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Celebrating 25 years of Zotter chocolate

18. October 2012

The delicious Austrian chocolate company, famous for its unusual flavour combinations, celebrates 25 years of success. 

Twenty Five years ago the Austrian chef Josef Zotter opened his first pastry shop. He soon established a reputation for doing things differently and gained regional acclaim for his creations. “Hemp cake” and “Scarlet Runner Bean Roulade with Coriander” were two of his early successes. Three more shops were soon to follow.

Five years later Josef started to produce chocolate in the back room of his pastry shop. With a large amount of creativity & skill he invents a format that confronts and challenges the established chocolate world. Josef builds his Hand-Scooped chocolates in layers and once again the flavours are unique. Early varieties included “Poppy Seeds & Cinnamon” and Pumpkin Seed Brittle with Marzipan”.

One year later Josef Zotter is forced to file for insolvency. However, instead of being the end of the story this turns out to be one of the most formative periods in Josef’s life. The choice was “Either the chocolate or the pastry shop.” At that point Josef’s wife Uli said, “Well then we will run the pastry shop because I am not really sure if the chocolate making will actually work.” “Okay“ he said to her, “then we will make chocolate“.

1999 Josef opened his chocolate workshop in a converted stable on edge of his parents’ farm. Selling his unique range of hand-made chocolate, which now include drinking chocolate in the form of a bar, Josef sets about building a cult following.

2001 Josef & Uli start travelling to the cocoa growing countries and starts to build a direct relationship with the cocoa farmers.

2002. The chocolate workshop is expanded but this time Josef doesn’t have to do the construction himself. A state of the art production facility is created with “Running Chocolate” tasting stations for visitors. “Do you have a mountain?“ The man asked. I responded: “No, as I have already told you. I do not have a mountain, only a room of several hundreds square metres in size and there I would like to set up a cable car. Then he says: “Do you have snow there?” “No” I replied, “but we do have chocolate”.

2004 Josef switched the entire production to Fairtrade.

2006 Josef converts the whole range to Organic.

2007 Josef expands the production facility to include “bean to bar” chocolate making and adds a chocolate theatre. Zotter is one of the few people that make all their own chocolate from bean to bar and the only one who works entirely in Fairtrade & Organic

2008 Josef Zotter joins forces with Keith Lowe of Merchant Europe to bring Zotter chocolate to the UK. Now Zotter chocolate is available across the whole of Great Britain and count many prestigious stores amongst their customers.

2009 Zotter shops start to open in Austria & Germany.

2011 Zotter opens the “Edible Zoo”. The 27 hectare family farm that adjoins the chocolate factory has been transformed into a visitor attraction like no other. Here you can explore the relationship between the animals running around in the fields and the food on your plate. Take the opportunity of looking your food the eye.

2012 Josef is nominated for the European Business Award in the category of sustainability.

Josef comments “When I look back at our recipe for success, then I must say that we have done exactly the things of which we were convinced. That’s the point. I’m not the brightest bulb in the box. We’ve simply always been honest“.

For more information about Zotter chocolate, please visit their website:

Zotter Chocolate

Zotter Chocolate