Most people in Austria are familiar with the characteristic bars of Zotter chocolate that come in a vast assortment of flavours. The man behind the chocolate factory heralds from the local area. An interview with Josef Zotter.
Mr Zotter, why did you decide to get involved in the manufacture of chocolate of all things?
As a confectioner, I had been experimenting with chocolate for a long time and discovered a love for this amazing substance. Chocolate offers so many possibilities!
Was it clear from the start that you should establish your business in Styria?
No, on the contrary! Initially, I wanted to set it up somewhere far away from here and then I was drawn back to the Styria region. The most affordable option at the time was to get the chocolate production started in an old cowshed that belonged to my parents. There are certain advantages to starting a business in a rural area; namely you can afford to grow the business slowly without having to move location. I would never have dreamed that we would end up having 160 employees and over 265,000 visitors a year.
Why do you think that this region has now earned such an excellent reputation as a paradise for locally-produced delicacies?
It is because people here love what they do. The youngsters take over the businesses, contribute their own ideas and are proud to be part of the region. You can actually taste the passion that goes into the products. People work as a team and enjoy achieving success together which means guests feel welcome!
How important is sustainability?
Our operations are completely organic and we only use raw ingredients that have received organic certification. The cocoa beans are supplied by Fairtrade growers because we care deeply about the way people on the other side of the world are treated. We have the ‘Essbar’ (edible) zoo which is an organic farm with an organic restaurant. Here we focus on demonstrating to visitors where food originates from.
You can enjoy a comfortable stay nearby at the:
JUFA Hotel Fürstenfeld – Sport-Resort
The JUFA Hotel Sport Resort in Fürstenfeld, capital of the beautiful and historic East Styrian thermal springs region, is rightly regarded as an ideal destination for sports enthusiasts, families and seminar organisers – at any time of the year!
Tel.: +43 (0)5 / 7083-250, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
JUFA Hotel Gnas – Sport Resort
This JUFA Sport Resort is located on the quiet outskirts of the village of Gnas which is nestled right in the heart of Styria’s wine-growing region. This region is also known for its natural hot springs which is why it is also known as the ‘Vulkanland’ (land of volcanoes). Its outstanding sports facilities make the resort an ideal destination for sports clubs, individual athletes, as well as families.
Tel.: +43 (0)5 / 7083-230, Email: email@example.com
JUFA Hotel Stubenbergsee
Lake Stubenberg is directly on the doorstep and the resort is the perfect base for families, school parties and groups from which to explore the beautiful region of Styria which is known for apple-growing and hot springs. It is a great place to enjoy a truly fantastic active holiday!
Tel.: +43 (0)5 / 7083-760, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
JUFA Hotel Tieschen – Landerlebnis
This holiday village has a genuine rustic feel. It is a perfect place to recharge your batteries and connect with the natural cycle of the seasons, from the planting of seeds through to harvest time. Your family holiday destination is situated amidst tranquil vineyards, close to the area known as the Three Countries Triangle (Drei-Länder-Eck) that borders the three countries of Austria, Hungary and Slovenia.
Tel.: +43 (0)5 / 7083-410, Email: email@example.com