolate every day and also take care of all the other things our manufactory requires.
New FAIR logo
At the beginning of the 2018/19 season, we resigned the Fairtrade certification and have applied a FAIR “hand sign” as our new logo. We are members of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), and they certify our entire business according to their guidelines, which enables us to distance ourselves from the mass balance supply chain system used in the Fairtrade structure. We continue to focus on 100% fair trade and physical traceability and transparency of all our raw materials. Josef Zotter explains: “I continue to believe that Fairtrade is a good idea – it’s definitely better than the absence of any regulation, but I want my customers to be able to buy a chocolate that contains exactly what it says on the wrapper.”
Fine flavour cocoa from the best cocoa growing regions in the world
We mainly buy our cocoa in Latin America, the cradle of cocoa. We get our fine flavour cocoa from various different countries like Peru, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Guatemala, Brazil, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Togo and Congo. Each chocolate contains a piece of history – from Belize’s Maya cocoa to cocoa from Panama and Peru, cultivated by indigenous tribes in the middle of the rain forest, who use it to safeguard their traditional way of life, to cocoa from Nicaragua, transported by sailboat: for the first time in 20 years, a sail cargo ship landed at Hamburg port, carrying our cocoa. It was transported entirely emission-free and completely sustainably by the Brigantes and Timbercoast crews. Fairly traded organic cocoa from small farms, cultivated using crop rotation: this means delicious flavour but also the preservation of cultures – human and plant.
We buy our cocoa directly from our farmers, pay way above the world market price and support them continuously, so they stick with quality and fine flavour cocoa varieties like Criollo, Trinitario, Nacional and Nativo and are therefore no longer dependent on the world market, which trades chiefly in bulk cocoa. We often travel to our cocoa growing regions in order to meet our cocoa farmers and conversely, we invite them over to visit our manufactory. Great interpersonal relationships make for a very special product quality. In the summer of 2018, Julia Zotter spent 3 weeks in Peru to visit our cocoa farmers and look in on our social campaign project, “Chocolate for School”.
If you want to learn how chocolate is produced, you can visit our Chocolate Theatre and see first-hand how cocoa beans are turned into delicious chocolate, how hand-scooped chocolates are filled and everything else there is to know about chocolate making.
We only use organic and fairly traded raw materials because it’s better for the environment as well as us humans! As a producer, we feel it’s our responsibility to be sustainable and create added value instead of aiming towards the highest profit margin and thereby using and abusing our environment and the people we work with. Our chocolate manufactory counts among the most sustainable businesses in Austria and we have also gained an EMAS certificate: external environmental experts assessed our production life cycle and our environmental goals and found them exemplary. Our entire production runs on clean power, a considerable part of which we produce ourselves with a gigantic solar power system. We use electric vehicles and our canteen cooks an organic menu for our employees fresh every single day, using ingredients from our Edible Zoo and our organic farm, both of which are located right next to our manufactory and are open to the public. Organic all around.
We have founded our family business in 1987, went bankrupt and reopened it in 1999 as a chocolate manufactory on my parents’ farm, as it was the cheapest location for a new start. At this point, even our children Michael and Julia are employed by our business. Julia Zotter built the chocolate theatre in Shanghai and ran it for three years. Now she’s back with us in Austria and develops new products together with her father Josef Zotter. Michael has a head for technology, which is why he is responsible for IT, facilities and our online shop. Our youngest daughter Valerie is our main taster at the moment but does not have veto rights, because otherwise we’d produce nothing but white chocolate.