Josef Zotter is Managing Director of Zotter Schokoladen Manufaktur and has been a successful Bean-to-Bar-Chocolate-Maker for over 15 years.
With the foundation of his company, the Austrian-born and trained gastronomy cook conquered more than just the hearts of european chocolate lovers. Today, his excellent chocolates are even delivered to Japan or New Zealand.
Together with his wife Ulrike, Josef Zotter founded his chocolate factory in Riegersburg near Graz, in beautiful Styria, in 1999. At that time it all began with just one employee in the former stable on the family farm. Today the manufactory is a popular tourist destination with over 210 employees, over 365 chocolate products and 260,000 visitors a year.
Josef Zotter became famous with hand-made chocolate and unconventional creations such as his first recipe "hemp and pumpkin seeds", a small sensation in 1999.
In 2002 and 2006, the Zotter chocolate assortment was completely converted to organic and Faitrade, with regional organic products being used in the chocolate production. As a result, the manufactory became energy self-sufficient through the connection of photovoltaics, a steam power plant and geothermal energy.
In addition to the use of fair trade and regional products, Zotter is involved in projects such as "Quality instead of poverty" or "Chocolate fills the stomach" for a sustainable economy and development aid.
In 2011, Zotter's "Essbarer Tiergarten" (Edible Zoo), a nature-appropriate adventure farm for visitors to the manufactory, opened with a total area of 72 hectares directly adjacent to the manufactory. Similar to the theme Bean-to-Bar, visitors will be served Farm-to-Table organic food directly from the fields and will be given the opportunity to talk about excessive meat consumption.
Funfact: In the "Essbaren Tiergarten" there is a cemetery for ideas. Here there are gravestones for ex-chocolate varieties and ideas.
The innovative and visionary entrepreneur Josef Zotter has received many honours and awards. Rightly so, because as a pioneer he shows how business success and social responsibility can go hand in hand.
- 1999 Foundation of Zotter Schokoladen Manufaktur
- 2001 First visit of the cocoa-growing countries
- 2004 Assortment converted to FAITRADE
- 2006 Assortment is converted to organic
- 2007 Expansion of the manufactory for bean-to-bar production
- 2008 First sale of pure origin chocolates
- 2009 Opening of the first Zotter chocolate shops
- 2012 Publication of his biography
- 2013 Launch of the traceability programme for transparent products
- 2015 Zotter is voted one of the 25 best chocolate manufacturers in the world
The Austrian's chocolate products are not only convincing from a business point of view, but also from a taste viewpoint. From simple drinking chocolate to chocolate varieties such as "apple sea buckthorn with vanilla" to experimental taste experiences such as "fish chocolate", all the desires of the chocolate enthusiast are met. Between 30 and 70 new chocolate products are added every year.
We are therefore particularly proud to welcome Josef Zotter to this year's chocolate festival at Rochsburg Castle and are looking forward to extraordinary chocolate creations that will enchant the palate.