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)
Josef Zotter has re-invented chocolate: Hand-scooped Chocolates are basically giant bonbons. Featuring wonderful flavour combinations and distinctive, artistic sleeve designs, Hand-scooped Chocolates have become iconic. They’re filled chocolate miracles consisting of several layers, brushed onto long lanes – one on top of the other – by hand. Zotter’s flavour combinations are classic like »Salted Caramel« and »Chocolate Mousse« and eccentric like »Hemp Bonbon« and »Whisky & Bacon«, but all of them offer a unique flavour experience. Hand-scooped Chocolates are available in more than 100 flavours, all invented by Josef and his daughter Julia Zotter. From the very beginning, our good friend, artist Andreas H. Gratze has created many individual sleeve designs, which turn each chocolate into a unique work of art as well as the perfect gift.
We produce a total of around 500 different flavours: our range includes the iconic Hand-scooped Chocolates, pure single origin chocolates, drinking chocolates, pralines, couvertures and handmade organic bonbons. At our Mixing Bar, customers may create their own individual chocolates from various ingredients, shapes and fillings by picking their favourite flavours. All our chocolates are organic, fair and bean-to- bar.
We make everything in-house, from the first step to the last, thus making us one of the very few bean-to-bar producers in Europe. The roasting, milling and conching is done in small batches, adjusted to the individual cacao bean so we can demonstrate the exciting world of cacao. We often travel to our cacao growing regions in order to find the most sublime and rare cacao varieties. Not unlike wine, each cacao variety has its own very distinct flavour, shaped by the terroir of its growing region. Sometimes that flavor is nutty, sometimes it has more of a flowery bouquet like the Ecuadorian beans or more citrus notes like the beans from Madagascar. All our chocolates contain only the best raw materials. We use fine flavour cacao bean varieties as opposed to ordinary bulk cocoa, we exclusively use cocoa butter instead of palm oil, raw cane sugar, milk from alpine farms and genuine Bourbon vanilla, the second most expensive spice in the world after saffron. The Austrian location employs around 200 people who produce fresh chocolate every day and also take care of all the other things our workshop requires.
Our entire business is Fair Trade verified. We are a member of WFTO – the World Fair Trade Organization, which is the umbrella organization for global fair trade. The WFTO monitors business compliance with the 10 principles of fair trade like, among others, transparency, respect for the environment, the payment of fair prices and no use of child labour. We buy our cacao directly from the growers and are happy to pay well above the global market rates for a high-quality product. A big factor in producing that exceptional quality is personal contact and collaboration. Julia Zotter has visited our Maya cacao farmers in Belize and Guatemala this summer. Afterwards she has been in Peru, where a lot of our cacao suppliers live.
We mainly buy our cacao in Latin America, the cradle of cacao. We get our fine flavour cacao from various different countries like Peru, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Guatemala, Brazil, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Togo, Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda. Each chocolate contains a piece of history – from Belize’s Maya cacao to cacao 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 cacao from Nicaragua, transported by sailboat: for the first time in 20 years, a sail cargo ship landed at Hamburg port, carrying our cacao. It was transported entirely emission-free and completely sustainably by the Brigantes and Timbercoast crews.
Fair traded organic cacao beans from small farms, grown in a mixed crop agriculture, produce a better flavour but also ensure the preservation of local cultures – of humans and plants.
We only use organic and fair traded raw materials because those are simply better for us humans and our environment. We also run our business with 100% clean energy, we produce our own power with a photovoltaic generator and we have a fleet of electric vehicles. Our organic farm covers 80 hectares, from which we get many ingredients for the free, organic lunch for our 200 employees. We have created a number of development aid projects like »Cocoa not Cocaine« in South America, planted trees in rainforests and we are the proud recipients of the European Business Award for Sustainability in Austria. Our chocolate factory 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 Chocolate Theatre offers an exciting tasting tour. Visitors can experience first-hand how chocolate is made! At our transparent factory, you can see every step of the production process. Everything, from bean to bar, is produced in-house. With many tasting stations like the bonbon roller coaster, a chocolate-serving robot, our dental clinic with sugarfree chocolates, a praline fountain, the smallest drinking chocolate-serving cable car in the world. And of course the highlight our Hand-scooped Chocolate amuse-bouches, going round and round at our Running Chocolate station.
At our organic adventure farm »Edible Zoo«, our focus is on showing how food is made, where the ingredients come from and what an ecologically sound farm should look like. The answers to these questions can be found at our Edible Zoo, where we keep old indigenous breeds and grow regional fruit and vegetable varieties. At our Öko-Essbar restaurant, we serve organic food and drinks, made with ingredients from our own gardens and pastures.
The factory, founded long ago in one of the stables at Josef Zotter’s parents’ farm, has become a competency centre for chocolate. The whole family is working there with passion, Josef, Ulrike and their children Julia and Michael, apart from Valerie, because she is still in school.