Josef Zotter is managing director of Zotter Schokoladen Manufaktur and has been a successful bean-to-bar chocolate maker for over 15 years.
Born in Austria and a trained gastronomy chef, he not only conquered the hearts of European chocolate lovers with the founding of his company. His excellent chocolates are now delivered even 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 everything started with only one employee in the former stable at the parental court. Today, with over 210 employees, over 365 chocolate products and 260,000 visitors a year, the manufactory is a well-attended excursion destination.
Josef Zotter became famous with handmade chocolate and unconventional creations such as his first recipe "Hemp and pumpkin seeds", a small sensation in 1999.
In 2002 and 2006, Zotter's chocolate range is completely converted to organic and Faitrade and regional organic products are used in chocolate production. In the course of this, the manufactory became energy self-sufficient through the connection of photovoltaics, steam power plant and geothermal energy.
In addition to using fair trade and regional products, Zotter is involved in projects such as "Quality instead of poverty" or "Chocolate satisfies people" for a sustainable economy and development aid.
In 2011, Zotter's Edible Zoo, a species-appropriate experience agriculture for visitors to the manufactory with a total area of 72 hectares, will open directly adjacent to the manufactory. Similar to the motto Bean-to-Bar, here Farm-to-Table organic food is served directly from the pasture and excessive meat consumption is discussed. Funfact: There is a cemetery of ideas in the edible zoo. There are gravestones for ex-chocolate varieties and ideas.
The innovative and visionary entrepreneur Josef Zotter has received many honours and awards. And 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 to the cocoa growing countries
- 2004 Assortment is converted to FAITRADE
- 2006 assortment will be converted to organic
- 2007 Expansion of the manufactory for bean-to-bar production
- 2008 First sale of pure original chocolates
- 2009 Opening of 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 in business terms, but also in terms of taste. From simple drinking chocolate to chocolate varieties such as "apple sea buckthorn with vanilla" to experimental taste experiences such as "fish chocolate", all the chocolate lover's wishes are fulfilled. Every year, between 30 and 70 new chocolate products are added.
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.