The independent ecologist and economist Gregor Sieböck is going to spend a year travelling in order to meet the people and discover the stories behind all Zotter ingredients. Read his diary entries about visiting the places where milk, honey, hemp and chillies come from.
Gregor Sieböck has already covered a lot of ground – on foot. He has walked across Latin America and followed the Inca Trail through Peru and Ecuador. He has also explored California, Japan and New Zealand on foot. So far, he has walked a total of 25,000 to 30,000 kilometres (approximately 16,000 to 19,000 miles). On this trip, he is going to travel by conventional and unconventional means of transport: on foot, by bicycle, train, sailing boat, plane. And if the opportunity arises, he will even ride a magic carpet.
Gregor Sieböck: In summer 2008 I passed the Zotter Chocolate Manufactory on my way from Vienna to Mont Blanc. My friends and I knocked on the door and Sepp Zotter gave us a guided tour of the artisan workshop. As a farewell present, he gave us a huge snackbox full of chocolates. That’s how the chocolate diary started. I wrote to the Zotter family from all over the world to tell them about the places their chocolate had travelled with me, the summits where I had nibbled it and the people I had shared it with. Of course I took a lot of pictures, too. In one way or another, Zotter chocolates have been with me for many years and I have always been interested in finding out where the cocoa and all the other ingredients come from. That’s how the idea to do this tour was born. The final trigger was when Georg Bernardini chose Zotter as his favourite chocolate in the world. What is it that makes this the best chocolate in the world? Of course it’s the Zotter company itself, their special mixtures, but it’s also the suppliers, who all work in accordance with organic production standards. I am extremely interested in organic farming because it constitutes an alternative that will allow us to live sustainably and in harmony with our planet. On my travels I simply want to show what organic production is and what makes it different. I want to present the individual people behind the product, show their way of life and their visions and find out why they have chosen to use organic production methods and to try and make a living in harmony with our planet. Fair trade is of equal importance to me. From 1999 to 2000 I worked with street kids in Ecuador as part of my community service in lieu of military service. During this time, I learnt a lot about the social imbalance between different parts of the world and saw it with my own eyes. For me, fair trade is a way to compensate for this imbalance, or rather to make it fairer.
The round-the-world tour starts in Austria. The official starting date is 19 August, but as this is the time of year when the cows take their summer holidays up in the Alpine mountains, Gregor Sieböck decided to go visit the Tyrolean dairy farmers who make up the "Bio vom Berg" cooperative.